“Keep diary of thoughts, inspirations, insecurities during working day.
Express them daily”
(a PhD war advice 🙂 )
One of the strategies I deploy for being daily productive is to write down my distractions, my thoughts, and feelings about writing and working.
I have a small notepad in which I write my feelings, fears or thoughts about my procrastination or whatever crosses my mind. I start keeping this ‘working diary’ one week ago and it seems that it is helping me!
The purpose of keeping a working diary is that by writing down (and thus expressing) any feelings or thoughts that affect my writing. Expressing my thoughts helps me to face and realize my insecurities. Realizing these feelings enable me to manage them and don’t allow them to control my work. 🙂
These are my notes from last week:
# Forget that you have emails, friends, blog, news reading, etc. Think that you are on an airplane or somewhere that there is nothing else except yourself and your work. Focus in your work and forget everything else. You will arrive in your destination and only then you will see/talk/chat with your friends after X hours of working.
# Focus on what you must be doing (e.g. write about identity), not on other things you want to do (read about diversity).
# Get to your goal of working 3 hours from 8:30 until lunch (12:00) daily.
# At the end of each day evaluate what I have done (tasks completed, how many hours I worked) and adjust the working plan of next days if necessary.
# Do not let fear keep you back. Fear is blocking my productivity and creativity.
# Find ways to manage the stress and anxiety that comes from the fact that I have to write about concepts that I don’t feel that are clear inside me.
For example, try saying:
“You are writing a draft, not the final thing. Nobody expects to be perfect. Just write. At least try to write and don’t give up”
“In the past, you were also struggling when you were analyzing your data, but still you did it!”
“Do not think that you are writing a section for your thesis. Think that you are speaking with a friend and you are expressing your thoughts. Free-write! Don’t try to use quotations from others or relate your opinion with others. Just write in your own words.”
# In order to accomplish my goal of working 5 hours concentrated, I have to work 2,5-3 hours until lunch. After lunch I only have to work other 2,5 – 3 hours and I’m done!
But this requires:
- Start working at 8:30p.m. That means that I have to be in the office at 8-8:10 and so I have to get up at 7.
- Do not skip the 5’ break every 25’ (pomodoro). I become tired if I don’t do these breaks. Just make sure the break will only be 5’ not 15’.
- During breaks check what time is it, and how many pomodoro sessions I have accomplished. It is very easy to loose the sense of time.
- When checking mail/news/blogs always use a timer so that I keep sense of time. I check my mail thinking “it will only take 2 minutes” but with the timer I realize that I rather lost 10’-15’ (not such a “small break” after all.
Do you have any feelings or thoughts that affect your writing, your study, your work?
How do you plan to manage them?
What is your strategy? Looking forward to hear your tips!