There are a lot of moving parts in a PhD. A lot of things to consider, plan, execute and respond to.
Sometimes, there are so many moving parts you can end up in a muddle, overwhelmed by the scale of the task and a little unsure of the order in which to tackle things.
During my PhD I certainly felt this.
On top of that, I also felt the urge to complete everything as quickly as possible.
In my mind, if there were lots of things that needed doing I better get them done as soon as possible!
That typically doesn’t end well. Go too far down that route and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and, most likely, in even more of a muddle.
Instead, it pays to take things more slowly and to approach big, complex tasks in a more nuanced, strategic way.
Rather than rush head first into them, and bite off more than you can chew in the process, you would be better off easing in more gradually, and giving yourself permission to take your time.
This can be difficult, particularly if there are deadlines appraoching, or if you have the type of personality that favours perfectionism or expediency.
Plus, there’s a balancing act between getting stuff done on time, but doing so in a more leisurely way.
But next time you find yourself staring at a mountain of work, or starting out on a big, complex project during your PhD, remind yourself to ease in gently. Don’t expect too much too soon, and don’t put more on your agenda than you are realistically able to handle. Have faith in your ability to proceed nonetheless. You’ll find yourself less stress, happier and better able to face the hard days when they crop up.
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