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
- Force myself to walk everyday for at least 30 minutes
- 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
- It is also a good time to plan my day
- Be back by 9.15 – 9.30am
Issue 2) I have no self discipline
Solution 2) Between 9.30am to 1.30pm:
- Turn off the phone and internet
- Study at desk, not in bed, or on sofa
- In this time I can read, write notes, type up notes, or write my creative piece
- I cannot reorganise the fridge magnets, play with the pets, colour-coordinate my stationary supplies, or make my own sudoku
- Every 30 minutes I can get up and move around for 2-5 minutes – BUT I MUST REMEMBER TO COME BACK
- 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
- The plan is that 4 hours of concentrated work will kick-start me to work longer
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
- Spend 30 minutes per day (after 1.30pm) keeping track of bibliographies, filing and planning of future work
- 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
- I can check the internet in the morning, as long it is off by 9.30am
- After 1.30pm I can turn it back on and allow myself to follow a few tangents
- 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.