Philippa’s blog – 17 February 2014

Priorities

As I’ve written previously, I’m hopefully fairly close to submitting my PhD thesis. It would be lovely if everything else in my life took notice of this fact and didn’t cause me any problems. Unfortunately, things aren’t working out that way for me and so I feel like I’m being pulled in far too many directions. Work, family, friends, exercise and teaching are things all competing for my attention and I’m not even thinking about getting a job. Trying to do everything means that the work doesn’t get finished, and if the work doesn’t get finished then this stressful period, where I talk about my PhD ad nauseum to anybody who will listen, gets prolonged.

I’m fully signed up to the idea that the only way out is through, but quite how to get through is another question. This week I’ve been trying out the idea of setting my top three priorities. I actually wrote them down at the start of the week – the PhD is number two at present. Unfortunately, my friends aren’t in those top three at the moment. I think these priorities aren’t particularly healthy or sustainable in the long term, but equally I’m really keen to submit my thesis ASAP so this seems like a sacrifice worth making for a few weeks.

When you’re really stressed, small decisions can become really difficult. I’ve found that actually setting my priorities in writing is one useful way to manage these decisions – of course we should still remain flexible and responsive, but creating a framework to guide us can be helpful.

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