5 Tips on Succeeding as an Academic

Write often, write always


Writing is thinking

  • Helps you think through logical holes.
  • Helps you make the idea concrete.
  • Ensures that your paper will make sense before you invest any unnecessary time.

Typical flow

  • Come up with idea
  • Implement idea
  • Evaluate idea
  • Write paper

Better flow

  • Come up with idea
  • Write (motivation / method)
  • Implement idea
  • Write (system design)
  • Evaluate idea
  • Write (results)

Ideate Daily


Ideation is a muscle!

You can strengthen it through training (practicing) and nourishment (reading).




Ideation is a muscle!

BUT, it can also weaken if you do not train or nourish it.

Keep an idea journal

Every day, pick a topic that interests you.

Come up with at least 5 ideas (#nofilter).

At the end of the month, review those ideas.

Use mind-maps

Helps you organize your ideas visually.

Very easy to regain the "context" of an idea.

Time management


Research is time consuming

Research never ends

Answers only beget more questions.

Ends for beginnings

  • Keep a list of everything you need to do.
  • Dedicate the end of each work day to determine 3 things you should do the next day.

Effort-based goals

  • Make success a matter of how much effort you put in, not the result of the effort.
  • e.g., write for 2 hours, not write 2000 words.

Say no

  • Even to your adviser. Your adviser wants you to be productive, not to spread your attention too thin.

Dealing with Rejection


Don't take it personally

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Focus on process, not outcomes.

Embrace, don't fear.

Have fun!


Research is a way to indulge your curiosity.

Use this opportunity to do fun things that matter to you!

Bonus: Strike a chord!


Hate is as good as love.


It means people care about what you've done.

Do unforgettable work.