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Time Management for your PhD Gita Subrahmanyam Matthew Conway 23 February 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Time Management for your PhD Gita Subrahmanyam Matthew Conway 23 February 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Time Management for your PhD Gita Subrahmanyam Matthew Conway 23 February 2010

2 Objectives of this session To help you to better manage your time to achieve both short- and long-term goals To assist you to recognising the areas you deem important so you can prioritise them To make you aware of habits that aid or deter you in achieving your goals To encourage you to achieve a greater work-life balance

3 Common time management issues Do you feel guilty when you are not working? Do you give up or feel demotivated if you do not keep to your planned schedule? Do you concentrate on the negatives – i.e., what you still have to do rather than what you have done? Do you recognise or reward yourself when you have completed a task or been productive? Have you tried to use any time management techniques in planning your schedule? If so, what were they?

4 Time management: is it possible? Time may change me, but I can't change time (David Bowie, Changes) The challenge is not to manage time but to manage ourselves. The root of self-management lies is first defining your values and goals. You need to be flexible. Life can be unpredictable. Think about being efficient with things and effective with people.

5 Activity 1: Time SWOT analysis of previous weeks diary Using the Activity 1 Time SWOT sheet, analyse how you spent your time in the previous week –What strengths appear in your use of time? –What weaknesses appear? –Do any opportunities for improvement emerge? –Do any threats loom? Things that might get worse? Bear in mind that you may not have acted normally because you were keeping a diary When youve finished, pick a partner and look over your SWOT analyses. Do you see similarities in the areas you wish to improve?

6 Time Management matrix

7 Quadrants in the TM matrix QUADRANT 1: Prioritise tasks that fall here according to their relative urgency. QUADRANT 2: These tasks are most critical to your success, and yet are commonly the most neglected. You must plan time-slots for these. QUADRANT 3: Assess the real importance of these tasks and, if they must be done, do them quickly to a good-enough standard. QUADRANT 4: These activities are not central to your success and are time-wasters. They can be destructive to your future success. Check yourself and resist the temptation to dwell here.

8 Using the TM matrix successfully Spending the bulk of your time in Quadrant 2 will ensure that Quadrants 1 and 3 dont engulf you. Quadrant 1 tasks often result from neglecting Quadrant 2 tasks – which then become crises. Perfecting Quadrant 3 tasks means less time is left for Quadrant 2 tasks, which can cause problems. Time spent in Quadrant 4 is usually results from an inability to say NO or is a displacement activity. Effective time management means stealing time from Quadrants 3 and 4, and using it for Quadrant 2 tasks. This also results in a reduction of Quadrant 1 tasks, due to fewer spillover crises.

9 Activity 2: Time management matrix and reflection of your patterns/habits Using the Time Management matrix, map out your previous weeks activities In which quadrant have you spent the most time? And the least? Could you have stolen time from Quadrant 3 & 4 tasks to use on Quadrant 2 tasks? In table groups, decide the ideal proportions of time one should spend in each quadrant. Lets compare views!


11 Model PhD Project Plan Years and Terms (with Summer Vacation as 4 th Term) Envision PhD and structure Develop methods/ sources Develop 1 st research part/case Develop 2 nd part/case Develop 3 rd part/case Write Chapters, edit and revise First full draft Final draft Submission 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

12 Activity 3: Planning your PhD project Consider the Model PhD Project Plan handout (assumes 8 chapter structure) Now use the Activity 3 handout to map out your own research plan: –How far along are you in your research and in the number of chapters drafted? –How will you remap the model based on your thesis and your chapter structure? –Think about your planned timeline to complete your PhD within the four-year time limit

13 Envisaging your long-term goals Imagine that you have completed your PhD – what now? Where would you like to be in four years time? Write down your ideal scenarios as if they were happening now. For example: –PhD – I have won a prize for my PhD work –Career – I have a job at a top university or I am doing good work for a development charity –Family – I have a close relationship with my family –Friends – I am loved and respected by my friends You can have multiple scenarios (most people do)

14 Building towards your future career What things, aside from your PhD, will you need to do to realise your future vision? For example, for your career: –Paid academic work – teaching or research – inside or outside LSE –Journal sub-editing or research dissemination activities –Part-time/temporary work for money –Voluntary work or internships for experience –Hobbies/extra-curricular activities

15 Activity 4: Thinking about your future goals, use the Activity 4 worksheet to specify what tasks or activities you will need to undertake to realise those goals. Keep in mind your model PhD timeline, as well as any additional career-building activities. Also incorporate any life-enhancing, non-career- related tasks or commitments. Perhaps allocating time to your friends/family? How about your health/fitness? Also Quadrant 2 activities! Now make a list of the core roles you inhabit – or would like to inhabit – for each year

16 By envisaging the future, you have been able to specify your core roles You can use these roles to help you to schedule in activities on a weekly (or longer-term) basis By being aware of the important roles you (want to) play, you can ensure that you do all the things that are important to you and your future Tools, such as the Weekly Worksheet provided in the The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, can assist you Using your roles to plan your time

17 Time management tips 1 Keep your eye on the ball – why are you doing a PhD? Keep some kind of visual reminder near your desk or in your wallet Organise and execute around priorities. Decide what is important to you and devote time in your life to it. It is no good working all the time if your personal relationships are in disarray. Consider how your goals affect other people – are you being fair to them? Stop and smell the roses, at least sometimes! Give yourself designated breaks, where you decide not to work – at least one full day per week

18 Time management tips 2 Reward yourself when you have completed a difficult task or spent time productively Work somewhere different if your normal place of work cannot provide you with a quiet situation and protection from interruption Inform other people of your planned time-slots and schedules. Having a visible schedule is the key to being able to protect these vital time-slots. Allocate time for setbacks – life is not predictable Realise what time management techniques work for you and use them again. If something doesnt work, try a different approach

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