Saturday, March 15, 2014

My PhD Schedule

English: Time for a coffee break ?? Or just a ...
Time for a coffee break? (Wikipedia)
by Eva Lantsoght, PhD Talk:

I recently got the following question, on which I'd like to expand here. 

Could you share your PhD schedule?

Throughout my PhD, I consistently started my day around 8am, which was often the starting time of my experiments, and which is the time at which my daily supervisor would also arrive to university.

Since I was mostly working together with a technician in the lab (who starts at 7:45 am) and my daily supervisor, I would make sure to be in my office around 8am.

I've been experimenting with morning routines quite some during my PhD, so at some point I was arriving a little earlier and having breakfast in my office, while at another point I'd be working through my emails during breakfast at home.

But on average, I always started around 8am. Now that I am working as an assistant professor, I am starting between 7am and 8am. The early bird catches the worm.

Throughout the day, I'd typically take a coffee break in the morning. Sometimes we'd have a birthday, and then we would all eat cake together (one more reason to go and do research in the Netherlands, I tell you).

Most of the days I'd have a 15 minute coffee break in the morning with some of my colleagues to have a snack, a cup of tea and catch up with each other.

Then, at noon, I'd go for lunch with my colleagues. I'd usually go to the cafeteria around 11:45 already to be earlier than everyone else who'd be using the microwaves, and thus not need to stand in line to warm up my food.

Our lunch-breaks were about 30 minutes. Sometimes I'd go into the lab after lunch and check out new developments on my setup with my technician colleague.

Most days, I'd leave my office some time between 5pm and 6pm, and make sure I'd have an activity scheduled for the evening so that I really had to leave my office. If I didn't have an activity scheduled, I'd often be tempted to stay until 10pm - which is simply too much for me.

On Mondays, I used to go to the gym around 6:00pm or 6:30pm for a class, then go home, prepare my food for the next day, shower, and write CD reviews or for my blog.

On Tuesdays, I used to do my groceries and batch-cook food for the rest of the week. I'd often watch online lectures in the mean time, or listen to podcasts to learn something new.

On Wednesdays, I used to go to choir practice, or - once I got fired from the choir from missing too many rehearsals because of my busy conference schedule - I'd go to the gym and then make time to read or study an online course.

On Thursdays, I would practice yoga at home, and make time for relaxation, such as reading a book in my bath tub.

On Fridays, I would spend 2 hours to either clean the kitchen or bathroom, and then clean my room as well.

On Saturdays, I would take care of all my pending errands, take time to study online courses, blog and read or watch a movie.

On Sundays, I would start my day in the gym, often followed by time in the sauna, and then work all through the afternoon, often until 9pm.

In the final year of my PhD, I tried to sleep earlier than the previous years, and would often be in bed by 9:30pm or 10pm, to make sure I get all the rest I need.

That's what my schedule looked like during my PhD years. I'm currently very much trying to get a schedule that works for me now that I am an assistant professor, but so far, I haven't found my best schedule yet. It always takes time for me to find a schedule that works ...

What does your schedule look like? Do you have fixed working hours?
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