Unfortunately I’m still having a very stressful time in my personal life. As mad as it might sound and despite all the chaos, I think it’s important that I carry on working whenever possible. Yes, you can’t block out problems by throwing yourself into work, but I feel like not having my PhD submitted just makes everything else worse. Of course this isn’t always possible. But for me at this point, submitting my thesis just has to happen ASAP. As such, I thought I’d share some of the things that help me be productive, even throughout difficult times in life.
First is staying off the internet as much as possible. I literally turn the router off at the plug. When I need a break from work, I find that getting away from my laptop and looking at something else is far more refreshing than staring at Facebook. If the internet is on, I find myself checking emails far too much and buying too many clothes online. Getting up and making a cup of tea is much more refreshing. And apparently we shouldn’t all be sitting down for hours either, so moving is good physically as well as mentally.
Second is just doing a bit. I’ve written about the Pomodoro technique before: basically you just have to do twenty minutes of work and then you can have a break. Obviously, its better to do more than that in a whole day, but chipping away at things really slowly is definitely better than putting them off. I find that if I delay things until I’ve got more time or energy, everything just mounts up.
Third is planning. It sounds simple, but if I write a list of the jobs I have to do the night before things seem to happen much more easily the next day. It’s really important to keep this plan realistic and achievable, and getting my head around what I have to do speeds things up for me the morning after.