TMS Interview 001 -- A Data Scientist with Theoretical Physics Background

Lei Ma is a long-term friend on Douban, and he has become a data scientist and runs several side projects at the same time. Let's take a look at his introduction.
  • Please introduce yourself briefly?

I am a data scientist with a PhD degree in theoretical physics. I am working for a logistics company where my day-to-day work is solving various data problems in Python.

  • What scenarios does your time management workflow apply to?

It is suitable for projects with a clear purpose. The main thing I do with logging time is to review the project and then develop a workflow for this type of work, thus speeding up the process of similar projects later. Hence it's just like a git commit to record every step, which is a way to record time. For a relatively large project, for example, I'd break it down into smaller chunks and then jot down the time spent on each chunk, just like submitting code.

  • What tools do you need for your time management workflow?

Jira + Confluence. Although both are dated, they are functional and also available for free (both Jira and Confluence are tools from Atlassian, the former for team project management and the latter for team wikis).

  • Please briefly describe your time management workflow?

My workflow is spontaneous. The current one is to write thoughts in Confluence (which is a less fixed part, sometimes I'll write it in Gitbook, depending on the project), then split into tasks to put on Jira, then finish small tasks in Kanban way, and keep track of how long each task is.

  • How long have you been sticking with this workflow?

It's been a year and a half since this workflow took shape. Actually I started with Trello for project management, then switched to GitHub Projects, and finally adopted Jira + Confluence about seven months ago.

  • The advantages of this workflow?

For me, I don't want to leave my work environment to record time. Jira has the corresponding Slack plug-inChrome/Firefox plug-in (which can drag a calendar to record work), and VS Code plug-in, which basically doesn't require me to leave my work space when recording time and progress.

  • The biggest pain point in time management at the moment?

The biggest pain point is the lack of automation. A lot of the operations of recording time are repetitive labor.

  • What is the ideal time management workflow? What tools are needed?

The ideal time management workflow for me is having more automation. I'm a bit of a lazy person, and I expect a time management tool that can learn my work patterns when I use it. For example don't have to type the time from time to time, or I type my work log from scratch.

Editor's note

Lei’s time management tips include two points.

  1. Divide and conquer.
  2. Record by hand.

    If you too often have such huge projects, you might want to refer to the way he works to manage your time.

    For example, if you're writing your thesis, you can break down each chapter as a project. In order to complete a chapter, it may be necessary to read/collect/draft/revise, each of which can be treated as an executable item. Therefore, you can then record the time of those items. In this way, a huge thesis project becomes a set of small projects that can be executed and tracked.

    If you want to be a part of more discussion, join our Telegraph Group

    If you would like to share your time management insights, please answer a few questions below and email us at post (2) acacess.com and we'll edit and publish.

    • Please introduce yourself briefly.
    • What scenarios does your time management workflow apply to?
    • What tools do you need for your time management workflow?
    • Please briefly describe your time management workflow?
    • How long have you been sticking with this workflow?
    • The advantages of this workflow?
    • The biggest pain point in time management at the moment?
    • What is the ideal time management workflow? What tools are needed?
    • Can you recommend a book on time management? The one that affected you the most.
    • Can you recommend a friend to share her/his time management tips?