Just another PhD student life rant… on time management

For the past couple months I have been struggling with time management.

The time management issues I attribute to overcommitting to a barrage of ‘things’. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that you have a lot of time on your hands when you haven’t had a realistic view of your schedule. Another reason is underestimating the time it would take to complete one task or the other. Then of course, the inevitable or ‘unexpected tasks’ occur, sometimes due to poor planning and other times they are out of your control.

In moving forward I have managed to do most of the following: Remove all unnecessary tasks; say no; and ensure that every activity is entered into my calendar/diary and adhere to my daily ‘to do lists’ among other things. My emails and facebook will only be checked at specific intervals each day. I have also managed to block the feeds that I think are a distraction on facebook. Last but not least I have created a daily schedule and hopefully I can stick to it as close as possible. I have been using these strategies lately and I find them useful to remaining focused on my main goal – i.e. My PhD studies.


I will also attempt to incorporate the following skills:

  • Blocks of study time and breaks
  • Dedicated study spaces
  • Weekly reviews
  • Achieve “stage one”–get something done!
  • Use my free time wisely
  • Postpone unnecessary activities until the work is done!
  • Identify resources to help you
  • Reward my after tasks are completed

These tools should aid in maintaining the above:

Hopefully the above steps would be useful to me and I will complete my draft within the next eight months:)

Thanks for reading, I will keep you posted.


How to avoid writer’s block if you are a lazy writer like me…


I am very lazy when it comes to starting the writing process. The beginning always seems daunting and everything I write seems like gibberish. I backspace for the most part. So, often times I remain with this blank canvas for weeks on end and then I end up rushing to get something substantial when time is now against me.

The truth is I sometimes hide under my blankets, in the hopes that my writing tasks would go away. Low and behold when I remove the blanket the tasks are still there. Go figure!

When it comes to blogs… I often feel like ‘what’s the point in writing them when so many other people have said much of the same?’ ‘What makes my writing so unique that someone else will read it?’ There is always that negative voice as well asking ‘who cares about your opinion?’.


I wonder why, when I’m facing my writing struggles, I never remember that all of my best written pieces began with that blank canvas and in order for it to get to that very polished stage I would have been through that ‘writing, deleting, editing, removing, and amending’ phase. Why can’t I ever remember that writing is a process?

But that is not only what writing is about… Writing in this context also encourages the exchange of information using a platform and in so doing some one else may support/comment/agree/disagree on the points that you have raised. This is important in today’s society. I was also happy that I stumbled upon this article that talks about what makes writing so important. Here are the main points:

  • Writing is the primary basis upon which your work, your learning, and your intellect will be judged—in college, in the workplace, and in the community.
  • Writing expresses who you are as a person.
  • Writing is portable and permanent. It makes your thinking visible.
  • Writing helps you move easily among facts, inferences, and opinions without getting confused—and without confusing your reader.
  • Writing promotes your ability to pose worthwhile questions.
  • Writing fosters your ability to explain a complex position to readers, and to yourself.
  • Writing helps others give you feedback.
  • Writing helps you refine your ideas when you give others feedback.
  • Writing requires that you anticipate your readers’ needs. Your ability to do so demonstrates your intellectual flexibility and maturity.
  • Writing ideas down preserves them so that you can reflect upon them later.
  • Writing out your ideas permits you to evaluate the adequacy of your argument.
  • Writing stimulates you to extend a line of thought beyond your first impressions or gut responses.
  • Writing helps you understand how truth is established in a given discipline.
  • Writing equips you with the communication and thinking skills you need to participate effectively in democracy.
  • Writing is an essential job skill.


 Source: Marquette University 2011~based upon brochures from Brown University and the University of Missouri

So, no more excuses, time to ‘man up’ and face my daily writing challenges. This means the way I think about writing has to be transformed. It also means that I must create a strategy to combat my writing tasks as they come.

I plan to do the following in the hopes of improving my writing and overcoming writer’s block:

  • Do freewriting 
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Write early in the morning
  • Write while you sleep
  • Implement a writing schedule
  • Set deadlines and keep them