We're a little crazy, about science!

(Un)motivated

My deadline is fast approaching and I still have a lot of work to do. I’m also struggling with feeling super unmotivated. Normally when this hits I take a day or two to relax and then I’m ready to go. Unfortunately with my deadline approaching I need to use a different technique to get through what I need without driving myself crazy(er).

For me the best way to work is to do a few days of a thing, then a day (or if I’m lucky two) of doing something else that I find enjoyable. IE – not work related or if work related something totally different. I didn’t always work this way, but over the years I’ve learned that I can’t just power through the thing I’m doing or I’ll end up staring blankly at a screen for hours contemplating how much I don’t want to do the thing I’m doing. Sound familiar? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Taking a day to focus on something else gives me a chance to let the ideas about the current project bounce around in my head. Sometimes a solution to a problem will come to me at a random time because I wasn’t focused on finding it. It’s paradoxical, but in my case very effective. It’s how I solved so many of the engineering problems I struggled with when designing my robot. I would be doing something completely unrelated and the solution would just pop in my head. Conversely I also thought up a million other problems that needed to be solved for the project when I wasn’t working on it, which helped believe it or not to avoid issues further down the line.

Since I can’t do that, I’m going to try something new. When I find myself staring blankly at the screen I’m going to walk away and work on something else until I feel motivated to get back to work. The hope is I can condense the three day on, one day off cycle I’ve been using into a 3 hours on, one hour off cycle (or something along those lines).

I know people use the pomodoro technique a lot and unfortunately that doesn’t work for me. When I get into something, I get INTO it and I find it easier to just keep working rather than stop the momentum since it does take a minute for me to get going. Hence the work schedule I’ve come up with! So I’m calling this a modified pomodoro and we’ll see how it goes. I mean no matter what, I need to have this done by Thursday, not being motivated isn’t a good excuse and short of a death (or my death!) I need to get this done or my PI will not be happy with me.

So that’s the plan for the next few days. With a little bit of luck I’ll get through it and make it out the other end. Once I hit this deadline I’m going to take a few days for myself before diving into the next project. I could really use a break!

Now that I’ve gone over the plan with all of you, I’ll have some more motivation to try and stick with it. I mean that is kind of the point of the blog, to keep me motivated as I work though my PhD! That said, it’s time to get back to work.

But enough about us, what about you?

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