There will be times during your PhD when you’re busier than normal. For me it was always during marking season – you’ve got the usual PhD jobs that still need doing, plus a pile of scripts to mark on a deadline. You may have different stressors competing for your time, but you’ll likely recognise the same feeling of stress, overwhelm and anxiety.
It’s important at this time to be aware of two things. First, you must be kind to yourself. Remind yourself that you’re busier than normal and that it won’t last forever. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes or if you get in a bit of a muddle – there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re just busy.
Second – and this is related – recognise when you’re creating unnecessary stress. There will always be things you have to do, whether you like it or not. But there are often things that you don’t have to do, but which you nevertheless put on your to-do list nonetheless. Perhaps these are less urgent PhD tasks, or personal projects. ordinarily it’s good practice to chip away at these less critical things, but at times when you’re already busy and overwhelmed it can be disastrous to add yet more stress.
So if you’re currently struggling to stay afloat, ask yourself if you’re creating unnecessary work for yourself. Are there things on your agenda that you can postpone for a week or two? Are there things that can wait until your workload calms down a little? If there are, ask yourself if postponing them will help your short-term stress levels. If they do, move them.
Good luck and have a great week!
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