I keep talking to people who are 'working all the time' - are you really? I am 6 months into my PhD, and yes I am waiting to receive ethical approval and i'm recruiting people to take part in my study - but it is not an obsene amount of work at all: 9-5. Am I underworking then? How much extra reading should I be doing - seriously, how many papers do you think is normal to read a week??? I am nervous about this one!! Help guide me!!!!
I spend my time painting my nails whilst flipping through the Harvey Nics' homepage on my computer. I'm only in academia for the money....
Seriously, I have had 4 hours sleep in the last 48 preparing for my monthly supervision and making sure I have done what will get me through. They terrify me.
I have set myself the goal of working 40 hours a week in my PhD. That's not to avoid the risk of underworking but of overworking - when I started (6 months ago) I could easily spend 14 hours per day in the library but the quality of this work wasn't fantastic because after some hours of work I couldn't concentrate anymore. So I've gone for 40 hours a week (not necessarily 8 hours M-F, I do also some hours on weekends if it's more convenient) saving time for social activities, other (paid) work and so on. I am a quite strict person and do not like to procrastinate so I find quite easy to stick to my own schedule and do 40 hours a week - that means that when a deadline is approaching I don't usually need to invest any extra time.
I never come in at weekends, spend most of my time googling things not to do with my research and haven't stayed later than 4pm in months. I don't actually do any reading at the moment so in my incubation times I just hang around/go shopping/go for lunch. I must do about 2-3 hours of "actual" work a day - maximum!
Ideally and very often 9-5 like any job. However, I've organised myself around several deadlines and with one only 6 weeks away and approximately 8 weeks work to do, I'm having to burn the midnight oil at the moment. Whilst this sounds mad, I actually work very well in the evenings when there's no else around!
At my first committee meeting I told my committee that I worked 40 hours a week and they really laid into me about a PhD being more than a job. I wasn't working 40 hours a week because I'm lazy, it was just that I had a lot of overnight incubations and there are only so many papers I can read. The minimum expected of you in my faculty is 50 hours a week, and you are expected to work weekends. You get out of it what you put in! But then again it depends on how efficient you are, some people can pack everything into 9-5 whilst other people do the same amount of work but not finish till 8 etc.
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