I started a Ph.D. in chemistry last year at a prestigious university, in a productive and friendly lab. I think my project is a fairly good one, and will yield data for good articles. That is, if I ever manage to put in the work to acquire data.

I find I’ve been doing anything but actual benchwork for the last many months – helping others write grants, reading papers about science outside my field, attending seminars, hiding in the bathroom reading blogs about productivity and cooking. I know I am not doing what I should be, but I cannot convince myself to start something that will most likely not work.

I like my coworkers and my boss (who is sending me to a fancy conference to help give me additional motivation) – but I am not getting my research done.

Am I in the wrong field, or doing the wrong job? Am I thinking about this problem in an unhelpful way?