2016 has so far been quite successful when it comes to working focused on my PhD project: My second article is starting to look like the real thing, and it's not that long until I can send it to my co-authors (I hope - everything takes more time than I think it should), and after that to the journal where we'll try publishing it. I've also finally managed to "go back" to working on some stuff that will hopefully be part of an article with my extremely talented colleague, Cecilie. Together with my office mate, Fabio, I'll also probably have what we need for a third/forth article.
The key word is focusing, and that's what I want to talk about now:
I'm unfortunately extremely "good" at procrastination! In addition I a have an "illness" where I sort of tell myself that if I haven't started some task after a certain time of the day (let's say it's already two 'o clock, and I have to leave early, at four, to get Alexandra in kindergarden) then I might as well just not do anything - extremely stupid of me! However, often it's just not enough to tell yourself to get a grip - I'v tried that several times, but it's just so easy to fall into the old, bad habits again :/ Luckily, there are apps to help you with this, and here I want to present my three favourite apps, that are helping me on my path towards my degree (and world domination, of course 😛 ):
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method, where you use a timer to break down your work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes, separated by short breaks. The "steps" in the method are as follows:
- choose some task to be accomplished
- set the Pomodoro timer to 25 mintes
- work on the task until the Pomodoro rings
- take a short break
- every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break
Of course, you don't really need this app - you can just start your own timer - but I prefer the app, since you keep track of what you've done (and what needs to be done), and it almost becomes competition with your self (for me, this is extremely motivating), and you learn more about how much (or little) time certain kind of tasks actually take, which is extremely valuable.
Personally I have 25 minutes where I work, and then a 4 minute break. Works like a charm!
More about the pomodoro technique HERE.
This is a very simple, but extremely efficient, app for your computer, that I just started using. Maybe my most important app, and it's already changed my life <3 SelfControl helps me not to procrastinate by blocking disturbing websites, mail, or whatever on the internet. You just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and start it - after you've started it you're unable to access any of the sites on your blacklist (no, it doesn't help if you restart your computer, or delete the app 😉 ).
So now I start every day with a quick trip to the websites that are on my blacklist, so that I sort of get it out of my system - then I start the app, and then I can work for hours without disturbing myself with stupid stuff on the internet.
More about SelfControl HERE.
NB: When I first started it, I thought you could block different sites for a different amount of time. That turned out to be incorrect. If you block for 4 hours, you block everything on your blacklist for 4 hours. If you want to override this app you have to re-install your operating system. In other word: it's quite efficient - just the way I want it to be 🙂
Maybe this sounds a little silly, but I truly believe that the Health app on my Apple watch will help not to completely become a physical wreck as I try to finish this PhD work. (I may become a mental wreck, but that's another story.) The feature I probably like the most just now as there are many hours sitting in front of the computer, is that it makes me stand for at least one minute every hour (unless I ignore it, of course) - "standing hours":
The thing is that "fitness" isn't just about going to the gym, but also about being active throughout the day. So the Apple watch measures all the ways you move, and keeps track of when you stand up and encourages you to keep moving <3 Because it all counts, and it all adds up.
Just now I don't have time to go to the gym, but at least this app on my watch makes me compete with myself, and I try hard every day to fulfil my goals, in exercise (you should be active for at least 30 minutes every day), standing, and moving around. I'm not saying this is better than actually working out, but when you actually don't have time to go to the gym, this is awesome 😀