I can't be bothered to do my PhD.........


It's not that I hate it - I don't. I get on fine with my supervisors, they're supportinve and think I'm doing fine.

I just can't find the motivation to be bothered to do it. I'm in my third year and still have LOADS of work left. I'll never complete in 3 years, and even that doesn't really bother me or panic me into working harder (yet!)

I just had 3 weeks off for an exotic holiday (for a wedding), which came at a time I should have been increasing my work. Since getting back on Monday I have no motivation. The holiday was great and despite bringing some work with me I barely thought about the PhD. I fantasise about winning the lottery and not having to do my write up!

Anyone else feel like this? Guess it's just normal third year blues.


Ooh, I feel for you. Its difficult finding the motivation when you've been doing it for so long, and the end isn't immediately in sight. Do you have much more to do before you can begin writing up?

Its must be particularly hard as you've just come back from a long exotic holiday. Its going to take you a while to get refocused - don't be too hard with yourself. I'd suggest baby steps. Make yourself a few lists of things that need to be done, then break it down to macro to the micro. Are there little jobs that you can do which don't require too much cognitive input? I find that doing the menial tasks when I don't feel like working gets me in the right mood - you're still working but its not too effort full!



Just think it in this way. Sooner or Later, ONLY you have to complete the thesis. So might as well, you do it now, why delay it. Try to imagine of you clearing your Viva and no longer have to wake up and stare at the draft chapters. Break you workload into small portions and get it done. It is always better to do a bit every day than nothing for the day. Happy Researching, Cheers.


I felt like that too on my third year (same as you:lot of lab work left but supportive supervisors who think I'm great (that's what they say...)and thought I'll be ok: it seems to be everyone's favourite expression these days...) but I'd recommend you give yourself some targets as soon as possible! I was supposed to submit last week and didn't...do you think it would give more motivation?Panic? NOTHING! Now I'm to the point where I put myself a target of 100 words per hour:I'm recording everything on a piece of paper...It turns out that I write less than a 500 words a day even though I spend 10 hours in front of the screen but at least I can see how stupid I am for not doing anything about it and it actualy makes me go forward little by little... My boyfriend booked us some holidays at the end of this month to give me the motivation to submit by then...I'm afraid he'll have to go solo...It makes me sad but no matter how hard I try or shout at myself, it does not work!Winning the lotery is my favourite day dream but it ain't going to happen as I'm not playing! Anyway, the best way is little targets but make sure you meet them! You still have time!


Hello Catlinbond, I am in exactly the same predicament of you. I also have the same fantasy as you too - I even play the lottery! I also feel cheated as well, because I got told it all comes together in the 3rd year after the second year blues. I, like you, doubt I'll ever complete in the 3rd year and I've been eyeing up some jobs in an alarm factory near me for September, planning on working on my PhD in the evening as I write up.
Motivation is a funny thing because I find I never really have it when I actually need it. I'm motivated about the thought of doing work until I actually start it. I'll share the few tips for motivation that I have - however pathetic they may sound (but they are mine :$)...

1) You'll be a doctor. I'm planning on putting it on my Visa Electron card. The bank will probably even upgrade me to a Maestro-Switch card.

2) You're stood at a bus stop in the rain with a crowd of other people. Secretly, you know that you're probably the only one with the title Dr.

3) Just wait until the Government Census survey comes through your letter box next time!

4) There's no more qualifications to get after this one - at least none that are as difficult.

5) You must have (or be close to getting) all the data you need now. There's no point in stopping because you'll have nothing to show for all your hard work.

6) The writing up part is the last big hurdle. All PhD students have to go through it and no-one really enjoys it. Anything worth achieving is hard.

They are my [pathetic] personal reasons.

I think in relation to yourself, you've just taken a really long break. It can often be difficult to start again after a break. The advice below is excellent. In addition, you can try the Pomodero (sp?) technique, start your own accountability thread (or join one - like the What I have left to do thread) and see the progress you make (however little - it all counts) over a few days or a week. Arrange a meeting with your supervisors, explain the situation and set goals with them. You will get there in the end ;-)


I liked your tips, walminskipeas...They made me smile...and somehow are working! Thanks
An other one poped in my head:
imagine that it may get easier upgrades on a flight...(although that might be a legend...still a nice thought though...)


I wanted to come back and say thanks for all the tips. I wish I could say I've not been on here cos I;ve been working really hard! but still finding motivation a bit of a struggle. Unfortunately I find the idea of being Dr a bit embarrassing. Don't really know why but it doesn't really motivate me, but maybe will try and focus on it a bit more. I have a few Dr friends from my undergraduate days and they all seem very happy since completion so I should also focus on that. Just need to recruit recruit recruit at the moment so I can get more data.


"2) You're stood at a bus stop in the rain with a crowd of other people. Secretly, you know that you're probably the only one with the title Dr."

That made me laugh! :p Though I too like the idea of being a stealth doctor and getting a strange satisfaction from knowing that!


Ok so I must be weird because my lottery fantasy (twice a week) is to give up work and focus full time on PhD (flying business class when I am going on fieldwork!)

I do like the motivation about putting Dr on chequebooks, bankcards and so on; I'm afraid to shatter the illusion about upgrades on flights though - a friend of mine is a (medical) Doctor (who is incredibly impressed that he has just been made honorary Prof at a medical school and he puts that on HIS details!) - he has in the past had upgrades on flights but it is in exchange for staying completely sober and being on medical call in an emergency (so you don't even get the free booze) - not sure about you but even when I complete and have the Dr title my medical knowledge is all gleaned from Casualty and Holby and so I would be of little or no use in an emergency.


I'm having this problem, only I'm still in my first year and I'm part time, meaning I have big, BIG problems.

And I too am a bit embarrassed at the title. I wouldn't use it outside of academia.


Come on guys! Don't be shy! EMBRASS the title!
I'm a bit sad about the flight upgrade...:-(

Avatar for Eska

Hi all, thought I'd join in this discussion. I too am really embarassed about the title 'Dr.' I don't thnk I'll use it outside of work; however, my friend's dad, who seems to be very proud of my PhDing told me that we non-medical doctors are, in fact, the real doctors and the medical ones just have an honorary title.

Lately, I;ve been feeling a bit melancholy at times about hte fact that this will be my final qualification, my final course of study in the subjects I love. This has been especially true since my PhD is going smoothly and I can see it all mapped out, I just have to leap along and get the things done (mostly writing) now. I may do a fine art degree when I retire! I am desperate to get away from the poverty, but will miss the studying aspect soooo much, I hope to become one of those acdemic that dips into lots of different related areas, I want to keep learning. I guess being a PhD supervisor would keep you learning too, so, hopefully that will happen for me.

Avatar for sneaks

ah I am in the same boat. Trying to find the motivation to write up, but mostly just spending all day flitting about the internet and giving in to my dog's requests for plenty of walks.

i have no motivational advice. My tomatoes is now starting to annoy me - I can't seem to fit any writing in the 25 mins it lets you have, and then once I get in the swing of it, it tells me to go on a break and the bell annoys me and breaks my concentration.

I wish I could just get 1 thing complete towards my thesis, but my sup gets me to start new writing all the time and never lets me finish the old bits -so I am left with NOTHING towards my thesis. I think once i have even 1 chapter, then I will feel more motivated to pad out the rest of the 'book'.

On the dr title - I will definitely use it outside of work, but not at work unless I am in academia. It seems to be a bit of a faux pas to use it at work, particularly if your boss hasn't got a PhD.

Avatar for sneaks

Quote From walminskipeasucker:

2) You're stood at a bus stop in the rain with a crowd of other people.  Secretly, you know that you're probably the only one with the title Dr.

**mrs XYZ stands at a bus stop in the rain with a crowd of other people. Secretly she knows that she is probably the only one who has an alter ego with the title Sneaks**

Avatar for Eska

yes, I feel like that sometimes too Sneaks. It's really funny that we have this community, we've got to know eachother over time, and are like frienda and colleagues, but we don't actually know we all are, and we do have this 'other life' with another name.Although I do think it would be possible to spot who I am, if someone really tried, very hard... some stalker type.