Day 26: How do you react when things go wrong in your PhD?

60:60: 60 short videos for PhD students in 60 days
See also
Beyond the obvious
time to think

It’s inevitable that things will go wrong throughout your PhD. How you react when this happens is possibly even more important than how you plan or organize your research.

Do you avoid the problem by checking email, or switch to working on something else to stay busy? Or do you slow down and take some time to think?

Day 0: Stop waiting for conditions to be perfect

A very quick video I made about perfectionism. I’ve been meaning to make short videos for a long time, but I get held back by my own perfectionism. Care in your work is good, but not when it stops you doing anything at all! So today I recorded this, in very not ideal conditions, just …

Read moreDay 0: Stop waiting for conditions to be perfect

How to meet deadlines

One of the problems is that self-imposed deadlines don’t come with consequences. Other than feeling guilty, nothing immediately bad is going to happen if you miss an arbitrary date. But if it keeps happening again and again and again then the guilt and the stress builds and builds and builds, potentially affecting your ability to do the work.

There are ways to create artificial consequences, but I think this misses the point…

A boring but useful blog post about checklists

There’s nothing exciting or groundbreaking in this blog post, and there’s nothing that isn’t obvious. But sometimes the boring stuff is useful.

Often, success or failure comes down to paying attention to small details. Stupid, easy things like remembering to save your data or making sure you don’t skip a step in your preparation, execution or analysis. When the pressure is on and you are doing things in a hurry, it’s all too easy to forget a small but important step in your procedure. This is where checklists come in useful.