Do you know that I have been supporting PhD students to finish their PhD successfully and in time for more than 13 years now and with great pleasure? You can imagine the number of PhD students I have spoken to in all these years. The striking point is that all PhD students more or less have been struggling with the same obstacles.
You will probably recognise a couple on the following list:
- planning is a complex thing to do. How to plan your day, your week, and the most complicated of all, how to plan your entire PhD in such a way you will finish successfully and in time?
- maintaining an overview of your literature is not an easy task: how to keep track of what you have read and its contents, how to organize it all, how not to lose anything, and how to write properly about everything you have read.
- you get stuck while writing. Or perhaps that’s not the case, but the writing takes forever, much longer than you wish for. How to progress, how to gather constructive feedback, how do you know your text is okay and how to do what in which order, how to make sure you stop rewriting endlessly?
- you wish for a better relationship with your supervisors: how can you ensure good corporation and communication?
- it is really hard to find a balance between work and private life; do you actually have a private life?
- how aware are you of what is most important to you; how do you look after yourself? And finally, and probably the most important but complex obstacles to overcome: how to stay motivated and inspired?
Yup, obtaining your degree is a complex task
And once you have the feeling you are not on track; chances are big you feel like a loser. Know that you are not at all a loser!
At best you are getting in your own way, like we all do now and then. You can learn how to stop that. To graduate really isn’t a simple task, so it is quite normal that you lose track now and then.
If I might recommend one thing to you…
It actually is a no-brainer: Ask for help! Stop struggling by yourself. Talk with your supervisors, make an appointment with the confidential counselor or the PhD psychologist, talk to someone you really trust or contact an outsider who can really help you look objectively at your situation and consider all the options.
One last thing…
And if I can recommend one last thing: make sure you plan the things in your day-to-day life that make you feel better: have a daily walk, schedule some relax time and social time with the important people in your life. Then weave your PhD around this time frame. Once you feel great you will be so much more successful in your work, be more creative and you will be able to deal better with stressful situations. First you and your happiness, then your PhD!