Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

My PhD Journey

Hello all,

rather than post each day in the daily check in thread I thought I would start one here for myself as most of what I need to do in a day is related to my phd.

Today I would like to

i) work out search criteria for articles

ii)  search for them - this is going to take a day or two..which is fine..just need to stay on it. 

iii) Work out some sort of system for archiving articles (any tips from current / former phd'ers much appreciated)

I don't know how long these will take and and am not putting a time on them. I am going to use my little timer and work in 30 min blocks and see what happens. I will check in later. Any comments much appreciated.

I'm starting at 09.40 gmt. Stopped for lunch at 11.48 having done 3 x 30 min blocks.

12.50gmt back on it.  It is now 14.45. Have managed to do another 3 x 30 min blocks. Am starting to get a bit fussy with myself now..I keep wanting to do over what I have done as I don't think that it is good worring that my searching hasn't been good enough...need to remind myself that it doesn't need to be perfect and is not an exact science! I don't want to stop working but don't want to time binge so am forcing myself too. I want to get into the habit of working in the evening so hopefully will do some more tonight.

Managed to start again at 1700 and get 3 x 30 min blocks in. Total for today is 4.5 hours which I am very happy with.

I do have feelings of guilt / very annoyed with myself that "i didn't do this 5 weeks ago and that I could have got so much more done if I had" -

So im back on it or at

So im back on it or at least trying a starter today I would like to sort out my papers that have become a pile on the floor or my home's a start

Also - plan job applications

       - call lettings agent about house let for september

      - have a look at youtube for some clips of stretches for the gym

Saturday 5th Jan

Load of negative thoughts and fear about starting to plan out the writing and then do the writing by Wedesday, a nominal deadline.  I was quite happy going through the reading starting a couple of weeks ago but now the deadline is near and I am creating something rather than just reading I have a strong resistance to it and fear that it will be bad - some of this is due to a lack of understanding of what I am meant to produce and a lack of support from supervisors etc so I shouldn't beat myself up but I do feel responsible.

Doing something is better than doing nothing so here goes....

In terms of rough planning I need to - 

go through my notes to distill the essential elements that I will need to fit in later in the process

read through 3 documents that others have produced to try to figure out what is expected.

Look at the checklist provided by the faculty 

Look at the recomendations made by the faculty in the past.

When I have an idea of what the general content and order should be to fit my topic into those content areas.

At some point I am going to have to look at the methodology part which is something I struggle with so am putting it off of course.

Its 11.10am and I am starting...working in 30 min blocks and see where I end up.

Stopping now at 18.36 having done 9 x 30 min blocks = 4.5 hours. 

I feel like I haven't acheived anything although I have I guess...still haven't sorted the dreaded methodology which is freaking me out slightly. Guess I need to learn to ask for help when I need it and not feel that I can't in case I look stupid.

Tomorrow I need to bite the bullet and start frightened not of it but of the feelings I will experience. not looking forward to it and need to be careful not to rush it to get it done and the relief I will feel. I need to do it right.

sorry posted wrong place

Sorry for cluttering up your PhD journey page. Best of luck macphd, you seem to be making great progress!

No problem at all. Thank you

No problem at all. Thank you very much Smile

Friday 4th January

I have a deadline next Wednesday and as sometimes happens I feel like I am in a black hole..all I can think about it the work to do for it.....I can't think about or enjoy anything else stomach in knots etc. The idea of going out to the gym or the shops doesn't seem enjoyable. It's a pity that this happens as it makes what I need to do so not fun and even harder to do. I think that it is because I have planned out what I have to do and I know that the next / final few days on it are writing and not reading..I have this belief that as I am writing now that I don't have enough time ability to gauge how long something will take is so bad. But if i knew something would take one day and I gave myself 5 days to do it I would feel better than if I gave myself two. The old enemy "perfectionism" is belief that I has to be great by Wednesday and that Im not good enough is what is making it hard....must overcome negative thoughts..

I would like to finish off the article reading today...but at the end of the day all I can do is work in blocks and see what I can do...other than be mindful of not letting the work expand to fill the day it takes as long as it takes..


starting 11.35 managed 3 x 30 min blocks by 13.40...had a break for lunch now back on it..

starting at 14.15   - finished for today at 18.45 have managed to do another 7 x 30 min blocks = 3.5 hours

Total for today is 5 hours.

Im happy with that but....


Am dreading tomorrow when I start to write...I have negative thoughts that I have really been doing anything yet and that the writing is the actual work and that I only have 4 days to do it in and should have started earlier etc. Am hoping that I don't feel too much dread tomorrow and it's not too miserable to do some work.  Feeling that it has to be perfect that I will submit it and people will think that I am stupid..that it's all wrong.


Thursday 3rd Jan

Feeling a bit scared today for some reason and didn't want to get out of bed to work..maybe after yesterday large amount of work I am having some resistance to sitting in my office all day. The pressure of a deadline isn't helping. Just keep trying to tell myself that something is better than nothing, forget all the negative thoughts and do something

11.35 and I am starting - need to continue going throught articles..taking me ages and I feel I need to move on to something else to feel like I am making progress.

could it be that you feel

could it be that you feel the pressure to beat your record of yesterday, and the negative thoughts will be on your case if you dont? it's so common to lag behind the day after having a productive day. so how bout planning for that? tell yourself that you made such amazing progress yesterday, that even if you just "touch" it today, that would be enough. you can't expect yourself to have such fabulously productive days all the time. but if you accept that and plan for that, and make a smaller accessible goal, you never know how much you could accomplish.

I think that you right with

I think that you are so right with that to be honest. I felt the pressure as soon as I got up. I should be thankful that I had a great day yesterday and just see what I can get done today. After all yesterday should be a positive and not used as a stick to beat myself with.

I started at 11.35 this am and manage to do 3 x 30 min blocks = 90 mins before having to go to see my grandfather to fix his cable tv box up.

Im back now and starting at 17.20 will try to get a few more blocks done Smile


Got another 2 x 30 min blocks done today so that is 2.5 hours in total.

Wednesday 2nd January 2013

After having a long time off over Christmas etc I have got back on it..I should have started again this time last week but used the holidays as an excuse..oh well Im going to try not to beat myself up over it...

 I started at 10.45 today and working in 30min blocks with breaks managed 10 x 30 mins which is 5 hours...Im happy with that but still wonder if I am doing enough

hey mac, 5 hours is

hey mac, 5 hours is absolutely amazing!!!!! you have to pat yourself on the back every time. when you hear the negative thoughts in your head, dont just repress it. you have to have a comeback to those thoughts, as to why they are not valid. and i'm totally talking to myself as well.

Thank you very much for

Thank you very much for your kind words. It is very much appreciated. You are so right about negative thoughts Laughing The main negative thoughts for today have been that I am not working on the right thing..that it is all a waste of time....It's not really though and things don't have to be perfect..if I am wrong who cares...I have done a lot and it will count for something.


After I had stopped work and wrote that post I had a bath and had dinner but as sometimes happens I kept thinking I should do more....a little voice in my head.."go on do a bit more" contasted with another voice saying "no you have to relax you have done well" with "another voice say "no that is just an excuse to not do more work" etc.


So I did another 45 mins..just finished now but I fear that it was a type of binging....I get obsessed sometimes when I am working that I need to do more and I can't relax or think about anything else. It kind of has the same effect that time binging can have in that it has put me off wanting to start something as I know I will become obsessed and not switch off.

 On the positive side I did do another 45 mins. I need to learn to accept that stopping and switching off is also important.  Im going to put this down to being tired and fussy...I have had a really productive day..the best I can remember in a long while. 

Mac, you rock!!

here's to another productive day!!

December 20th 2012

Managed to do 9 x 30 min blocks so 4.5 hours which is okay....

 Interesting thing is where all the time goes in the day...I started at 8.30am this morning and by 12.30 had done 2 hours yet for the rest of the afternoon until now I have only done another 2 hours...I have had a few errands to run and went to grandparents for dinner but it is interesting how time can slide away from you.

December 19th 2012

One of the things I struggle with after having a good day like yesterday is following it up with another good day...fingers crossed.

I have around 100 articles that I need to go through..some won't be relevant but a lot will. I'm a bit overwhelmed by it but I am going to take one article at a time and work in 30 min blocks

started 09.20 gm 

hasn't gone so well.. ive got overwhelmed / frustrated at how long it takes to read etc..have been unrealistic about how long stuff will take. got 20 mins in and gave just making excuses not to do it tomorrow etc. I have feeling that I am not doing the right thing / am doing it wrong that I am trying to make work for myself and that I should be doing things in a different way..which I often do when faced with a big task..i pretend that it actually shouldn't be this hard / big and that I am making it up. this makes it sooo hard to sit down and do it as it's hard to commit to i.


It's not 14.15...have managed to get 4 x 30 min blocks done so now am having a break for a few hours...i always worry about having a break that I won't want to come back..guess that why I sometimes time binge..frightened that if i stop i won't start again.

Managed to do another 3 x 30 min blocks this evening meaning 3.5 hours today....I guess I should feel happy with that but I just feel frustrated that I have "only" managed to do 3.5 hours all day...feel like I should put in 10 hours tomorrow to make up for it - completely counter productive of course.