Facing the problem in front of you

By James Hayton,
February 26, 2019
James Hayton is a former physicist, PhD coach and author of "PhD: An uncommon guide"
Since 2010, he's coached hundreds of individual PhD students and now offers
group support and online courses

In doing something that nobody has done before, using techniques you're still learning, it's inevitable that you'll face problems.

But there are different ways you can respond to these problems when they arise.

The first is avoidance. You can avoid the problem by procrastinating, or you can avoid it by working on something else. If you switch to working on something else when you face a problem (in research or writing), you'll keep yourself busy but you won't be effective. Ultimately, you'll end up far more stressed because you're working and working but not solving anything.

The alternative is to face the problem head on. Put all other work to one side, engage and take the time to figure it out.

It's uncomfortable, but it's when problems arise that you need to be at your most engaged. The more difficult the problem, the more engaged you need to be.

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