Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Twenty points to tick off daily for a happy life as a PhDer

1) Are you prioritising your mental and physical health?  Without good health you can't do anything so...
2) Take regular breaks - for breakfast, lunch and dinner for example.  Take care of number 1) - nobody else will.
3) Practice deep breathing - breathe counting to seven in and eleven out - 7/11 easy to remember and you can do it anytime, any place and anywhere.  Essentially this is what meditation is.
4) Try to write something everyday, even a to do list will do.  But if you don't, then don't beat yourself up about it.  Free time is thinking time which is very important too.
5) Put some very easy things on your to-do list that you can tick off - the ticking off will help you feel better.
6) Break tasks down into do-able chunks and put time scales next to them - of how long they take.  You can plan your day like this.
7) Read something.
8) Foster a positive relationship with your supervisor - try to act on their feedback and report back to them.  If this is problematic then...
9) Ask for advice and help from other sources to get you back on track.  Is there a reason why the relationship has been upset?  Are you ill?  Do you need a break? - go back to 1).
10) Do the most difficult thing on your to do list first.  If you can't do this, then
11) Do a few very easy things on your to-do list - ask advice about the difficult thing.
12) If you are having problems on a task or issue - can you have some training on it?  Book yourself on some training.
13) Tidy your desk.  Sounds small, but always makes me feel so much better!  Do it three times daily if necessary.
14) Do some filing. Follows from 13), just grouping your references together in their themes can help to increase your confidence - that you know what they say.
15) Play to your strengths.  If you're a morning person then have an early night and get up early.  If you're a night owl then stay up late and lie in!  You know when you work best, plan your most difficult tasks for that time.
16) Give yourself free treats - whatever floats your boat for the tasks that you complete daily.  Have you given yourself one today?  Plan what time to do it to increase your motivation.  Perhaps a cup of tea for a paragraph.
17) Stay connected with friends and family - best in person, then Skype, then phone, then email. 
18) Get support from twitter and the internet to help keep you motivated - look at #phdchat #phdforum #ecrchat and #acwri on twitter.
19) Reward yourself with motivational chats from suitable friends and family, get them to keep you on track
20) Have some exercise - adrenalin and endorphins keeps us going in the darkest of times.

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