I’m going to be really honest. This week was rough. I’m sure you can relate to feeling overwhelmed and underproductive (I just made that word up). Some days, you just wonder what you’re really doing in grad school in the first place.
Well that was me this week. You see, I am preparing for my A exam, and in my lab that means that I have to have a comprehensive proposal written in about 10 weeks. I’m also in the midst of writing two manuscripts and searching for grants.
Stressed. Worried. Curled up in my bed not wanting to move.
That’s pretty much how I spent yesterday. But then I found two resources that turned my week around.
Take Control with Productive Flourishing
If you need something to challenge you to get moving, look no further than Charlie Gilkey’s post that poses 50 relevant questions about your productivity. This post helped me define what I was trying to accomplish and what I needed to prioritize. Then I used their free planners to map out the next 10 weeks.
Accomplish More with the Pomodoro Technique
Once I had my plan, I was ready to take action.
The Pomodoro technique in it’s simplest expression is working with razor sharp focus on one task for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break. Once the 5 minutes are up, you start up at your task again. Every 4 “pomodoro” cycles, you take a 15-30 minute break to rest and recharge. (If you want to learn more, read this.)
My application of this technique had been spotty at best, but then I found a free online Pomodoro timer that made it much easier to take this method wherever I work. On a campus computer? No problem. In my office? Yep, still on Pomodoro cycles.
With these two new tools, I overcame my slump funk.
Bad days happen. Bad weeks happen, too. You’re allowed to feel overwhelmed when things get tough, but there are always tools, methods, and most importantly people who are there to help you get through it.
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