Finding structure and balance in the daily life of a PhD student
Hello and good day. First, a short self-introduction. I’m a Ph.D. student. I love computer science and do my work and research with a passion. I also enjoy other things and try to find a good balance for my life. In my career, for my part-time jobs, for my hobbies, and other things important to me in my daily life.
I enjoy maximizing my productivity. When people write this, they mean, that they want to finish more work. When I write this, I generally want to finish the same work in less time. This means I’d have more time for other projects, for movies or video games, for my family and friends. I believe that a well-balanced life also results in better work results, especially when your daily work is fairly creative.
Rather than having a daily time-limit (“I will do my research for 9 hours”), my preferred way is going for a daily goal. I think of “I want to finish preparing my experiment for idea X”. Usually, having a goal keeps me motivated. I know what I do per day, I know what I can do per day.
My notes and schedules are very structured, as I usually try to plan ahead. For this, I use GTD-based apps, digitally handwritten notes, and my own approach to paperless handling of documents. I want to know by which dates I can finish certain tasks and how to approach my ideas and thoughts in smaller doable steps.
As a result, by approaching my work in a productive manner, I can usually go through my daily life without panicking about deadlines, without stress, and also be reliable to friends and colleagues.
I want to use this blog to talk about my favorite workflows and things I noticed over time using and refining these workflows. I like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), I like apps and other tools which help me keep my work in structure. Of course, there are hundreds of tools, hundreds of workflows – I know, because I probably already tried hundreds of these apps.
In the end, everybody needs to find his or her own way to approach these things. But I think reading about the way other people work often helps one refining their own way of working. The introduction of different ideas might help other people – I might be inspired by comments. I hope I can reach other people by giving some inspiration to think about their own workflows and how to polish them.
Of course, my own workflow also keeps changing. I switch apps, I switch ways to approach problems and I change my opinion about certain working styles. Everything I publish is status quo. Please do not mind if I publish another post next year claiming the opposite. :-)