After returning from my Homeland Holidays at the end of August, I had great hopes for a spectacular September for my PhD. Only I got sick that first week and spent the whole of the month recovering from my visit to my deathbed. Sadly, that less-than-spectacular September means that I need to have an overly ambitious October to catch up.
I am at the point in my studies where my PhD work is all about writing my thesis. And I need to get it written soon. Like now. Like yesterday, really. But there are reasons why I am still writing, so I am trying not to let it upset me too much.
My overall aim is to have 50,000 “ready words” written by the end of the month. By ready words, I mean words that are written as chapters that are ready for my supervisors’ review. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are words that are ready for my thesis, but they are words that are ready to get ready for my thesis submission. Most of those 50,000 words will be my findings chapters (four chapters, 24,000-word estimate), methods chapter (10,000), and literature review chapter (20,000).
In addition to my thesis, I will be working on a visual presentation for a conference at the end of the month and I am teaching a class of 4th-year students, too. Oh! And I’ll have to start looking into job applications soon.
But life is not all about my PhD (Haha!) so I am also setting out some ambitious goals for my personal life. Though I admit that my succeeding in them, I will have more time and energy in my days to achieve my PhD goals for the month.
My personal aims are to get a minimum of 7,500 steps a day, run at least three 5Ks per week, and to be out of bed by 6.30 am. The first one seems easy—and should be easy—by because I will be putting in a lot of extra hours at my desk, it will be hard to manage. But I have an inactivity alarm on my gadget watch so I am hoping that helps.
The second goal is going to be a bit harder. It will rely on me actually getting out of bed and running before I go to the office. And that will be dependent on the weather to some extent. There are also safety issues to consider as I live quite rural and the roads aren’t the safest for running on in the dark. I will be trying to map out some safer routes around the area that will allow me to run on wider, better-lit sections of the estate.
The waking up early bit is easy enough, thanks to my new kidney medication. The getting out of bed is a bit harder though. However, I am trying to keep my phone on the far side of the room so that I can’t check Facebook or emails from bed. It also means I actually have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm. It will be a hard adjustment, but I’ll manage it.
This all means that October is going to be a bit crazy. And I will have to work every day to make it all happen. However, I have not had a full day off since 30 August. And several of my September days were late nights in the office. And I can’t keep going at that rate and still survive!
That said, I do plan to work every single day in October. Some of those days will be 12-hours long. And at times, I might have to do two or three 12-hour days in a row. But on the weekends, I will aim for shorter days. No more than eight hours on a Saturday and no more than five on a Sunday.
I know I risk burning out, but I am feeling quite confident right now. And confidence means motivation. And I am going to ride that motivation wave for as long as I can!
But don’t worry: I am also working to incorporate a bit of relaxation into each day. Lately, that has been colouring in a Doctor Who colouring book my eldest sister, Veronica, gave me. I also have a strict 9pm stop time so that I have an hour before bed to unwind and get ready for the next day.
Getting ready for the next day includes setting out an outfit to wear, setting up my morning coffee, and making my lunch. I find that if I don’t have to think about what to wear, or worry about rushing around making my coffee and lunch, I am more willing to actually get out of bed. I think it’s because I don’t have to make any decisions which I don’t like to do before I have my coffee!
Anyhow, welcome to my ambitious October! It’s going to be mental, but I will survive it. Feel free to provide a bit of encouragement and motivation to keep me going!