When an institute or organization grants you the funding to complete a particular research aim, they like to know that you're actually getting shit done. So from time to time they ask you to do things like send them progress reports.
I'm a little stunned that I've been here long enough to be approaching a major progress-report deadline. I don't know how the time has gone by so quickly- yet it clearly has, since it's the dead of winter and I'm finally juggling a handful of experiments with upcoming plans bigger than I quite know how to manage. (When will I find the time to get this huge beast written up and approved?!!!??) Sure enough, time kept right on going while I was so busy.
Though I thought it was going to be an annoyance, sitting down to list the things I have accomplished was actually good for my morale. There are plenty of intangibles that can't be listed, in addition to my probably-slightly-too-long narrative of what I've been up to during my time here. I'd like to think that I've done all I can in the framework I've been given to work in. And looking back at that list does make me feel pretty good about how I handled the steep growth curve.
Pretty much as soon as that draft was finished, my research group was up for another report. I got to showcase my pretty dataset for the local BigCheez types. This was a bit more like showing off my technical assets than the other report, a chance to brag about Flashy New Technique and how effective it is so far. Again, putting that together went a long way toward convincing me of my own competence.
Sometimes progress reports benefit more than just the funding gods or the BigCheez types. (Though this doesn't make them much less of an annoyance the rest of the time.)