You wake up, you’re late, you miss your bus and before you know it you’ve got to your desk and it’s nearly lunchtime. You think to yourself ‘today’s such a bad day’. You then start to stress about the amount of work you’ve missed, how behind you’re going to be, and how late you will have to stay to catch up.
You feel bad about the impact this will have on your performance and progress.
But it’s just one day.
In your life and your PhD you may tend to judge your performance on a micro level, and be constantly gauging whether you’re doing well or badly, or doing the right or wrong thing.
But it often helps to take a bigger picture and to reflect on your performance over a longer time frame. Perhaps you could do this by tracking your weekly progress, or even setting monthly targets and goals.
Assessing yourself daily is a false economy, because part of being human and part of being a PhD student is having up and down days. Our circumstances, mood, health, energy, motivation and drive all fluctuate day by day. If we track our mood on this micro level, we can be overly critical of ourselves when we aren’t so productive.
By focusing on the macro perspective, you can accommodate the bad days and accept them as part of the natural progress of a PhD.