This has truly been a week of procrastination. In spite of my new alarm app, I’ve achieved less than I have since I returned from Christmas. I think it’s partly due to the fact that I handed in my chapter plans and could therefore justify doing very little because I’m not sure what plan I’ll be using until I hear back from my supervisors. There’s totally stuff I could be doing, but there’s no deadline. Lots of the advice I’ve read says you should set yourself strict deadlines – but what I need is for them to be enforced. If I’m not held accountable, if I can wiggle my way out of something, I absolutely will and then justify it by saying that I work best under pressure at last minute anyway.

No, Emma. No.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate what a PhD is. It’s 80,000 words. 80,000 of the best and most original words you’ve ever written. If I wrote a thousand words a day five days a week (which I won’t) I still wouldn’t be finished until June. This isn’t a 3,000 word essay that I can bash out in a week after work like the good old days of my MA. If I write a thousand words a week (which I might) it’ll take me 18 months, which is September 2016, giving me eight months to edit and faff. It probably still won’t happen – but it’s more possible. From here on out I will post my weekly word count at the end of my blog.

Procrastination and motivation are probably the two most bandied about key phrases relating to a PhD. Deadlines are probably the answer to both. My supervisors set the occasional deadline, but they’re not furnished with the time it would take to stand over my shoulder and make sure I’m cracking on every week without fail. that’s something I should be able to do myself at this point. But nope. What I might start doing is paying my mates a fiver every week that I don’t complete my thousand words.

I think another key thing I need to do is work outside of my house. I’ve got a cushy office area set up in the corner of my bedroom with books and motivational post-its abound, but I still find it really easy to get distracted. I could go and work in the dedicated space on campus, but it’s in a basement and a tad dreary, think Xander’s bedroom in season four of Buffy. There’s the library, but it’s a bit of a trek when I have to carry my books and laptop. I could go to cafes and bars closer by, but then I’ll end up spending extra money. Or I could just stop making excuses AND JUST DO MY BLOODY WORK.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

This week’s word count: 0 words.


5 thoughts on “Procrastination

  1. Utmost sympathy here! The home office is so cozy, why move from it? After all, I have gotten good work done here in the past. Very much like your idea of maintaining a word count on the blog — sounds like a decent means of staying accountable. Best of luck!


    1. Because at home I can distract myself with cleaning or organising something, haha. I think once I’m in the swing of things it’ll be easier. How do you stay focused at home? Any tips? 🙂


      1. Mmm… The focus seems to arise naturally when I’m feeling positive about my work. In a bad mood, all goes to hell. Drinking lots of tea and shutting off my phone certainly helps, as does going for the occasional run.


  2. I found creating a NEW space (ie a new room, in which I ONLY do thesis-oriented work) really helpful for getting motivated. When I had my laptop set up on the kitchen table, all I did was waste time on Facebook and follow click-bait. That’s because that’s what I always do when I’m on my computer at the kitchen table! So I physically created a new space – set up my desk, only went there when doing PhD work, and had all my books etc nearby – and it actually worked really well.

    Now I’m back on campus. I have my own office and everything! Are you in a position where, if you show your face enough in the office you’ll eventually get into your own space? I had access to a Xander basement space too, with a bunch of other first year PhDs. Then, when I got moved to a smaller shared office (6 people) I found it more effective to work at home, and now – ta-dah! My very own slice of paper-thin walls and people gossiping in the corridoor 😉

    Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve set up an office corner in my room, which seems to work…when I’m motivated. Haha.
      There’s barely enough space on my campus for the teaching staff, let alone us PhD gremlins. They’re building a new block though, which will probably have office space available. No idea when that’ll be finished however.
      Thanks for the encouragement and advice 🙂


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