Thursday, May 22, 2014

Get Your Focus Back on your PhD in One Hour

overwhelm in your PhDby Arjenne Louter, The Dutch PhD Coach:

One of my  colleagues, entrepreneur Nicola Bird, wrote these 5 simple steps that help you to get your focus back.

And although it was written for people with a business, it is equally important and applicable for PhD students.

I have found out that there are a lot of similarities between doing your PhD and having your own business. But that’s maybe for another post.

In this post, some additions for PhD students in BLUE. Now let’s get focused again first …

Ever have one of those weeks where you look at your to-do list and it’s as long as your arm (and then some?).

The feeling of overwhelm for me makes me feel actually physically sick, with a total brain blank and that slightly spinning feeling. Does that make sense to you?

As a busy business owner (plus mother, plus housekeeper, plus wife, plus daughter etc etc) AND HERE YOU CAN REPLACE BUSINESS OWNER WITH PHD STUDENT, sometimes that list can feel overwhelming - which probably means you’re procrastinating and not doing the really important stuff because it’s lost in the huge list.

There are five simple steps you can to quickly and easily to get a handle on this situation (you’ll need to set aside around an hour to complete the exercise):

1) Make ONE long master list of EVERYTHING that’s in your brain right now, on all your to-do lists and written on scraps of paper tucked in the bottom of your handbag or lying near your computer on your desk, or written on post its …

2) Add up the number of items on that list and divide it by five. That’s the number of items you want left on your list by the end of this exercise. Why? Because the 80:20 rule applies to your to-do list. You’ll get 80% of the results you want from 20% of the activities you have planned. Your job now is to work out which.

3) Go down the list, swiftly, and put an asterisk next to only that number of tasks. Not one more and not one less.

4) For every other item, move it either to a ‘someday maybe list’ (so it’s not lost forever, it’s just not going to be done right now) or let it go and delete it (especially if it’s been on there for over a year and you’ve STILL not done it!)

5) Make sure you now have a clean fresh copy of that remaining 20% of to-dos.

Wiping 80% off your to-do list is one of the fastest ways I know to get out of overwhelm and into focus and moving forwards again.

To your clarity and focused thinking! And therefore, to a successful PhD!

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