Following on from my last blog I thought I would follow it with a post about ‘time management’….a term I personally hate but something I believe everyone struggles with one way or another during their PhD. In order to complete a PhD you need to be able to plan your time effectively and stick to your plan. The biggest barrier to this is self-motivation (it can be lack of motivation to plan, or lack of motivation to stick to the plan or both). Planning and doing are equally as important, a lack of planning can result in you spending 6 months doing something which isn’t beneficial to your project. You also need to be prepared for the time when your meticulously laid out plans have to be thrown out of the window and you need to go back to the drawing board and re plan (usually only to bring out the original plans again a few months later). This is not unusual in anyway and do not think that you are on your own!
All PhDs run differently, do not make the mistake of trying to compare what you are doing with what someone else is doing. PhDs typically run in peaks and troughs – quite often people spend their first year(s) wondering what they are supposed to be doing and not really getting anywhere, the rest of the PhD is usually then spent working every hour under the sun to get as much done as possible. People don’t set out for this to happen – it just does. Spending time creating a good plan from the offset can help reduce wasted time but do not be too disheartened if the plan changes or if the work you do at first doesn’t lead to anything. All PhDs are different which is a good thing – but also can leave people feeling frustrated, unmotivated and very lonely when things do not go to plan. There are plenty of resources for people if you are feeling a bit stuck. Universities offer support systems under different guises (some through student support services/HR )– I know my university even offers a ‘time management’ training session for PhD students. So, if you are feeling like you need help there are plenty of places you can get it from. Don’t be afraid of speaking up and finding out where you can get help (and importantly, help can be found outside of your supervisor).
Of course the Internet offers up advice on any subject imaginable and there are plenty of sources for help with PhDs and time management – whatever the difficulty is you are having, here are just a few:
- The PhD Doctor @ Sciencecareers.org
- Staying on track
Not to get too bogged down with the serious stuff….there’s always:
Which will provide amusement and support that you are not going through this alone!