Saturday, 5 June 2010

Organisation and the PhD

I think doing a PhD is mostly about being well-organised. I mean, it takes a certain above-average intelligence (does not demand as much great intelligence as in the past, what with grade inflation), but even the most intelligent person cannot write a good book if she is not organised. I'm not saying that I am any expert; in fact, I would say that I'm basically a failure and that I need to improve more. However, here are a few things that have helped me lately:

* Keeping a list of goals, and planning out how to stick to them.

A few months ago, I went to my university's second of two inductions on how to do a PhD. It was basically practical stuff on writing well, organisation, new technologies, how to successfully pass our transfer exercises, etc. One workshop was about planning for the PhD, such as when certain chapters will be completed and contingency plans for when life gets in the way. I drew up a plan for each stage of my PhD process and writing the dissertation and immediately felt better.

* Doing a little bit each day, no matter how small.

As a PhD student, I am often overwhelmed with finishing the dissertation and the writing process, and making it perfect. This means that I can sometimes not write or read as much as I would like, because I live in fear of it not being perfect enough. It was a huge relief to be OK with whatever work I do accomplish, as long as I complete my small goals.

I'd love to have others share their opinions.

Currently Listening...

  • Pearl and the Beard
  • The Dodos
  • Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Anna Ternheim
  • NOFX
  • Fairiborz Lachini
  • The Clash
  • Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Does Judy
  • Radiohead: In Rainbows

Currently Watching...

  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Mad Men
  • South Park
  • Zach Galifinakis

Currently Reading...

  • Bill Bryson: A History of Nearly Everything
  • Gabriel Garcia-Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The House of Leaves
  • Robertson Davies: The Rebel Angels

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