My rules… my way

Tonight, due to circumstances somewhat beyond my control, I’ve had to spend five hours solid working on PhD reading.  The output of this can be found here, and I’ve still got around five pages to go.

I’m not looking for sympathy – I knew this was the sort of thing I knew I would be spending a lot of time doing this.  What I’m posting here, and reminding myself of, are the rules which I’m setting myself for the next four years (eeek).

  1. Stop working an hour before going to bed.
    I heard today that a quarter of all people in the UK suffer from some sort of insomnia.  I get the worst of both worlds, trouble dropping off, and then waking during the night.  Even before I started at Lancaster I was thinking about it late into the night.  Stopping work and doing something else (OK, here it is writing a blog post but usually it will be something less taxing) will pay dividends I hope.
  2. Keep a balance.
    Hmmm, tricky one this.  I’ve never been one to get a good work/work/life balance, but one of the reasons that I’m working so hard tonight is that I’m planning a weekend of no study.  I’m sure to get the balance wrong at times, luckily I have good support mechanisms to keep me on track,
  3. Do it properly.
    There’s a tendency to skim read important articles, and only get the bare bones out – I admit that my mind mapping technique does tend to emphasize this, though they are meant to be summaries, and not the total of the articles.  A couple of times tonight I’ve found myself ‘drifting off’ whilst staring at a page of incomprehensible text.  It’s tricky to do, but I must focus, so no half watching of Family Guy or American Dad to distract me… honest!

I’ll write later about some technologies which are helping me even at this early stage – though a quick mention of Dropbox and Zotero is always welcome I’m sure, and they’re allowing me to work across many machines (now across two work sites, plus two laptops and my main desktop machine).

But, following Rule one above, I’m going to stop now.

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