Sup messing with my timetable


Hi all,

I posted something similar to this earlier in the year but this time I wanted to find out if any of you have had the same problem, basically I am now approaching the end of my second year and I am in the lucky position of having collected most of my data and in the process of analysis as we speak (well not right now as I'm typing this :$ )!

I am on a bit of a strict timeline as I can't afford my PhD to run beyond the 3 year funding window and I wanted to keep most of next year free to concentrate on writing up (and subsequent amendments etc) but my supervisor, although she's had a copy of my timetable, keeps giving me extra bits and pieces to do.
I am under no illusions and I know my writing needs developing but I really need to get my analysis done or I won't have anything to write about!

So I suppose what I'm asking is, are you in control of your timetable or do you have your sup telling you what to do? I thought by this stage we should be in control of our own destiny, so to speak?




This is a difficult one, I guess it is at this point that what you need and what your supervisor wants begin to conflict. Obviously your priority is getting you PhD completed and doing it in 3 years. Your supervisor obviously wants as much research done as possible.

What you need to do is find out whether the additional work is necessary for you to have a good thesis, if it is then obviously you need to do it, if it is boarderline whether you have enough material you probably should do it, if you have more than enough for a good thesis then you need to decide whether you want to do it or not (This may depend on what your plans are for after the PhD - if you want to say working with your supervisor it may be better to do it...). If having enough material for your thesis depends on the analysis which you are yet to carry out it could be more difficult to judge.

If you have enough material you need to explain the situation to your supervisor and agree what happens next and stick to it, it may involve some negotiation such as you giving up some of your time to show a new PhD student what to do for a while or assisting in some experiments, but you should both agree a deadline after which you will focus solely on analysis and writing up.


In general I am in control of my schedule. If my sup asks me to do some extra stuff I did not plan, it's usually minor stuff that don't take much time.

In your situation, I would first consider whether "the bits and pieces" in any way could fit within your general thesis work. If not at all, I think you should from time to time stand up to your sup, using the solid argument that you can't exceed the deadline on your side.

But obviously a lot depends on the relationship between you and your sup on a personal level.


Thanks both. I sent her an email with everything I'm trying to juggle at the moment which seemed to make the point that I am a busy chicken at the moment, so hopefully I won't end up (turkey) !!!