In my last post about why I think the expert generalist is crucial in today's highly inter-related world, I mentioned a practice that I've adopted of "Fun Paper Fridays." Today I want to briefly describe fun paper fridays and invite you to participate.
Every friday I go to a coffee shop first thing in the morning and commence my weekly review. During this time I check the status of projects, emails, etc and make sure that things are not slipping through the cracks. Those of you familiar with David Allen's Getting Things Done will recognize this. In addition to reviewing my schedule, I added a self expansion project.
Each week I pick out a paper that isn't directly related to my research and read it. The paper can be serious, just not about my work (ex: Viking Lander 1 and 2 revisited: The characterization and detection of Martian dust devils), or it can be a completely fun topic (ex: How to construct the perfect sandcastle). That's it! Just read a paper, no notes unless you want. You'll be surprised when in some situation you'll recall a fact, method, or comment from one of these papers and be able to apply it to a completely different scenario.
I hope that you'll join me in this quest of broadening your knowledge horizons. If you're not involved with science, that's no problem. Just read something that you normally wouldn't. Maybe it's the Art & Culture section of a newspaper or an Article from a popular science magazine. Every Friday I'll be posting the paper I'm reading on Facebook and Twitter. Please join me and use the tag: #FunPaperFriday.