Improving productivity in the laboratory is crucial to get the most out of available resources and generate quality data. Sometimes, the time spent in the laboratory may not be reflected in the generated results. This may be due to the nature of the research itself, or to ineffective management of time and available resources.
In this post we have compiled 5 tips to improve productivity in the laboratory that can help you optimize time and improve the efficiency of your research.
1.- PLAN THE WORK
Planning in the laboratory, as in most areas, is the basic pillar to optimize productivity.
In order to plan the laboratory work, some recommendations to take into account are:
- Define daily goals.
- Prioritize tasks.
- Avoid leaving the most cumbersome or less pleasant tasks until the end.
- Prepare the necessary materials, as well as reagents, samples, etc. in advance.
2.- COORDINATE AND ORGANIZE THE TASKS
For frequently repeated experiments in the laboratory, we can for example:
- Prepare large quantities of reagents and buffers to have them always available in stock and aliquot them whenever possible.
- Generate standard forms or templates with check boxes to allow us to collect data more quickly.
- Have a folder in the poyata to easily access mini protocols, formulas to prepare reagents, etc.
And some other tasks that will help organize work and improve productivity in the laboratory:
- Record the details of each experiment in a lab notebook.
- Keep an inventory of reagents to anticipate purchases in advance.
3.- ESTABLISH HABITS
In the case of tasks that are repeated frequently and are not part of the experiment itself (for example, reading a paper , ordering the poyata, doing internet searches, etc.), it is interesting to incorporate them as part of the routine at a time determined of the day to optimize the spaces of time and to improve the productivity in the laboratory.
4.- OPTIMIZE TIME
Basically it is about taking advantage of the dead spaces of time to fit in them some tasks that do not take too long or those whose execution can be divided.
We refer in this case for example to the time while carrying out a centrifugation, an incubation or a Western Blot and that could be used to read a publication, check the mail or prepare new batches of reagents, among others.
5.- KEEP ORDER
Order is essential to maintain concentration, avoid unnecessary distractions and thus improve productivity in the laboratory.
This point applies to:
- Work spaces.
- Data and results recording.
- Lab’s material.