feeling demotivated


Hello all, long time lurker, first time poster here. I am nearing the end of my PhD, about 3 months to go and feeling really demotivated and procrastinate all day. I'm trying to get the bottom of why I'm doing this
I think it's partly feeling overwhelmed with all I have to do and doubting my abilities
while I only have 3 months to go I have an awful lot to do (write nearly 30,00 words)

And I think its partly because I had to apply for an extension due to mental ill health and so I already feel like I have failed. I will have now spent spent 5.1/2 years doing what was supposed to be a 4 year PhD. I feel like a failure and like I've ruined my chances of getting a good job... very demotivating

I feel like I'm in a funk but cant seem to snap out of it.


Hi there!
The final stretch is going to be stressful, no matter who you are.
Could some of your procrastination be due to uncertainty about what will follow once you have submitted? Having to take a little longer to complete does not make you a failure, and no doubt the mental health issues you have mentioned would not be helpful. Perhaps you could make an appointment to see the campus counsellor to help you.

A strategy that helped me is to keep a log book of all of my writing. This was based on having a goal of writing 500 words per day. Each day that you write, make a note of the date, time you finished writing and how many words. You should really only count new words added each writing session you have (my rule, not binding!), I personally never counted copy and paste. This will also help you identify the time of day when you are at your most productive, which will help you maximise your output.

Good luck!


First of all the last line of my post should read "in a funck" not "in a fuck"

Thanks for your advice hopefull. Yes anxiety about post_phd does play on my mind.


Hey there, nosuchthingastoomuchcoffee,

With the amount you've been through I'm not surprised you're procrastinating! I've been through a bit of a bad time myself and I think sometimes emotions get too high and they lead to self-doubt, and then procrastination. I wouldn't worry about how long it takes to get there, this is something you're passionate about and once you have the PhD no one will care how long it took you to get it! I'm currently in the fourth year of mine and, through various issues, I'm now on probation and at risk of being removed from the course. If I end up failing the probation and having to start all over again it would be disheartening, yes, but once you achieve what you want time really doesn't matter.

A lot of people suffer from mental illness, it doesn't make you a failure for taking longer. If anything it shows your passion and determination by sticking it out, not just dropping out when you started to struggle.

Just try think of it on smaller scales. For example, if you have three months maybe aim to do 10,000 words a month? That makes it seem less daunting. You could also arrange meetings with your supervisors to go over sections, having smaller deadlines might push you to write more? I really hope it all works out for you.


p.s. I had a feeling the last line of your original comment must have been a typo!


Maybe you need to a break for a day or two and re-evaluate your priorities. Do you really want this? are you prepared to sweat blood and tears? I think take a day off,maybe have a cry and then get over it. If you have got this far, you can do these last 3 months.

Try not to think to too much of the future, i.e after the PhD. You may find yourself disadvantaged, but this is not due to a personal failing on your part, its just the competitive nature of academia.

Just focus on the next step ahead of you; Finishing the PhD and stay positive. You really don't know at this stage what opportunities in, or beyond ,academia could open up. But really all that is 'future you' problem.

Focus on what you have achieved and how well your doing despite everything. Don't tell yourself the story of ..'i failed, the future is bleak and it's all my own fault' ect. this is demotivating and stressful. Just frame it in a positive light. its sort of like whether you see the glass half empty of half full.

If you are really having trouble with this, seeing yourself and your achievements in a positive light, I would suggest maybe finding a counsellor or talking it out with some caring friends who support you.