Have you read Joan Bolker’s “Writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day”? I was reminded of a passage in that book when I was talking to a PhD researcher about whether or not to continue and finish the project, or alternatively drop the whole thing and embark on something entirely different. The passage in Bolker’s book goes as follows: “There’s another kind of hitting the wall that sometimes happens to thesis writers: you feel an impossible barrier between you and the finish line, the bottom falls out of your hopefulness and ambition, and your spirits border on despair and [...]Read More
PhDs are slow and slippery projects, it is not at all uncommon for them to feel completely out of control, at some or many stages of the process. Feeling in control of what you are doing may be right up there at the top of your lists of wishes and wants! Feeling a lack of control is the twin sister of feeling helpless, and the two of them are not the cheeriest of company. A few tips to help dodging them: 1. PhDs are uncertain creatures The first thing to note is that feeling a lack of control is normal, [...]Read More
I have been working on a free mini course to help you develop excellent work habits (hello to getting those papers written!) but wanted to wait until I was sure the holidays were over. Now it is September, and the light has turned golden, and our gaze is once again firmly on our laptops. So it is time for an announcement! The ZenAcademic Worksheet (which you can find on my free resources page) now comes with a free mini course! It is an introduction to implementing the worksheet, which will help you: Create a work (and self-care) routine that is [...]Read More
Sometimes synchronicity happens. And this time it happened with a good cry. About supervision. A few weeks ago I found myself walking through the park - the Amsterdam Vondelpark (far too touristy) - in tears. This was completely unexpected: I hadn't thought about my own PhD for years. It is an awful story: my supervisor died in the last year of my PhD. He had a heart attack. And I was suddenly sad about it. Really, really sad. This hadn’t really happened before in this way, and it is 8 years ago that he died, so it completely took me [...]Read More
PhD productivity is a funny thing. I have come to the conclusion you often have to move in the exact opposite direction of where your instincts are telling you to go. Hence today’s motto: Stop, pivot, go in the opposite direction! If you want, you can add a ‘breathe’ in there as well…stop, breathe, pivot, go! Maybe you’re familiar with the following ‘loop’: PhD progress is slower than you might like, deadlines real or imaginary are approaching, you are getting overwhelmed by the amount of work you still need to do, you start feeling bad about it, and yourself, PhD [...]Read More
Behind the scenes I am preparing for the next live sessions of the Stress-Free PhD Programme. This means I’ll be running the course with a live session at the beginning of the week, where you can ask questions (and I’ll answer them!) to get the most out of the programme. The programme is designed to help you write your PhD in fewer (and happier) hours a day. This can be done! But it takes a few steps, some of which are to do with a shift in mind-set (we’ll be going against the conventional wisdom of working longer hours is [...]Read More
Use the ZenAcademic worksheet to create your optimal workday. It will help you focus, prioritise, and get work done. It will also help you balance the stresses of academic life. Self-care included!
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