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I'm can't motivate myself to work

Hi Fircklesnarp, MeMaggie, Jayney and Lara,

Firstly thank you all so much not just for your excellent advice and tips, but also for your kind support and encouragement. As you can probably tell I was in a pretty bad place when I posted yesterday, and to start the day today by reading your posts has had such a positive impact on my mood.

It’s a massive relief to know that you all go through similar ‘doing nothing’ periods too, and that you all ‘force’ yourselves to work as a way out of it. Forcing myself, and I mean really forcing, has been the only way I could get any work done in the past, but I think I was feeling that this was wrong somehow, and I ended up convincing myself that it shouldn’t be so difficult and that I should ‘want’ to work and enjoy it which just whittled away at my confidence. However your posts have shown me that forcing is quite normal, effective even, so I’m going to embrace the ‘force’ from now on!

Another thing that you were all very observant in pointing out was that I’ve been concentrating too much on the big picture and not enough on the small tasks and achievements. This has given me a bit of a eureka moment because now I can see that’s why I’ve been finding the work so intimidating. I’ve taken your advice this morning by writing up a to-do list for today (I’ve already got two tasks complete), and before I go home I’m going to make a record of what I’ve achieved and make a new to-do list for tomorrow.

I’ve also printed off a monthly planner so I can keep track of deadlines and other key dates (thank you Lara) and I’ve ordered the Joan Bolker book off Amazon (thanks Jayney). So watch this space!

Posting on here has been such a weight off my shoulders and when my partner came in from work last night I admitted how difficult I was finding things and he agreed to change the password on our home PC so that I can no longer fool myself into thinking I would get any work done there. So I’m happy to say I’m typing this from my office space at university and feeling quite pleased with myself. I don’t even miss the TV!

Once again thanks a million, your advice and encouragement is already helping. May the ‘force’ be with you all in your own work! x


I'm can't motivate myself to work

Hello Everyone,
I'm exactly half-way through my 3 year PhD right now and I'm having some serious problems with motivating myself to get any work done whatsoever. It's embarrassing for me to say this but I spend most days watching TV (programmes that I don't even like!) and when my partner comes in from work I get a book out to pretend I've been doing something. Childish, I know, but I'm just so ashamed of how little I am achieving. This has been going on for months now and I'm starting to get really worried. I've spoken to my supervisor about it but he doesn't seem to understand how badly this is effecting me. I'm becoming very anxious and sometimes a bit depressed. My confidence in myself as well as my work has really taken a blow.

As an undergrad and masters student I always performed best under the pressure of an approaching deadline, but even this doesn't work anymore. The last conference paper that I presented was essentially unfinished. I've set myself a writing plan for the time I have left and if I don't start to meet those goals and deadlines then I am heading for serious trouble, as my funding only lasts for three years so I can't afford to go over.

It's not that I don't want to do the work, every night I go to bed saying 'tomorrow will be different' and, instead, every morning I stay at home moping about instead of going in to my office and getting some work done. I know it sounds ridiculous but it's almost as if I'm intimidated by the work so I stay at home where it's 'safe'.

I'd really appreciate the advice of anyone has had a similar experience and successfully come out the other side.

Also, if anyone has any general tips on self-motivation that would be welcome too.

Many thanks x