Overworking/overdoing it?


======= Date Modified 24 Aug 2011 22:55:07 =======


How did the mismanagement lose you 6 months? What happened?


I don't want to put too many specifics here, but I had to change PhDs after 18 months and only got 12 months extra funding.


So anyway, I work 3 x days a week and spend 2 x on the PhD working from home. My output seems about the same (3 months in) as full-timers. It is a manageable process, it does require flexibility and getting up at a normal time, starting the PhD reading/writing at 9.00am and finishing at 5.00pm (allowing two breaks to refresh the cafetiere coffee and a 1 hour lunch -for a walk and fresh air). It seems that compartmentalising works well for me. When I go into the Uni library I see other PhD's running around and others seemingly doing nothing. I do think a few years of paid employment give it a bit of reality - I've seen some PhD's who went BA, MA straight into a PhD without ever really working and they seem to have a very slow pace of working.

Avatar for Pjlu

======= Date Modified 06 Feb 2012 10:04:06 =======
I think I'm going to have to work in blocks and tiny increments for the duration. My work is fairly intense once it cranks up but being a teacher/coordinator, I do get better holidays than most industries and I have fewer classes than most full time teachers due to the admin part of my job (which reduces some of the marking and planning but not all of it-there is a huge load of boring admin though that I have to wade through).

So I just do huge blitzes in the holidays and on some weekends when I am really enthused and the rest of the time, I do tiny incremental bits, such as reading articles or reworking something. So sometimes I am just on overload and other times, things are manageable. When a major work task comes up, I put off the PhD stuff for a few days but not for too long. This is pretty much how I completed my Master's thesis as well.

I have had to say no to other things though this year which is pretty hard. One thing I won't say no to however, is exercise (running and a couple of enjoyable gym classes) and just doing a few nice things to save my sanity-and I am not going to let my household run downhill completely, so have periodic help with cleaning and garden tidy ups, but nothing too ritzy-still do a lot of this sort of thing myself. I think though, at some point once I have a mass of data collected, I will take a sabbatical for about 3-4 months to really help with the write-up. I'm hoping to finish in around 5 years as a part-timer but will take a bit longer if I really have to. And I've extended or branched my Phd from my original Masters so have done a bit of leg work already on topic.

On your last sentence (on your original post from last year) you asked about whether how people tackled their research might impact on the quality of their research. I don't think there would be much correlation between whether you do the well-managed compartmentalised bit or whether you go in all intense and then take a break and the actual quality of what you do- I really just think it depends on your own personality and life circumstances. People work in different ways and that's fine. Steering clear of depression though is pretty important; it seems to loom like the pit of doom rather too close to the Phd pathway at times for many of us-hence why I will not allow too much to get between me and exercise and some rest.


======= Date Modified 06 Feb 2012 12:57:28 =======
Considering a Myers Briggs approach you can define people into two camps (although some mixture can occur). There are people that are very organised and do everything to plan within a timeframe. There are others than do not plan so much and see how things come and react accordingly. Some leave things to the last minute and focus on more interesting stuff in the mean time. Some like to get it done asap.

I am personnally a plan and fix within a timeframe person that works normal employee hours with a little work spilling over into weekends and evenings every so often. In contrast a friend of mine will not plan so efficiently and take it as it comes, but still knows what he is doing. It is just a different approach. Neither is right or wrong. I think most academics fall into the less planning route, but not all. I'm more interested in industry where people are more plan orientated. The important thing to recognise is people can fit into the either category when they need to.