Time management – it has always been a big problem for me. I’ve always wanted to do so many things, and there was never enough time for everything. They say that doing your PhD is the time when you can totally and completely devote yourself to the study of one particular area becoming a real expert in the field. I wonder how many PhD students actually devote 100% of their time to their research project. It is certainly not my case.
I have recently drawn a map of all the activities I am currently involved in (apart 35 hours of my PhD work). Here is the result:
- Involved in designing workshops on intercultural communication for GCU students. It is a joint project between the Graduate School, Organisational Development Department and Business School of the University.
- I am currently a Research Student Convenor, and represent research students’ views at the Graduate School Board.
- Helping Graduate School to redesign their website and improve the communication with research students and staff.
- I am the president of the Research Students Society which is aimed at creating a vibrant research community with lots of social events
- Volunteering for the GCU student association I am involved in the project of setting up a Postgraduate Students Committee at the university
- I am coordinating the Scottish Researcher Career Coordination Forum which involves reps from the Scottish Universities, Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council who try to identify ways in which these bodies could work together to support the career development of researchers within Scotland.
- I try to attend lots of training and development activities including conferences, workshops and networking events.
- And also I am guilty with spending some of my time on sleep and meals (perhaps I should cut down on this 🙂
- Forgot to mention… wasting my time on Twitter, Facebook etc…
I am absolutely enjoying all of these things but there are certainly several major problems in my approach to time management:
- No focus, try to do too many activities with success in most of them apart from my PhD project
- Can’t set the priorities. I spend 70% of my time on other ‘useful’ activities, and 30% on my PhD
- Easily distracted from work
- Can’t say NO when people ask for help
- Can’t stick to the plan. E-diaries, reminders don’t help
- Can’t keep promises to myself, and it’s getting worse since I can’t keep promises to my supervisors either
- Leave everything till the last minute, and then driven by stress and pressure trying to finish it off on time.
On a more positive note, I believe that I do many things that contribute to the development of my employability skills. I have learnt so much within the past 8 months. But at the end of the day I will probably need a title Dr to be successfully employed))) So trying to work towards it slowly but surely?:)
What is your approach to successful time management? Any useful advice to share?