And, joyfully back to work? Or do you notice that things don’t go as you would wish them to go? Are you maybe kind of ‘disappearing’ into your emails or the internet, are you spending too much time talking to your colleagues or are you doing something, but are you actually not sure what you should be doing or not busy with what you know you should be doing?
Then you are not alone!
Procrastination is a very common thing amongst PhD students, for many, it is difficult to be productive. Of course, there are plenty of books that deal with this problem; libraries are full of books on productivity, time management and the like. The difficult thing is that many of the methods are complicated, difficult to maintain or simply not realistic. Or they tend to start digging into the reason why you are procrastinating.
Generally, there is a very simple reason for procrastination: you do not know how to do something; you find what you have to do difficult. And that’s why you procrastinate and tell yourself that the moment is not right to do the task, that you first need to find out something else, that… Of course, that is not helpful in any way, it is not making a difference whatsoever, and the task is still there…
I am a big fan of a very simple technique that helps to overcome procrastination: the ‘Pomodoro technique’. In this video you will see the basic principles.
– Divide your work into tasks of 25 minutes
– Set a timer
– Work for 25 minutes
– Take a 5-minute break
– Set your timer again
– Work again for 25 minutes
– Take a 5-minute break
– After 4 ‘Pomodoro’s’ take a longer break
What works very well: take one Pomodoro to actually take the next step in whatever you find so difficult and have been procrastinating. After these 25 minutes, you can do all kinds of other stuff. And: you can be happy with the fact that you are 25 minutes further on the way than you were before!
Would love to hear how this technique works for you!
It does help not to procrastinate. But you also need to be in a place where you won’t be interrupted.
Great post! its very useful working a long time projects thanks for sharing
For me it also helps to think about the Green Frog. The one important thing of the day that really needs to be done and when I have that done, then I can relax and handle the less important things while feeling really positive I’ve tackled that Green Frog.
The PhD project, I’m still looking into where I can do it and looking for a supervisor. It’s exciting and daunting, but I think it will be a good thing to have these tips 🙂 Thanks so much