PhD is time consuming and demanding almost 100% of the time and energy you have or should I say ” you are left out with”. Endless assays to be done at the laboratory, errors and errors after a successful assay, then the cycle goes on and on. Number of discussion with the supervisor where your talk is on the current topic, what was the last talk… discussions and re-discussions. Progress reports to the “Research and higher degree committee, funding agencies and ethics. Conferences, abstracts, presentations, posters and manuscripts and the list goes on. Reading, entering and analysing data and many more, oh Goodness I’m exhausted. Who decided to have 24 hours a day? how could they think it was enough, right?
With all these does anyone have time left for daily chores at home? or few minutes to be present in the moment and have a cup of hot chocolate? No every minute we are stressed and worried about the assay that didn’t work as expected for few times, or the results that make no sense, or the contaminated reagents. Cut it out. Come out of it while being in it. That is the talent. below are few ways how to balance both the PhD and life successfully.
01. Love your research
Does it sound something un-related to the topic? But it is the first point to learn if you are to balance both without a stress. Loving your research reduces the stress of research. Because you know love is accepting and loving the flaws too. Thus loving your research means, accepting the problems and the flaws and then supporting to solve it together. This will help you to solve the problems better and will reduce the stress. You will not be worried about the problems when you are with your family or while listening to your favourite music or while you travel out for a day.
02. Own your research
This is a big one. Owning your research helps in many aspect for a PhD. When you own you research, it helps you to work in your own way. It also increases your responsibility. The more you own your research, more you succeed. When it is yours you will not let your work to get piled up, will be quick and good in finding ways out for many situations. So does you can find time for your life.
03. Finish your target on time
Always have a plan for the month and week. It does not mean you have to work daily for the same number of hours. Most of the universities provide 24/7 for PhD student. Make use of it. Collect your work and do the maximum you can at one day 0r 36 or even 48 hours at a stretch. Your capacity will increase as you practise this. By these many hours of continues work you would have finish most of your target for the week. So now you can take a day 0r even 36 hours of leave (completely out of lab). Here you go, you got time for your life now.
04. Learn and practice time management
Time management is almost everything. You master the time, then you master many aspects of life. There is nothing called ” I have no time”, but there is always priority. Also give priority to your family, you and your hobby (at least 1). Trust me its gonna make you more productive in your PhD.
05. Be present
Where ever you are, be it the lab, in a lecture, a discussion, progress meeting, with family, or your yoga lesson, or even may be in the cafe with a large cup of your favourite latte – be present at the moment. Live the moment. That fill the life. You will do great in every thing. Do not get lost in thoughts (If you want then allocate 10 minutes for it, and then get the snap out). This habit would help you not to worry about the dinner you missed with your brother last night or the buffer you forgot to sterilise before leaving the lab.
Enjoy the PhD. it can be a battle field or dance floor. Choice is yours. Choose wise and act smart.