A Colourful Balancing Act

I’ve actually had a really good week. This might be the first time I’ve said that on this blog. I really feel like something’s clicked. This week I’ve written about 2,500 words and finished colour-coding my N-Z folder. I’m going to start on the larger A-M one today.

This week started pretty slowly – I was determined to achieve something so I opened one of my favourite thesis books and started writing bullet-points about the sections I’d post-it noted as important. The first day I naively wanted to write 2000 words, because if nothing else I’m blithely optimistic about my ability to sit still and concentrate. I think I clocked about 400 words that day. The next day I decided to use the pomodoro method, which I first spoke about here, in which you work solidly and without distraction for a timed 25 minutes, and then have a five minute break. It always works for me, I don’t know why I keep forgetting that. I think it’s out of some weird belief that I shouldn’t need to use it. I used to be able to sit and research for hours at a time and be perfectly happy; I don’t know when that changed.

After that first day I decided that a 500 word a day target was slightly more realistic. It was, and on my writing days I managed to achieve or surpass it, which made me feel a bit more confident. On non-writing days, I’ve been colour-coding. I very briefly started it just after I’d alphabetised my folders, and then promptly ignored it in favour of doing literally anything else. This week, with my shiny new pills and motivation, I blasted through the smaller of the two folders and have really gotten into the swing of it. A few weeks ago I settled on some likely chapter headings, I’ve assigned each chapter a colour and now I’m reading through all of my notes and post-it-ing according to theme. I’m hoping it’ll make my writing a lot faster, as I can just flick through my notes really quickly and find the most pertinent information. I’m wishing I’d been this organised from the start, but it took me ages to narrow in on what my chapters were going to be.

This week I also made myself a standing-desk:

It’s so much better for my back and it’s less depressing than being forced to sit hunched over for hours at a time. I bought an inflatable balance pad online – it means that you constantly readjust your posture, which is good for all of your muscles and spine. I think that’s had something to do with my positivity this week; it’s kind of fun wiggling around while you’re working.

Non-work-wise, on I spent a few hours getting stabbed with needles. But who can begrudge that when you end up with something as beautiful as this?

I’m determined to keep the motivation up this week too. I finally feel as though I’m getting somewhere.

A Realm Beyond Procrastination

Throughout the week I make a note of what I’ve achieved, partially to help motivate me and partially so I remember what to write about on here. This is what I have for this week:

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It's going well… #phd #thesis

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Since writing my last post and until yesterday morning, I did nothing. I have no conception of where that time went. I didn’t chain-watch TV programmes, which is something I sometimes loose a week to; I didn’t read a new novel, I didn’t get on a train and visit friends. I have no idea what happened. I’m going to assume it involved twitter and staring moodily at the Judith Butler book I needed to read.

What I did do, once, however, was go to the gym. Like I said I would in my last post. There was a small incident in which I went blind for about five minutes and had to sit on the floor. I didn’t think much of it, I assumed it was my asthma or my blood pressure or something playing up and made my way home. It turns out, if you tell your parents on the phone later that night that you went blind, and ha ha, how embarrassing, they’ll freak out and demand that you go to the doctor. It turns out, if you rock up to the doctor the next day and tell him what happened he’ll stare at you wide-eyed and ask why you didn’t go immediately to A&E. Then he’ll check you for a stroke and heart defects and ultimately decide that it was probably your blood pressure or a migraine. It’s fine. I’ll know better next time.

As I was up so disgustingly early see the doctor yesterday I managed to get quite a lot of reading done. I blasted through half of Butler’s Undoing Gender (bearing in mind it once took me a week to read the intro) and typed up the most pertinent quotes. I got up at the same time this morning, went for a lovely walk in the sun, THE SUN, and now I’m on the last couple of chapters. I haven’t written anything though. I need to bash out some words over the next few days and send them to my supervisors on Thursday.

Something else I discovered yesterday was another handy little app (I mentioned a couple that I use in one of my previous posts). It’s called ‘Pomodrone’, which is a timer for the ‘pomodoro technique‘ in which you work solidly and without distraction for 25 minutes and then have a 5 minute break to rabidly check your social media, if you’re anything like me. The app keeps track of how many ‘pomodori’ you’ve done so you can tell how long you’ve actually been properly working that day. It’s helped keep me focussed and also to realise how easily distracted I am: ‘oh, I’ll just quickly respond to this text’, ‘I’ll just check facebook/twitter/tumblr/instagram’, ‘I wonder how much that book is on amazon?’, ‘I should look up some motivational pins on pinterest to help get me in the studying mood’. I didn’t realise how much time these things actually take up during my working hours. So, yes, pomodoro – very effective. Now I just need to take the appropriate 5 minute breaks between sessions rather than the twenty minutes I’m actually taking.

This week’s word count: 0
Gym sessions: one half.