I started my PhD (again) last September. It's interesting to me, and apparently to many people that I meet outside of my academic life, but it's been disappointing inside academia... there's little research excitement in the air. It depresses me and makes me lose confidence in my topic. (More on that another day!)
So it's been a difficult year.
And then I joined the Guardian Higher Education Network at the Guardian.co.uk website. They've got loads of really great articles that talk about what we go through as fledgling academics. It's been giving me a great perspective.
I came across this article today. She describes exactly what I've been going through. I set all these really ambitious targets. I wanted to do 3 articles or conference presentations per semester. I want to finish at least 2 chapters of my dissertation by July. I won't make it, and I've been exhausted, and yes, I put on LOADS of weight.
But 4 days ago, I had made a decision to take the weight and exercise jumbie in hand. I got a friend to help me to get out and go walking. It was good. I've decided to do things when they feel good. I'm not committing to dance class every day, because that is too much, I will feel stressed and over committed. I have committed only to GO to dance class - if it's once per week, or once per fortnight, that's fine. And I will.
I want to set similar relaxed targets for my research. I'm strongly self-motivated, so I WILL get things done, but I think it will be better if my own deadlines aren't putting pressure on me. I have enough pressure from my administrative semester deadlines!