No motivation, always procrastinating - is there any hope?

posted
11-Aug-17, 18:07
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Coarvi:
Quote From helebon:
From my coaching session, one technique for being productive is the 10 Minute Rule. You do something for 10 minutes then move onto another task.
You have the paper work for the tasks in separate piles on the desk ready to start. Set yourself an alarm on your mobile phone for example.
It does work as the thought of just 10 minutes work is ok when you feel less motivated. Then have regular breaks. I ended up working more than 10 mins on each task.


Good ideas. Usually, when I first get started on something, I manage to stay productive for some hours (with small breaks of course). My issue is mainly to actually get started. It just feel so overwhelming. Usually my tasks are of the type "figure out why this code is not working" or "come up with new specifications since the ones I have suck". So it's difficult to think of specific tasks since it often requires me to go through a lot of code and think what to do. And I am SO SICK of codes! I feel more qualified for a job in IT than finance/economics after this, even though all my education so far is within finance...


I am no expert but I would have thougt that finance and economics both involve heavy amounts of programming.
Am I missing something here?
posted
12-Aug-17, 06:38
by Kahn
Avatar for Kahn
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Coarvi:
Quote From helebon:
From my coaching session, one technique for being productive is the 10 Minute Rule. You do something for 10 minutes then move onto another task.
You have the paper work for the tasks in separate piles on the desk ready to start. Set yourself an alarm on your mobile phone for example.
It does work as the thought of just 10 minutes work is ok when you feel less motivated. Then have regular breaks. I ended up working more than 10 mins on each task.


Good ideas. Usually, when I first get started on something, I manage to stay productive for some hours (with small breaks of course). My issue is mainly to actually get started. It just feel so overwhelming. Usually my tasks are of the type "figure out why this code is not working" or "come up with new specifications since the ones I have suck". So it's difficult to think of specific tasks since it often requires me to go through a lot of code and think what to do. And I am SO SICK of codes! I feel more qualified for a job in IT than finance/economics after this, even though all my education so far is within finance...


There is a lot of code already available for economics and finance. Are you having problems manipulate the code to address your research question or trying to reinvent the wheel? If I may ask, which area of finance are you interested in?
posted
14-Aug-17, 15:22
edited about 16 seconds later
Avatar for statictraveller
posted about 2 months ago
Hi Coarvi,
I know how you feel, I am also the only PhD student in our research group so I can fully sympathise with you when you say you feel lonely and there is nobody else who understands what you are doing. My supervisor (one of them) is the only person who understands what I am doing too. you are not alone - not sure if that helps?
I think a part of this being more than half-way through your PhD and going down the negative slope, as many do and may not admit and also partly becoming a mum. I am not a mum -yet- but when I am I would have so much other priorities in regards to my baby that I would not be prioritising my research. and PhD is hard, once you stop working for a week or two, everything piles up so much that you would just rather sit and look at it and think about everything that you can't do and can't understand rather than sitting down and tackling it. and this is also completely normal!
but chin up. like you said, at the beginning you felt you were the best PhD candidate and you still are. take a piece of paper and make a to-do list. write down every single concept/script you can't understand and make a timeline of what you expect of yourself to achieve by what day and what time. and once you do, tick it! tick so you feel blissful when you look back at that list of paper again - let it be a reminder of of your achievement.
and once you get your intellectual confidence back, you'll be on a roll and finishing your third paper.

Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.

Good luck. you can do it, fellow PhD student.
posted
15-Aug-17, 18:01
by Coarvi
Avatar for Coarvi
posted about 2 months ago

I'm coming to my end of second year. Have a report due in by 31st of this month to present two years worth of work and an internal panel will decide if i'll be allowed in to 3rd year.
I have no idea at this point if I'll make it...


Wow, good luck with that! I'm sure you'll be fine (it is so easy to be positive on other people's behalf...).
posted
15-Aug-17, 18:10
edited a moment later
by Coarvi
Avatar for Coarvi
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From pm133:




I am no expert but I would have thougt that finance and economics both involve heavy amounts of programming.
Am I missing something here?[/quote]

No, you are absolutely right. I just didn't expect it to be so boring... I expected to spend more time on writing. I never write. I have nothing to write.

I'm not doing anything complicated, but I am really struggling to make sensible analyses of the data I am supposed to use. Therefore I spend much time on "trial and error", a lot of time googling to figure out how to do the things I want to do, try something new... I feel I have spent a whole year on "we are almost finished, let's just try this first". A year! I am sooo tired of it, and it does not make sense to me anymore. Therefore I end up procrastinating,instead of writing more code...
posted
15-Aug-17, 18:16
edited about 11 seconds later
by Coarvi
Avatar for Coarvi
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From statictraveller:
Hi Coarvi,
I know how you feel, I am also the only PhD student in our research group so I can fully sympathise with you when you say you feel lonely and there is nobody else who understands what you are doing. My supervisor (one of them) is the only person who understands what I am doing too. you are not alone - not sure if that helps?
I think a part of this being more than half-way through your PhD and going down the negative slope, as many do and may not admit and also partly becoming a mum. I am not a mum -yet- but when I am I would have so much other priorities in regards to my baby that I would not be prioritising my research. and PhD is hard, once you stop working for a week or two, everything piles up so much that you would just rather sit and look at it and think about everything that you can't do and can't understand rather than sitting down and tackling it. and this is also completely normal!
but chin up. like you said, at the beginning you felt you were the best PhD candidate and you still are. take a piece of paper and make a to-do list. write down every single concept/script you can't understand and make a timeline of what you expect of yourself to achieve by what day and what time. and once you do, tick it! tick so you feel blissful when you look back at that list of paper again - let it be a reminder of of your achievement.
and once you get your intellectual confidence back, you'll be on a roll and finishing your third paper.

Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.

Good luck. you can do it, fellow PhD student.


Thank you. Yes, it helps.

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with being over halfway, or being a mum. I have been like this all the time, but it is getting worse now. I have kind of done what you suggest, but it does not work that well for me,but I will continue trying...
posted
19-Aug-17, 14:08
edited about 58 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Coarvi:
[quote]

Thank you. Yes, it helps.

Unfortunately this has nothing to do with being over halfway, or being a mum. I have been like this all the time, but it is getting worse now. I have kind of done what you suggest, but it does not work that well for me,but I will continue trying...


Well to me this sounds really straightforwards in terms of analysiing where you are.
You are finding things difficult but lack the interest in what you are doing to do what is necessary to proceed towards a successful conclusion of your PhD and your body is physically reacting to you forcing it to do something you really don't want to do anymore.

It sounds very much like the major blockage is your lack of interest. I would even go as far as saying that you appear to actively hate what you are doing.
You need to focus on that and forget everything else right now.
Counselling will not cure boredom so in my opinion that is probably a waste of time and money.

If you can't get over your hatred you will either fail to graduate or you will end up in a padded cell so deal with this issue right now and quit unless you can convince yourself of a good enough reason to waste more precious time.

Do you have a good reason to continue?

It's not to late to take on another PhD either but I would urge caution before you risk ploughing down the same path again.
I definitely think you need to consider quitting if you hate the PhD so much.

Quitting isn't failing. It's merely recognising that you are doing the wrong thing for you and finding another path in life.
posted
22-Aug-17, 06:40
by Coarvi
Avatar for Coarvi
posted about 2 months ago
Thank you for your honest advice, pm133. I went to a therapist and she basically said the same thing. There is no point for me to look for methods of avoiding procrastination as long as I dislike what I do so much.

I really needed to hear that.
posted
23-Aug-17, 12:27
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From Coarvi:
Thank you for your honest advice, pm133. I went to a therapist and she basically said the same thing. There is no point for me to look for methods of avoiding procrastination as long as I dislike what I do so much.

I really needed to hear that.


You are welcome. This advice comes from personal experience so I know exactly what you are going through.
It is always good to talk to someone but formal therapy isnt usually helpful when you are feeling miserable or empty. In my opinion, the large increase in mental health problems is as a result of people forcing themselves to do things when every sinew of their being is telling them to do something else. The strange thing is that when people take a moment to be honest with themselves they largely know full well what they want to do but for some reason they persist in doing something else. It is a guaranteed way to have an utterly miserable life.

So what did I do?

I left permanent employment and academia after my PhD because both environments make me miserable. Instead I re-evaluated how much money i was prepared to live on and started my own leaflet distribution business to allow me to live. All my subsequent time is spent on am effort to build up skills in specific technical areas to give me a chance of creating a technical product or service. Within 6 weeks of leaving uni, I am now able to offer software design and programming skills and could start day trading in shares if I wanted to as I have taught myself enough accounts to understand what to do.

Money is very tight and there is no guarantee I will ever earn what I used to or even succeed in creating a product but life is absolutely great again and everyday I leap out of bed full of energy. The problem is my mother's constant negativity but I have learned to block her out.

So, instead of therapy I would urge everyone to listen to their bodies, obey what it is telling you, CHANGE what you are doing and give fewer fucks about what other people think. It is OK to have a PhD and deliver pizza leaflets for 10 hours a week and then to spend another 30 hours reading technical books for the love of it.
posted
13-Oct-17, 09:46
edited about 3 seconds later
by Coarvi
Avatar for Coarvi
posted about 1 week ago
Just thought I'd give an update since I got some good advice here...

... I'm going to quit! I got a new job offer, and have spent the last few weeks thinking about what I want to do. There is still some small part of me who want to continue, but after discussing with my supervisors etc. I can't find enough support to go through with it, and quitting seems to be the best option. I just don't have the energy to continue. And right now it feels very, very good to say that this will soon be over.
posted
13-Oct-17, 12:46
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 1 week ago
Congratulations on making this decision and getting a job offer.
Your last sentence tells you that you made the right decision.
This was never about "failing" or "giving up".
It was simply about recognising that you were doing sonething you didn't enjoy.
It's great to hear that you feel so much better now.
Good luck for the future.

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