PhD students: When was the last time you took a day off?

If you have to think hard to remember your last day off, you probably need one.

It’s not always easy to take a day off, especially when the pressure is on, but it’s when you feel like you can’t afford to rest that you may need it the most.

When you work beyond the point of fatigue, it affects your ability to think, which in turn makes the work more difficult, which means everything takes longer, which makes it harder to take time off… And so you can get stuck in a horrible cycle of exhaustion.

You cannot time-manage your way out of it. You need rest. You need sleep.

Of course, sometimes you may need to work late nights to get something done, but this is not sustainable in the long term. When you neglect rest, it is a debt you have to pay back. The longer you leave it the higher the price you pay.

When was the last time you took a day off? If you have to think hard to remember, you probably need one.

9 thoughts on “PhD students: When was the last time you took a day off?”

  1. I just have this inside little voice saying ,,you should be doing something in the lab”. I haven’t finished my experiments, but I am getting into the point that I am not really enjoying being all the time here. As the time clicks, I have only two weeks of lab work and my results are just not good enough. How do you justify taking time off?

  2. To be honest I would love to take a day off just for me but it seems to be quite difficult being jobless, have to pay the billa s and a mother of an active 2 year old boy who the past two years wake up at nights. All weekeneds are devoted to the family leaving little space for relaxation or even PhD work. Then week days it must be a PhD job or job haunting. But perhaps indeed sometimes we need to give to ourselves some space to breathe and recover.

  3. I’m six weeks away from starting my PhD, and I’m enjoying every last minute of free time while it lasts!

    What I learned during the end of my Masters year though, was that if I didn’t take 1 day off a week (usually reserved for Sunday or Monday), then I just couldn’t think straight, and it was less productive than actually sticking around the lab/office.

    In the end I had about 4 weeks to polish off my lit review, and write the remainder of my thesis. I stuck to working 6 days a week, and I walked away with a piece of work that I’m still really proud of.

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