I need motivation


Hi there
I need a motivation, I am in a very bad mood, cannot do anything, each time I start to read an article, I leave the office after few minutes and when I come back I forget what I was doing. Sometimes I cannot understand what I am reading. I am staying at home all the day, do not meet anybody except my sleepy husband. Even when I decide to take one day off, I will be alone with my iphone. I feel myself isolated and useless.


hi Emaa
we've all been there, I guess.
Start by setting small goals for yourself; which are easier to accomplish; then your mood will improve.

also make sure you keep yourself in a positive environment, surround yourself with positive people, pleasing music, good food.. :-)

love satchi


Thanks Satchi so so much, I'll follow your advices, and wish to back to my normal mood, soon.


When I can't understand what I'm reading, I stop (but don't leave the room or make a cup of tea) and I focus on the paragraph. I ask myself, "Why are the authors saying this?" Sometimes merely just understanding WHY there is some complicated equation or theory in a straightforward-sounding paper actually helps me to gain a much deeper insight into what is happening in my field and why. When I first started reading, nothing made any sense. I didn't understand why certain things were important. When I started asking myself "Why" these strange concepts were being included, suddenly the papers made a lot more sense, even if I still couldn't understand the detail. Also, something else I have found very useful is just summarizing abstracts. Reading a whole paper can take a lot of energy, but sometimes summarizing an abstract in a few sentences can help you focus your reading. Keeping a record of abstracts (I use mind maps) can make it easier to go back and say, "Okay, I only need to read the conclusions of this paper, and I only need to read the methods of that paper," rather than spending three hours staring blankly at the first few lines of the introduction to a paper you can't really follow.

I hear you about the isolation, too. This can be one of the worst parts for me. Finding other postgrads to go for a coffee or to the pub with can really help. Of course, it isn't always easy to find the time, or to find others...

I also make sure I find SOME time for non-academic interests. I'm a writer but I'm also an artist and like to draw in the evenings. I'd take a class in one of those things if I had the money or time. I'll make sure I have time with my husband to go watch a movie, go shopping, or walk in the countryside (the woods by my house are lovely at this time of year). Anything to help me get grounded and not make me feel like I'm completely cut off from the rest of the world. Still, again, sometimes it's easier said than done in practise.

I find that writing here really helps me, too.


I hear you Emaa! I am exactly like you (the reading part). Sometimes it really helps to take time off, even an entire day doing something fun/sth that doesn't onvolve thinking. I know it sounds crazy because you end up not spending time at work. In my case at least, it helps, and it makes you more efficient than dragging yourself around trying to read/understand something when you don't have the energy for it. Try running for 30 minutes or less a week slowly (if you haven't been jogging before). Bu I so get you!


Oh yeah, I went through this recently.

My supervisors both told me to do other things. As one said, maybe I had read too much and needed to synthesise everything in my head. They both said to go do other things like walking as I would find myself thinking about my PhD anyway. I also started gardening. It was very mediative just to be planting things or watering and pondering my thesis as I went along. Other PhD students in my school said they spent big chunks of their time not doing anything - either procrastinating or deliberately taking time off reading. One even spent whole days on the ferry going up and down the river pondering her thesis! A friend's brother even said he didn't read anything for a month in the middle of his literature review and he still graduated.

My other "treat" or motivation tactic for when I don't want to read is to watch a couple of documentaries about my topic. Docos tend to be holistic rather than focusing on specifics and it helps me to look at the big picture every now and then rather then the minutae of different aspects. I find this motivates me as I remember why I am studying my topic. Also I tend to find that I still take notes as watching them triggers off ideas.

As everyone said to me - it is just a phase and a very normal part of the PhD process. Good luck.:-)


Loland, JJJ and Cornflower, thanks for all of you. Your advices really helps, at least when you said that you sometimes pass in the same feelings helps me a lot to understand that my situation is not strange ;-). May be I have a problem in organizing my time, and the effectiveness of the studying hours. I need to turn off the net while I am studying or at least have a stronger control on myself. I am doing  a French course, it helps me to meet people and learn something I love, but sometimes the feeling that I do not study for this course makes another pressure. So, I'll make a plan and try to focus on my two important goals, PhD of course in the first and then learning French.