Today I helped facilitate a workshop on how to manage your PhD, something I've attended at least twice if not three times in different roles. This time i was facilitating but as a result of my work with the Institute of Academic Development.
It was a bit like taking a huge leap back in time and thinking about the expectations and the goals I set myself when I first started my PhD. According to the "hours formuala" there are 168 hours in the week, we spend 100 of them doing things like sleeping, eating, walking the dog and all the day to day tasks we do to be able to live. The other 68 hours gets split into two - 34 hours for work and 34 hours for play. Now when you calculate the hours it basically comes down to Mon-Fri 9-5 working with an hour for lunch and time for a break - so a bit like a normal working day.
But then you add in barriers, working, tutoring, facebook, email, blogs, meetings, office hours etc and these all eat into your time. So how much time do we actually spend working on our PhDs - well the conclusion is a lot less than we probably should. Then it got onto managing your supervisor - in all honesty I put the handbook in the bin about 20 seconds after I was given it. I came to the conclusion that the best way to manage my supervisor was actually to get to know them, be able to say no (which admittedly I struggle with) and not be scared to ask for help.
Everything discussed, I was familiar with - but then I realised that I actually don't really follow my own top tip to keep my bibliographic software updated, I'm not very good at giving myself a break and I'm terrible at turning off my emails and ignoring them. - So actually going back to the beginning in a way, has made me reassess where I am in the middle of my PhD and the expectations I have of myself and of other people.
So I'm writing a list of all the non-urgent tasks that I have to do before the end of February and I am going to work through them, starting with updating Mendeley....