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QUT Careers and Employment Time management: balancing your life and your PhD Nikki Penhaligon, PhD Postgraduate Career Counsellor QUT Careers and Employment
Today Basic principles of time management Value of goal setting Procrastination and you Importance of maintaining work- life balance My own journey....
Your PhD and You Your PhD is a self directed project You are in charge - things will only be done if YOU do them Workbook activity: My current time management techniques –On a 7 point scale, how effective are you with managing your time Not at all effective Somewhat Very effective effective –What do you do to manage your time during your candidature? Write it on the post it provided –Are there areas you have difficulty with? –How are you at staying on task?
Time management tips Tip 1: Audit yourself Tip 2: Audit your time Tip 3: Have a vision and set goals Tip 4: Don’t forget the bigger picture Tip 5: Prioritise Tip 6: Avoid procrastination Tip 7: Reward yourself Tip 8: A little bit of balance Tip 9: Use resources Tip 10: Access support
Tip 1: Audit yourself Everyone is different. The first step to effectively managing our time is gaining a good understanding of our needs! Workbook activity: Self audit
Tip 2: Audit your time There are only a certain number of hours in the day. Where do you spend your time? Activity: Timetable your time. Use the colour codes below –On PhD = Green –Tutoring/RA/work = Yellow –Sleeping = Blue –Eating = Red –Exercising = Pink –With friends/family = Purple –Housework = Orange –Leisure = Black Tip: BE HONEST!! Add up how many hours per week you are spending on each activity
Where are the gaps? Now that you have a good understanding of yourself and what you need, cross reference this with where you spend your time. Ask yourself the following: –Are there any discrepancies? –Am I dedicating enough time to my study? –Am I trying to study at a time that it not my preference? –Am I getting enough sleep/exercise? –Am I spending too little/too much time in one area and neglecting another? Do you need to make any modifications to your timetable?
Tip 3: Develop a career vision It may be a bit unclear......but having some direction will keep you moving ahead and.....
Tip 3: Set goals S = SPECIFIC Who is involved? What do you want to accomplish? Where? - Identify a location. When? – Establish a time frame. Why? – Specific reason, purpose, or benefits of achieving a goal. M = MEASUREABLE Helps you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience achievement. A = ATTAINABLE Break it down into steps - each step should move you closer to that goal. R = REALISTIC Personal and situational factors which may influence your ability to reach your goal. T = TIMEBOUND Define start points and end points to your goal and maintain commitment to these deadlines.
Writing an effective goal statement Use clear, specific language. Start your goal statement with TO + a VERB Write your goal statement using SMART Goal Criteria Avoid using negative language. Think positive! Activity: Let’s now give it a go!
Tip 4: Don’t forget the Big Picture! PhD journey has it’s ups and downs Vision and goals can give us perspective when things gets difficult!
Tip 5: Prioritising Sometimes there is so much to do and so little time! Prioritising tasks can help us to order our tasks and determine what is important and what needs to be done urgently! ‘Importance’ = achievement of goals ‘Urgent’ = demand attention as consequences of not completing can be immediate Source: mindtools.com
Tip 6: Avoid procrastination Prioritising = ordering tasks according to importance and urgency Procrastination = putting things off for no good reason ie making excuses!
Cycle of procrastination Approach task Negative thought process activated Procrastination activities Consequences (positive or negative) Continue to procrastinate BREAK THE CYCLE OF PROCRASTINATION
Why am I doing it? Reason I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do! I’m not smart enough Wrong time of day I’m tired I’m going to fail! Strategy ASK for help! Where’s the evidence?! Change the task Get up. Go for a walk. Clear your head... Get some chocolate/caffeine... What is failure? Is it bad?? Is it an opportunity to improve???
How do I know when I’m procrastinating? Self reflection activity: Think back to a time you know you have put off doing something that needs to be done –What was the task you were doing? –What were you doing instead of the task? –What did you want to do instead of the task? –What time of day did it to happen? –Where were you? –What did you do to overcome it? Post it activity: On the post it provided write down the strategy you employed to overcome your procrastination. Put it on the whiteboard to share.
Tip 7: Reward yourself It’s simple, if you achieve your task, reward yourself. Tip: Make sure the reward matches the effort! Activity: On the post-it provided, write down one way to reward yourself. Stick it on the whiteboard.
Tip 8: A little bit of balance Remember to balance your time It’s not all about work! Schedule in time for family, friends, travel, leisure activities, exercise and yourself! Everything is ok in moderation
What can happen if we don’t have balance
Tip 9: Use resources available Create ‘To Do’ lists Use your outlook calendar – schedule time Keep people (eg your supervisor) informed Multitasking versus one task at a time Have a filing system (online and/or paper) Use EndNote!
Tip 10: Don’t forget your supports! Research Student Centre FRAO’s Liaison Librarians Student Support Services –Careers and Employment –Counselling –International Student Services –Language and Learning Support Other PhD students!
Tips from someone who has gone before you... During my PhD I: Set goals –Semester goals and yearly goals –Gave them to my supervisor (!) – then I was accountable to someone! –Put them within eyesight of my computer –Planned and prioritised my work around my goals –Updated my goals as required – and informed my supervisor! Treated my PhD like a full time job – I went to work Monday-Friday – but in the hours that worked for me!
Tips from someone who has gone before you... Used my office space Worked only during the hours that I was productive (7am- 3pmish). If I was not being productive, I left. Accessed the support of my peers ‘Mind mapped’ ideas on my wall Had a pillow in my office for ‘thinking time’ Rewarded myself with coffee breaks (and the odd trip to the lolly shop! ) Took work-life balance very seriously (I tried not to work on weekends... Except when marking...) Exercised to and from uni to clear my head
My struggles Not having direction from my supervisor – expecting her to set tasks for me (it took me until my 3 rd year to set goals!) Having an associate supervisor leave my uni mid candidature Feeling as though I was completely incompetent Being too scared to go to conferences
Things I wish I did differently Went to more conferences Took on different responsibilities eg guest lecturing Met/made contact with more early career researchers to get their advice Used EndNote Travelled to other universities and networked with others Generally got out of my comfort zone Made better use of supports available
QUT Postgraduate Careers Service Individual counselling –Where to from here? –Confidence building/skills awareness Workshops and seminars –Post-PhD Options/Career Stories –Networking know-how –Effective applications – resumes, selection criteria, interviews –Time management –Applying for work Online resources Staff –Dr Nikki Penhaligon (KG & GP) –Dr Alan McAlpine (GP) –Dr Susan Ryan (KG)
Contact Careers and Employment LOCATION Gardens Point Campus: Level 2, X Block Reception: Room X222 Kelvin Grove Campus: Level 4, C Block (Above the Refectory) Caboolture Campus: Student Centre - J Block WEBSITE PHONE Gardens Point: Kelvin Grove: Caboolture