Another lost 2 months
I managed to keep a daily check of what I was doing via the special projects list - "my phd journey". I was doing well and had a deadline in early February that I was working towards. As the deadline approached I lost a bit of discipline, stopped logging in on a daily basis and returned to my old habit of time binging. I met the deadline and past the committee that I needed to. It wasn't a particularly comfortable time and I wish I had not been so hard on myself but it did pass.
Then what happened was a familiar cycle. As I didn't have a hard deadline to work to in March and April I took my foot off the gas and didn't do anything. Very frustrating. Think how much I could have got done but didn't. Of course now I am beating myself up about that. In my head I'm thinking can I work and study? I mean I need all the time to study right ? so I can't work. I could have worked this past 2 months as looking back I didn't study at all. When I don't have a deadline or some sort of structure I quickly spin out of the habit of working and then the viscious cycle starts again and it is so hard to get back to working without the guilt...the regret..the annoyance at myself for wasting all that time.
I'm now at that part of the cycle were I am trying to start to study again but have that old voice of "why didn't you do this months ago? you are behind now..think how hard you have to work how much you have to do to catch up....
One postitive is that at least I have done this before and started and worked quite well as my master list suggests..getting the that point again is soo hard and I get so annoyed with myself that I let this happen....it is easier to keep going than to stop and start again.
I am thinkin that the best thing to do is to look at this studying..this work in terms of time..and to work in chunks of time again rather than X needs to be done or Y completed. As ever any thoughts are very much appreciated.
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Thank you all for your
Thank you all for your replies they are very much appreciated.
I think that in order to move forward I need to cope with / overcome two main hurdles -
The first is the bitterness I feel at not having started sooner and not having done much for the last couple of months...getting over that feeling of regret and disappointment in myself is hard but it is obviously a viscious circle where nothing will get done unless i can overcome this in some way
The second is to break the emotional link between what I do and who I am..I have this feeling that whatever I do, be it work or my phd it defines who I am and thus a lot of pressure is put on myself, by myself meaning that everything has to be perfect or right first time so that I can make up for the lost time i have wasted.
I expect to be very good very quickly or for things to take a lot less time than they realistically will, hence I always dread doing them as I think that I am bad and they are taking too long.
I need to start looking at work or the things I do as blocks of time again rather than a piece of work.
i am also trying to write a thesis and can relate to everything you mention in this post. just two weeks ago i wrote in my journal about having had a very uplifting discussion with my supervisor (i had dreaded the conversation) but then failing to channel all that good energy into my work. instead i gave myself the day off to celebrate (...) and only came out of the rabbit hole two weeks later (prompted by another deadline).
i am not really in a position to give advice but i do think that planning is key. ideally i should have some "light" task planned for right after one of those big events. just as i try to have things planned for pomodoro breaks. just to break the habit of working frantically before some dreaded deadline and then do nothing for days, weeks, months...
Nodding in recognition and agreement
You hit the proverbial nail on its blasted head with this post, macphd. This bit was especially relevant to my experiences with procrastination:
At one point, that sounded like the voice of reason to me. Reading your post, I've begun to suspect that that voice is actually trying to get me to feel so overwhelmed that I will give up and resume procrastinating.
For example, before I start a task, my inner critic's voice tells me how hard/unpleasant/whatever the task is going to be. When I return to a task after a break from actually getting some work done, the inner critic starts attacking me and my approach to dealing with the task. I suspect that the lizard-brained inner critic (LBIC) is just trying to "protect" me from hard/unpleasant/scary tasks. I just wish it would clue in to how dangerous it is to avoid the tasks in question. If LBIC were a bit more clever, it would be trying harder to get me to avoid procrastinating!
Thanks for your insightful post, macphd. Congrats on all of your accomplishments!
Thank you for your share. I so argree with your comment."it is easier to keep going than to stop and start again"(that is why I keep showing up, I am afraid I will stop for months or never come back)
In all areas of my life, the truth for me is the "consistency/maintainance" thinking/practise was cornerstone of sanity. I use this site to "show up" and connect because it is the only reliable method of coonsistent accountability for me, and for this,I am responsible.
I am so familiar with the part of cycle thinking you mentioned.I try to talk back to my thoughts and say, this may be true but today is the only day I can do anything about it. 1. break it down 2. do what you can 3. use tools that work 3. acceptance (you don;t have to like it) 4. you are no longer alone and your esh is proof that tools here do work
We need you keep coming back.Solidarity.
I so relate to this and am nodding head alot reading your post! Me too especiallhy being annoyed when I stop and get off track and then its a few months later. Thing is we can just deal with today- and i keep telling myself start with five minutes , tiny timy steps . Also that anything down on paper is great and that the perfectionist in me can step to da side!! Doesnt have to be perfect - my something on paper five minutes at a time is is more than good enough. Sigh!!! because it seems so simple writing it and so hard to do but here goes!!hellofiveminutessessionthatismorethangoodenough!!!
Let's get back on the wagon
You and me both Mac. I have gone well off piste in the last weeks. And now that the time has passed it is even less attractive than ever to look into my files because then I feel so bad about the time wasted and the things not done.
Well done on passing the requirements of the thesis committee! And it is great that you are getting back on track with study.
Perhaps we should make a commitment here to do at least ONE 25 min session of the project each weekday. Perhaps that will help get us started. Something is better than nothing, as i keep telling myself. I hope I will one day become convinced.
I do feel that once I get
I do feel that once I get over my issues and actually start working that I will pick up momentum and those feeling of bitterness etc will subdue. Easier said than done but I is now getting to the point that doing something has to be better than doing nothing..perfect or not.