Well, my current strategy for not failing to work on my PhD is to just physically be on campus at my desk more often. As strategies go, at least it’s simple. I have a desk in a shared doctoral student space in the city campus of my University. It has what I call “river glimpses,” and gives me a nice spot to sit and procrastinate in new and exciting ways. Today I’m procrastinating by writing this blog, but I will (probably) update my Endnote citations next, and send some emails about my ethical clearance (epic) application later. Which I probably wouldn’t do from home.
I work fine at home if I’m doing a set thing, like writing a paper. I don’t do the other work very well, like reading or setting up meetings, or just thinking and organising it all. Being present. If I know what I need to do next, I can sit and write anywhere. If it’s a bit hard, or not quite there, or the next step isn’t obvious, I’ll do almost anything to avoid engaging with the work at the moment. Being on campus makes that harder, which is why I’m here, writing this, and thinking about maybe engaging with the work any minute now… I promise…
Well, I see through the harsh reality of post dating that it has been nearly a year since I wrote here. This partially reflects the state of my PhD, I say partially as I did get through my confirmation of candidature, which is kind of a big milestone, in April this year. Since then, though, other than some refiling, a VERY small bit of reading, and a lot of flailing around, I have not made solid progress on the beast at all.
I did get through D’s NDIS intake and planning though, and with awesome results. That popped up in July, and I did a LOT of prep for it, including a 30 page document we submitted to her planner. I prepped for Review, basically, and told them so. We had a good planner, and got a good plan. Since then, we’ve been supported in ways we had only dreamed about before NDIS, we’ve had three weeks of full time carer support, every day!!! They change and shower her, and give her breakfast. It’s both awesome and difficult to relinquish that level of involvement in a child’s life (she’s 19 for those playing at home).
So there’s that. And given my topic, I’m counting the whole process as research. It’s been eye opening and I’ll be writing more as I warm up here again.
So, onwards, next my ethical clearance, which I’ll write more on soon.
I stole this slogan unashamedly from Happier in Hollywood, a fun podcast about life and work. Their motto as writers in Hollywood is “It’s a fun job, and we enjoy it!” It sums up a feeling I often have that doing PhD is an amazing privilege. Sure, it’s a privilege that I actively despise a lot lately, but I should probably be more focussed on the good side not the dark side. So in an effort at procrastinating positively, I made myself a happy squirrel reminder. Seriously, a PhD is a great thing to be doing. I’m so lucky to be able to give three years to a project this way (and not have to have higher paid work), I’ve got great hours so that I can be a stay at home parent (something super important to our family), I’m very interested in my topic, and I love “thinking about things” as my job. If I could choose any job in the world and describe it, it would be a professional “thinker about things.”
It doesn’t help to actively remind myself of this most days of the week…