Hi all! I have been lurking around here for a while, observing and taking comfort from the supportive nature of the forum but not actively contributing. In particular, I been deeply impressed by the accountability thread initiated by Lara, which I can say benefited not only those involved in posting their progress, but also those of us like myself, who gained some motivation from watching how others forced themselves into meeting deadlines.
The reason I have decided at this stage to post, was because of the thread posted yesterday (sorry, I cannot remember it now!) but the one with 'kudos' in it, referring to those of us, who feel like failures because we have a seemingly intrinsic tendency to thrive on the pressure of last minute deadlines. When I saw it I can honestly say, I breathed the hugest sigh of relief! I have never ever once, despite many many attempts, been able to be 'consistent'- I have been able to get away with it in the past, because somehow have been able to get the high grades with beginning revising on the day for exams, writing essays on the day they are due etc But now when it comes to the PhD stage, I have always felt like I am not an 'academic' person since I cannot work 9-5 every day on the research. Its weird, its not that I am lazy, because I have worked all through my education (this is the first time I havent since starting the funded phd) and I could easily manage 8 or 12 hour shifts, the problem, I really think lies with the nature of the work itself, and that I an only thrive in terms of eureka moments, when I leave it until the last minute.
But I think its got to change, as this can't go on into professional life. So here's what I propose, what about allof us that feel like this, (and who WANT to change, I say this because some may feel that they are happy with this and this is entirely valid) but for those of us who really want to change our ways we could try and force ourselves into 'consistency' through posting on this thread?? The main motivation for me, is that I just want to get the PhD done in the minimum 3 years, so I can then move onto the next stage of my career.
So if anyone is interested, maybe we can each first, post a little on our current progress, such as at what stage you are at now, what has been achieved to date and what are your current goals weekly, montly and for end of year which you hope to achieve, before then beginning (with the example lara has started) with then going on to break it down into daily goals, with daily postings.
So my story:
Progress to date: So first of all, my field is in law and at the moment I am predominatly a night worker though I am trying to change with little steps, though I am getting better in finishing before midnight nowadays! So I had a pretty crap first year, in which I descended into a deep depression as a result of numerous family issues (god I sound like an x factor sob story lol!) but thankfully pulled myself out of it!!! So I pulled myself together at the end of first year and have now written 2 chapters out of 5 (between May and November-prime example of my inconsistency!), and have a few publications accepted.
Medium Term Goals, before next upgrade review in May (6 months)- to get third chapter researched thoroughly and written (its the main chapter and will mean the most work), and some publications produced. This will be broken down into a month for further researching each of the 3 sub headings of the chapter and 3 months to write it,
short term goals: next 2 weeks, prepare presentation to be given soon and read and write book review which is due v. soon.
Ok!! so my first daily goal: is to quickly grad a sandwich, then read a number of articles I have piled up which will be useful for my presentation soon (2pm-9pm) , Then also to sort out a number of article lying around my place and write down a very prcise and detailed plan of action for the next 5 weeks up until christmas (9pm-11pm)- so I will check back later tonight with my progress update!! I am really exicted now! even if no one else decides to join me in keeping progress tabs (which would be great) it still feels as though I will have to justify my work to myself every day just by the simple fact of posting it every morning and night!!
Glad to see someone else picking up the idea of the accountability thread!
Did your achieve your goals for that day? It sounds like you are doing really well, just in your 2nd year right?
I'm trying to keep up an accountability journal on the original thread...since Lara has gone not so many people seem to be active on there, but there are a few of us! If you fancy posting on that one instead it would be great to have you. :-)
Can I join? I like the idea of the accountability thread, but the older thread was too daunting for me to look through all the posts! I am a second year doing social sciences. I find my PhD work often gets lost in a lot of other work e.g. teaching, lab demonstrator, admin work and although it seems like I'm super busy, when I look back at time spent, I realise that very little was PhD work. My main aims for this year are
- finish my 1st study's analysis (2 types of analysis)
- write a finished lit review
- conduct 2nd Study
- write up both studies for publication
- write up both studies for thesis
God - bit daunting but have to do it!
This weeks aims are
- write the intro and 1st section of lit review
- to check with supervisor that attempt analysis of study 1 was and to continue analysing - one interview a night
Lol !!! Oh God, after I posted last week my internet has been pretty much down- I rue the day I went back to dial up (I'm aborad this term) and its drving me ab-sol-utely crrazzzyyy. This was made worse by the constant torrential rain, so I couldn't go into Uni!! anyways, yep I was able to actually get more work done than I set myself because of this!, since I had no internet and was stuck inside my apartment all weekend...Though yesterday I was pretty lame, catching up on sending tons of emails from last week...
Ok so I have my internet up and running again (for the moment) so I'm going to make a second attempt at this but boy is this is going to have some getting used to-since I am the person who buys a new academic diary and personal diary every few months only to forget about it after the first entry lololol so I'm going to try really hard to this!!!
Anyways, cheers Tokyo rabbit and sneaks for your replies!!! It's a kind offer to join the 'original' thread Tokyorabbit, but I think if sneaks and myself can get this going now, I think it will be great for second years since the original thread with yourselves is at a different stage in the prcoess , and has resulted to be more geared towards the fiinal submission process! So hopefully if it is still running next year I can join then:p
Anyways, I will check back later this morning with my goal's for today, cause im knackered now!!!
OK, my goal for today is to just read a chapter of a book- its really long and looks pretty complicated,so I'm gonna take it slow! and its Tuesday, and I hate Tuesdays REALLY...its weird, I wonder does anyone else have certain days you hate working on, like a mental barrier? For me its Mondays and Tuesdays- I have no problem with working weekends just not these days!! oh and rituals before you can begin anyone else? For me, I have to put all my make up on and fix my hair!! lol even if im only working at home, I can only work after I feel I look good, no slouching around in pj's for me! As I feel more determined to get stuck in then!! lol
Anyways Sneaks, thanks for joining me!!! So what are your targets for today?
Ok I'm gonna check in later, this time I really really will!!
My target was supposed to be do my 1st chapter (sounds bad but only 5-6 pages) but so far I have done 196 words - altho has made me start it so hopefully will flow onwards tomorrow. I know I will stop in about 20 mins too cos other half is due back from lecturing and im hungry! (on lose a stone for xmas diet - rubbish!)
My main problem this week is that I have to go to my industrial partners - where I find I can't do work cos of lack of tea and lounging capabilities, but also cos all my work is at home. so I start something and then have to stop cos I haven't got the right journal etc. (and their online security is really tight, so no USB sticks allowed etc.) Then rest of week is spent at uni cos have ridiculous amount of xmas dos to go to, which is great, but means I spend £ and don't get the work done, so will be spending the weekend catching up AGAIN.
So altho I can work mon and tues unlike you Maggie, I find the days when I have to be at uni etc a bit of a right off and turn into Admin days. Hopefully once the uni closes for xmas I can get some work done! I am also stressing about a lecture I have to do after xmas, as I don't teach much and am scared :-( and still chasing participants to get them to sign up for my second study which I hope to do after xmas. busy busy!
Hey Sneaks!! I think maybe we will miss each other sometimes, since I think you work in the day whereas I work at night!!...
Anyways, its a good start getting these first few tentative words for the chapter, and I think getting those first few words can often be the hardest- peope have different styles as we have seen in other posts, some people will write every word carefully and really mean it (thus no need for much editing) whereas others will write like crazy anything they can think of to get them started, then edit later. I follow the latter approach which works for me, as I find if I write everything that occurs to me at the beginning (even if over 50% of it is rubbish), I find this way allows me to get started more easily on the work concerned and 'get into it'...Have you tird playing with different appraches?
Regarding the balance with other committments, it seems your time isn't as free as you would like it to be...so all I can suggest is when you do get the time to maximise the efficiency in how you use the limited time each day you have set aside for 'phd' work-I have seen some people achieve more in an hour than others will in a day- so that means no distractions close emails, facebook, bbc website etc!! Also with regard to the problem of accessing materials in the industrial place, is it possible to download your articles in intend reading before you go there at home, and then either print them or access them via an email attachement while you are there? I know sometimes, something can only strike you at the time, but often if you plan ahead your reading the day before, then I think it can help to alleviate these problems to an extent...
anyways im off to bed now! I managed to get the chapter read and summarised, and im pretty happy that I found it to be very relevant to my research in the end which is always good!! anyway, I will check back in the morning with my goals for tomorrow (sorry its today now, dint realise the time!!):-x but first a cup of tea!
Starting a little late today, fallen right into my natural noctoral cycle again (definitely a correlation between bad weather and my noctoral tenedencies!). Ok so, my target for today is to read a number of cases that I need to know about to include for my paper I will be giving next week. Hoping to start in an hour and then work through till about midnight. How about you sneaks what are your targets for today?
Hey ho...just checking in, so I am satisified with my progress today, didn't read asmuch as I had hoped admittedly but at the same time what I did read, I did so with much more care than I usually do and I think it has really 'gone in'. That's the trouble, the better you get at 'skimming' texts, means the less attention you pay when reading anything-but today I really feel that I took in what I read by taking it really slowly and thinking about every sentence (quality not quantity eh?!)...Anyways I hope you have achieved your goals Sneaks-you can do it!! (I have also decided to make sure I have my contacts in every time I post, as I have noticed my spelling and grammar were terrible, when I posted some of the previous messages!!). ok, over and out...
Yikes!! I'm going to be a 9-5er today!! Plans for today are to finish off my readind prep for my paper on Monday which wilol alow Fri/Sat to do the powerpoint presentation and Sunday to practice...First though, I need to clean my apartment super fast as my landlady is coming around to pick up some things while I am out, which means I cannot close all the doors like I usually do to hide the messy rooms! lol... over and out for now:p
This sounds like a great idea! Have often thought how useful the accountability thread looks, but as I am not writing up yet it didn't seem quite the right place to post.
I'm a second year doing interdisciplinary work (Theology and English). So far I have 40 000 words ish of draft ideas and thoughts, some of which will get transformed into bits of chapters and some of which won't. Submitted 5 000 words of something that is a bit more than a draft for the first chapter at my last supervision. Also, now have overall thesis plan. Hooray!
Going through a very rough period workwise though (have been since August). I've been quite down and very slow - and today is a prime example! Haven't done anything yet except a bit of Christmas shopping on the internet and feel especially guilty because I know that I will be busy this weekend and the following weekend with family commitments and so won't have time to catch up then. Can't decide whether I should just try and do an hour today, or write the day off and start afresh tomorrow. Really not in the mood to concentrate.:-(
Hey Frankie!! Don't beat yourself up if your not in the mood... sometimes it is just better to leave it for a day... It is not like an office job you can do even when your mind isn't on the job. If this is the case, maybe draw up a detailed plan of what you will do tomorrow, so that you will wake up tomorrow with a sense of purpose, so there is then no danger of putting it off further. Having said that, though sometimes I have personally found, even when I'm not mentally focused, simply for the sake of lowering my stress levels (so that I wont be lying awake that night feeling guilty!!) I would try to do something, anything really, even if its only reading a short 20 page article, or maybe even doing a check for recent articles and printing them for the next day...In otherwords, just be achieving something really little when you really really don't feel able to work on the phd on a particular day, it means you won't feel guilty about it, as I have found that it can get into a cycle if you dont do work for a day and tcan then turn into 2 or 3 days before you are able to drag yourself out of it!!
Anyways, it will be great if you join me on the thread!! Like I have said inconsistency is also a huge problem for me, so while I can achieve the results in the end, I am just as likely to take 4 days off in a row as I am to work 14 hour days for the next 4 days!! so hopefully by setting daily targets, it can be a way to ''conform'' and we can be more consistent naturally!!
Im knackered now....really... I have been working for quite a few hours now... got the afternoon 'slump'.. but I'm gonna try and keep going if I can for few more hours yet and test my stamina!!
======= Date Modified 05 Dec 2008 09:00:45 =======
Hi Maggie and others,
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