A day in the life – Study plan

I love making lists. They are a great way of feeling like you are doing something, without actually doing anything. And I have noticed a few issues with my study practices over the first 4 months of my PhD, so here is a new study plan/list to help to overcome my study problems so far.

Like the pirate code, these are not so much strict rules, but guidelines:

Issue 1)            Sitting on your bum all day can kill you

Solution 1)

  1. Force myself to walk everyday for at least 30 minutes
  2. I do this in the morning, which means I can walk the kids to school – good for the kids, good for the dog, good for me
  3. It is also a good time to plan my day
  4. Be back by 9.15 – 9.30am

Issue 2)            I have no self discipline

Solution 2)      Between 9.30am to 1.30pm:

  1. Turn off the phone and internet
  2. Study at desk, not in bed, or on sofa
  3. In this time I can read, write notes, type up notes, or write my creative piece
  4. I cannot reorganise the fridge magnets, play with the pets, colour-coordinate my stationary supplies, or make my own sudoku
  5. Every 30 minutes I can get up and move around for 2-5 minutes – BUT I MUST REMEMBER TO COME BACK
  6. I cannot stop what I am working on to check a fact on the internet  (this is always followed by random surfing) – make a fact-checking list to look up later
  7. The plan is that 4 hours of concentrated work will kick-start me to work longer

Issue 3)            Postural paralysis

After the first week of study my posture was so bad I got torticolis and couldn’t move for two days

Solution 3)      I will use my 2-5 minute breaks to stretch and do a few exercises so this doesn’t happen again

Issue 4)            I have lost control of my references

Solution 4)

  1. Spend 30 minutes per day (after 1.30pm) keeping track of bibliographies, filing and planning of future work
  2. It is hard to concentrate after the kids get home from school at 4pm, so this might be a good time to do this sort of work.

Issue 5)             Internet OCD

Solution 5)

  1. I can check the internet in the morning, as long it is off by 9.30am
  2. After 1.30pm I can turn it back on and allow myself to follow a few tangents
  3. After 4pm is a better time for this, if I can wait that long.

Issue 6)            Work life balance

Solution 6)      If I follow the above plan, I might get enough work done to pack up at 5pm and spend some time with the family, put my feet up and relax, without guilt.

I followed this plan today, and it went pretty well. Lets see how long it lasts.

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2 Responses to A day in the life – Study plan

  1. vildana says:

    and i am taking up some of the time during my writing process to randomly have a look at your blog:) it is of great help, you can be sure..i love making lists, too -though turning off internet is a bit problem in my case as i am using googledocs for my drafts;/ anyway, i will try to make a list on hourly basis listing the times of clicking another tab in the browser, we’ll see how it will work;)

    • Good luck with the list.

      I still try and turn off the internet during the times I am reading. It is too tempting to use it to just check things I don’t immediately understand and then I just end up surfing for hours.

      But, now I have it on when I’m writing, because it so easy to use it then to quickly clarify something, and I don’t tend to surf as much when I’m in the middle of writing. I must be using a different part of my brain.

      Thanks for the comment.

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