Productivity for Scientists

1) a poster on Overcoming Overwhelm

2) a list of 126 Ways to Become More Productive

3) Olga's weekly Productivity Insights ezine

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Olga Degtyareva, Ph.D. – Productivity Mentor for Scientists

How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Productivity Mentor for Scientists?

About OlgaTo answer this question, it’s probably best that I share with you a “defining moment in my life” that brought me to where I am today, mentoring people like you on how to become more productive in your work and more balanced in your life.

That defining moment in my life happened back in 2005. I’ve just started my 3rd year of postdoc in one of the world-leadings laboratories in my scientific area. My research was going pretty well and the career was unfolding quite successfully and yet I felt so overwhelmed and exhausted from working long hours and night shifts. With an endless string of experiments and trips to central facilities I felt like it is never enough no matter how much I did. Strolling back from work in late evenings I often cried asking myself: “Why does it need to be so hard?” My socialising was pathetic; my personal life was a mess. I felt lonely and loosing direction.

One day, I felt so low that I could not even make it to work. I felt like I’ve hit the rock bottom hard. I was ready to give up on everything and on myself. Something inside me however gave me that push to get up, dry my tears and make a commitment to go and look for an answer on how to be happy and successful and not to give up until I find it and change my life. That day I pulled myself together and went to get some help. Slowly but surely my life went uphill.

Over the years I worked with psychotherapist, coaches and mentors, I read books and attended seminars, getting hold of the best of the best materials and learning from the leading experts on mindset and personal effectiveness. With time I felt like I am becoming an expert on productivity, and continued to refined and improve my productivity techniques.

The year 2010 saw the peak of my research career: I received a European prize for my contributions into the area of my research and published an extensive review article as a single author. The following year I got promoted at Uni to the next grade and have published research papers in the high profile journals of Nature Physics and Physical Review Letters resulting in the total of 38 scientific papers published throughout my research career. At the same time I remained an involved mom of 2 young children and generally felt that I am a happy and fulfilled person.

It was about that time when my colleagues started to notice the changes and began to ask how I manage it all and what is my secret for being so productive in my career and also for remaining so balanced and happy. End of 2010 I have started my personal blog on productivity in order to share my tools and strategies with others, which led me to starting my own business in 2011 and later to full and thriving coaching practice! I soon realised that working with scientists and helping them blast through their obstacles to achieve what they want is what I enjoy MOST! (Working with people has been my secret dream for decades that has now been fulfilled so beautifully :-))

I was thrilled to see what amazing results my clients were getting. We’d always start with how to become more productive: I’d help clients to get clear on their goals and find a way to achieve them in a most effective way. They’d publish high-profile papers they wanted to write for years, they’d submit grant applications, they’d write up their thesis etc. But what I also noticed is that the most frequent results the clients get from our work together – as they say themselves – is that they feel happier and more on purpose, they feel balance between their life and work, they now dare to dream big and pursue their dreams, they can be more of who they really are.

I’ve since made a commitment to dedicate my professional life to helping scientists to be more productive at work while feeling happier in their life.

I’ve now worked with 100’s of students, postdocs and research staff to help them improve quality of their work and life experience and achieve what they want. I’ve given many workshops, lectures, VIP days, lead personal coaching programs and developed a Productivity for Scientists System TM that every scientist can follow to become more productive at work while feeling more balanced in their life. 1000’s benefited from my free resources.

One of the biggest motivations for doing this remains the memory of myself back in 2005 when I was so fed up with my situation and so ready for a change but I did not know HOW to do it. I literally wished someone would come along and show me how to make those changes – I would just follow and do the work. But there were no ready answers waiting for me. This is why after so many years of searching for and finding those answers, perfecting and refining my systems I am so happy to share with you this STEP-BY-STEP guide, show a short-cut to your success and give you my full support leading you through the changes YOU want to make in your work and life.

Who are your clients exactly?

I work with early-career scientists just like you who are building their career and want to be more successful at what they do. Most of the scientists who come to work with me feel quite overwhelmed and want to get on track with their goals, feel more in charge of their day and also achieve a better work/life balance. Some of the scientists feel quite on track and productive already but want to achieve even more, step up to publishing in higher profile papers or get a promotion, named fellowship or a new job. Another group of people that benefit from working with me are scientists who find themselves at a cross road and not even sure if continuing in science is the right thing for them. So far I worked with people in the following research areas:

  • Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geology
  • Agriculture
  • Social Sciences
  • Philosophy
  • Arts

I have now worked with scientists in the following career stages:

  • MSc
  • PhD (part-time and full-time)
  • Postdoc (at a university, institute,  governmental lab or research facility)
  • Research Fellow
  • Research staff

What happens if you haven’t yet worked with people in my field?

As a productivity mentor I have now worked with 100’s of scientists from different areas of science and researchers that don’t call themselves scientists but are doing research at a University. If I have not worked with people in your area, I encourage you to still check out what I teach, as it might put you at a great advantage in comparison to other researchers in your field! What my current and former clients find very helpful is that I bring a fresh perspective to how to approach their working day as well as how to think about their work, that they’ve never heard of in their field. Because of this they become much more effective and productive and stand out in the extremely competitive scientific field.

How are you different from other “productivity coaches” and “time management gurus”?

I am in a unique position having had a successful 15-year scientific career and having now been a productivity mentor for over 7 years. Because I went through the MSc, PhD, two posdocs and a personal Fellowship, I know YOUR situation as a scientist from inside out. I have been where you are now, I have struggled through what you are struggling now, I know the daily challenges and obstacles you are coming against.

In my productivity coaching I focus ONLY on scientists and researchers; that means you can expect a very close attention to your situation as a scientist! I have a listening ear and you get plenty of time to share with me your situation and to reflect on your learning.

In my coaching I teach the tools and strategies that WORKED for me as a scientist. Also they continue to work for me as the owner of a successful business. I am proud of being an active example to you in constantly striving for growth as I continue to invest in working with and learn from the greatest mentors on this planet (no kidding! :-)). So you can be sure that I am not teaching something that I have “just read in a book” or “heard about” but I bring to you the tried and tested techniques that help me become successful and that have helped many other scientists.

I also bring compassion, positive energy and humour into the coaching because of how I live my life every day! I feel on track, balanced, positive & productive throughout of my day as my predominant state, and you can do it too!!

What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?

The Productivity for Scientists private and group coaching programs are created for scientists who had enough of their unproductive and overwhelmed state and who are absolutely ready to make changes to be more productive and feel happier and more balanced in their life. It is for the people who want to end those dreadful moments of not being able to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night thinking “How on earth am I going to manage it all? Why is it so difficult? Why is it never enough no matter how much I do? I feel so overwhelmed…”

My programs have been created for you to put systems in place within a few months (sometimes weeks!) which will eventually lead you to be consistently more productive achieving your goals that matter while enjoying more of your life – not just being more efficient with your to-do list or publish a paper or two.

These programs will work best for those who are ready to get going and just want to know exactly what steps to take to become more productive once and for all.

What you will find here is a learning experience with lots of action! You will be expected to take serious and consistent action during your coaching program. You’ll find a no-excuses approach, a very different way of thinking about how to approach your work and full support while you achieve this exciting goal: feeling productive and on track achieving what matters to you while feeling happier and more balanced in your life!

For what type of scientists is this program NOT going to work?

Please know I’m very selective in who I work with and I cherry-pick my clients, choosing to (gently) turn away people who aren’t suited for my programs and won’t get the results for which they would have signed up for. (It wouldn’t be fair to them.)

The Productivity for Scientists private coaching programs and online courses are NOT for those who have no money coming in, for example if you are a PhD student after your funding has stopped or from a “low-income country” and you feel like you are in a financially desperate situation. I get asked from time to time to give my programs for free because of a situation as described above. And I say I am already giving a TON of information, tools, strategies and inspiration for FREE through my blog articles and videos as well as teleclasses and lectures.

So if you think you cannot afford any investment into your success and happiness just now, do yourself these favours:

  1. Sign up for the free Productivity Insights ezine, where every second week I share productivity tools and strategies to help you stay on track and be more productive. This free information will get you started towards your goals until you’re ready to work with me one-on-one or in one of my group programs.
  2. Read this particular blog post “I cannot afford it… or can I?” which can help you with the mindset around investing money into yourself.

Doing these two things will help you to start shifting from overwhelm to feeling more in charge of your day. When you’re ready, e-mail me and we’ll get you started. (I’m in no rush and will be here when you need me.)

Another type of person these programs won’t work for is someone who consistently makes excuses for not getting their assignments done or challenging every aspect of the program. If you are one of these people, I gently and respectfully ask that you do not call and I hope you understand why. We’ll probably just not work well together and I wouldn’t want you to waste your time or money.

What exactly is the Productivity for Scientists System and what does it include?

The shift from overwhelm and procrastination to being more productive and on track begins with clarity on your goals and priorities and what is on your plate right now. It continues with becoming more aware of your current working patterns and what is in the way to your success. It also includes consistent action and implementation. Here is what the System is all about.

1. Create your master list
Together we identify what’s on your plate right now. We take a look at all your current projects, commitments and obligations. We will identify items and papers that will make the biggest difference and the most impact in the next 6 months time.
2. Schedule your key projects
Some items on your list don’t have deadlines and although they are very important they never get attention until your create time for them and make it a habit. We will break down your key projects into manageable tasks. This goes for the papers you want to get written and published, as well as for the personal activities you need to introduce to avoid burn-out.
3. Understand what’s in your way
Your goals and targets constantly move forward causing you frustration and the feeling “it’s never enough no matter how much I do”. When your paper gets published there is another one to write. This often feels like you are chasing a carrot. This and other existing patterns negatively affect your confidence, slow down your progress and get in the way of achieving your goals. We are going to work on your awareness and understanding of your non productive patterns, and start making changes in how you do your work.
4. Get in charge of your day
Now it is time to get in the driver’s seat and be in charge of your day. You are going to learn how to start seeing opportunities that are already there to act upon, and to start taking advantage of the resources around you to get closer to your goals. We are going to increase your confidence as it is a major part of your success. Together we will make sure you build and protect your confidence every single day.
5. Work smarter not harder
If you are hoping to be more successful and achieve more just by working harder then you are doing right now, you are setting yourself up for a BIG struggle. To be more successful, to achieve more of what you want and feel good while doing it, you need to learn new ways of HOW to do the work. We will hone in on your strengths and your existing strategies that are already leading you into modes of productivity. You will also learn tools and strategies to work… smarter not harder.
6. Balance your work and life
This system would not be complete without addressing your work/life balance! My clients report they are much more productive after they rest or take care of themselves! You need to create new systems that will ensure you are recharging your batteries, become more focused, and have more free time so that you can be more productive inside and outside work.
7. Uplevel your career
In this step we are going beyond papers, grants and work/life balance to creating more meaning for your work and more of the new opportunities you can be excited about. It is really to stretch your vision and show you what is possible for you! We will be connecting to what drives you to do what you do and find constructive aspects of it to help you stay motivated through challenges and set backs. We will help you to move away from competition towards your uniqueness, which you will learn to let shine. You will learn to do more of what you love, and to take courage to pursue your big dreams.

These are the steps of The Productivity for Scientists System™ that I’ve created after working with hundreds of scientists over the last 7 years to help them overcome overwhelm and become more productive while feeling happier in their life.

In addition to these 7 categories, you will learn hundreds of things to better manage your work and life, to feel better about yourself, to actually create the work environment your desire, to eliminate the fears and self sabotage that are holding you back, and set up systems that help you keep on track.

Does this really work?

Yes! Over time and with your dedication, this system works consistently to help you be more productive in your work and feel happier in your life. See Olga’s Client Testimonials.

What results can I expect?

You can expect to:

  • overcome procrastination and overwhelm
  • submit and defend your thesis
  • see that paper written and published
  • feel on purpose and that your life and work has a certain direction
  • feel happier and more relaxed
  • finally get that thing done and see a noticeable progress in all your other projects
  • feel in charge of your day
  • know what to do when you get stuck and how to get out of the procrastination habit
  • see that grant proposal submitted
  • get that perfect job
  • get clear on what is important to you
  • be able to set the boundaries around your time and say NO to what is not in alignment with your desires
  • feel a renewed enthusiasm
  • be effective and productive at work leaving more time for your family, friends and hobbies
  • create the balance between your work and life
  • feel like you are managing it all
  • do more of the things you like and that matter to you
  • be more confident and feel better about yourself
  • uplevel your career
  • get the courage to persue your dream

Want to get started? 

Get a FREE 30-min skype call with Olga!
During this call we’ll discuss your current situation, what are the challenges, what is not working, what are your goals and what is in the way to achieving them. You’ll get clear on the next steps you need to take to start moving towards achieving your goals. You get your focus back so that you can start making steps in the right directions after the call! This call is also for you and I to see if I can help you any further.

If you are interested, here is what to do next!
CLICK HERE to schedule your appointment with me!
(Results come to those who take action!!)