Apologies in advance for what is a bit of a rant. I’ve been a lurker on this forum for a while, I’ve had a long week and I just need a bit of a rant.
I'm currently well into continuation and have got another extension of a few months to finish writing up. I still feel like I've got a massive amount left to do (I've not finished my data analysis yet) and to be honest, I'm feeling completely swamped. I'm exhausted and annoyed with myself. I have attempted to do far too much for my project and I feel like I'm now in a complete mess. I've put in so much effort but I think by trying to include so much I'm doing a lot of things badly and not doing what I have done justice. I also think it's too late to drop things out now as I've got a lot of data almost analysed and partly written up. I'm currently working about 12 hours a day 7 days a week. I know this isn't healthy, and over the last day or two I've started to feel like I'm reaching breaking point, but I've got so much left to do that I don’t feel like I can justify taking a day off and if I do I always end up feeling guilty and working anyway. I also feel like I'm constantly trying to explain to people why I still haven’t finished. To be honest, I am really embarrassed about taking so long and I am quite worried about how to explain this when applying for jobs. I had a few weeks off because of an ill family member and my mind was on other things around this time, but that wasn't more than a couple of months in total and other than that, I’ve loved my topic and work and I’ve had supervisors who have been helpful and engaged in my project so I’m still not completely sure how I’ve ended up so far behind. I’m normally pretty good at staying positive about things (although I do panic unnecessarily) but the last few weeks I’ve just started feeling completely defeated. I know I should be able to do this, but I feel like I’m letting a lot of people down. Really, I just need to man up and get my thesis finished. Has anyone got any advice on how to keep motivated and make things feel more achievable?
Hi, I am new to this forum and your message was the first one I saw. I am at the end of my first year of a Professional Doctorate so no where near where you are but I can sympathize. I have been told been told that staying power is what you need to successfully complete a PHD. I would have a couple of days off to clear your head, you can't work effectively with a clouded head, and then get back on it. You are closer to the end than you were in the beginning!
I sympathise. While my situation isn't quite the same as yours, I share some of the issues.
First things first don't worry about ranting I do it here as well.
I didn't go through a situation like that during my PhD but I am currently going through a rough time in life when I feel like I'm trying to achieve so much but fail at every hurdle. This makes me lose focus and gets me more depressed.
To keep yourself motivated is not easy but you can try the following tips as they are working for me:
1) Don't overwork yourself: I'm struggling with rosacea, have been given more responsibilities at work, depressed and would like to be back in the UK, struggling with family issues and am lonely, and am losing faith in myself. The pressure has been taking me to breaking point- to the point where I just don't care anymore. I tell myself things will get sorted with time- my productivity at work reduced but ironically I feel better about it and my boss isn't complaining. The rosacea is tough as it affects my face but went to a med and currently putting a lotion so hopefully it will subside. As for the UK, I told myself since my contract expires in 5 months I'll just leave and come back; in the meantime I'll apply for jobs and see what'll happen. Point is you're depressed and that's why you feel overloaded. The PhD will be completed and you can always tell employers that it took longer because you were ambitious in terms of scope and it ended up being a better project than expected- hence the need for more time!
2) Don't do too much! As HazyJane said it's just about answering a question that's what a PhD is and that's what helped me refine the scope of my study and pass my viva. Drop unnecessary chapters and consult your supervisor.
3) Remember: YOU'RE NOT ALONE! I'm going through semi-hell all on my own but music, football, & exercise keep me going.
I think you need to step back a bit and regroup. Speak to your supervisors about your data and get a handle on what you need to do to get through. Decide what you need to achieve and try to set mini deadlines to keep yourself on track. Stop working 7 days, you aren't doing your health any good. Try to cut back to 5 days but with manageable targets. Find something to do to take you away from your work on the days off - go out, cinema, walking, anything to take your mind off it. You will benefit from time away, don't feel bad for needing and taking a break.
Look after yourself, that's the most important thing. You won't get anywhere if you work yourself to the bone. Don't worry about explaining the length of time on your thesis, everyone is different and employers know this.
Good luck getting some breathing space :-)
Thank you for your replies and advice. I have actually had a day off today and it's made me realise how tired I am. I am going to start taking one day off a week and try and spend a bit of time away from the computer screen.
CR1908, that sounds like a good idea. I'm going to make a to do list of everything that is left and set deadlines so I can tick one thing off at a time.
I'm also going to speak to my supervisors and see if I can find a way to make this seem more manageable. I'm a bit worried about doing this, my supervisors are really approachable, but I just don't want to admit to them that I am struggling, when I should be able to do this.
Incognito, I'm sorry to hear you're going through a rough time. I'm studying in my home country, but I've previously worked abroad and it can feel so much more isolating when things are not going well.
Thanks again for your advice, I think I'm just going to have to speak to my supervisors, try and cut things down into smaller chunks and take things one day at a time.
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