The sheer magnitude of PhD projects lasting between 3 and 6 years on average frequently becomes a major challenge for students. With multiple research directions to investigate, things to learn, and career activities to pursue, many of them lose focus and spend more time on their academic journeys than necessary. While following your aspirations may be a good thing in general, the main advice our PhD consulting specialists give to our clients is to always get the crucial things done first. Here is a list of five activities that will make you a better doctorate student and ensure that no emerging challenges will prevent you from reaching your academic goals and completing your PhD project.
1. Well Begun Is Half Done
Let us face it, looking for a Plan B in the middle of the pouring rain is always more difficult than planning your Sunday picnic in advance on the basis of a reliable weather forecast. The same is true for any PhD project. These endeavours can take up to eight years in a part-time format and are frequently appraised as some of the most exhausting and stressful lived experiences by many students. Here is a small checklist of crucial things that must be done right from the onset:
- Find a motivated and supportive supervisor interested in your research sphere and willing to assist you throughout the whole project.
- Decide upon a full-time or part-time format and develop a clear schedule of your future work.
- Build a solid financial plan supporting your well-being over the course of PhD writing.
2. A Paragraph a Day Keeps Extensions Away
The hard truth is that you should be working on your PhD thesis for several hours every day including most weekends at least throughout your first PhD year. During this period, you have to refine your topic, finalise your conceptual framework, revise large volumes of literature, and clarify all methodological issues before collecting your primary or secondary data. There is really no room for procrastination or delaying this hard work unless you want to waste several years on academic extensions afterwards.
3. MVP Is Better than DOA
Another important concept hiding in plain sight is to actually write your thesis rather than simply research all available literature. While this may seem counter-intuitive, every new insight, idea or secondary source must be instantly transformed into several paragraphs of text. This way, you always have a rough draft of your future work for your supervisor while also recording all valuable information you encounter along the way.
4. Any Engine Needs a Steering Wheel
Let us spill the beans, working hard is simply not enough. As a PhD student, you are expected to take full control of your academic progress. Is your supervisor too busy to revise your intermediary drafts or promptly confirm a new research topic? Have you lost access to your university labs due to some COVID-19 restrictions? If you have no trust in providence, monitoring all crucial issues and hindrances should become your main responsibility. Another good idea is to also balance your work and life goals and develop an effective exercise and nutrition plan to keep you on track no matter what.
5. Do Not Be Your Own Bottleneck
In some cases, you may find yourself to be your main barrier to success. If you are overworked or lack extensive academic experience, you may find it difficult to develop a realistic PhD thesis topic right from the onset or write a first-class PhD proposal. Ignoring these issues may not be the most responsible strategy when your academic goals are at stake and the time is running out. In this situation, your best choice is to find a reliable PhD consultant or PhD dissertation writers to quickly get you back on track. The sooner you tackle the emerging problems, the less assistance you may need to catch up with your schedule.