Monday, 31 March 2014

This time last year

This time last year, I was writing a PhD.

This time last year, the winter was cold and sad and murky. I took little lonely walks by the river, in between PhD writing. I wondered if I would actually ever finish.

This time last year, a glimmer of hope appeared as I discovered the Procrastination Book. I realized that there was a way to do the PhD without having to feel quite as bad about it as I was feeling. I learned that it’s not only OK to have guilt-free time off for fun, it’s absolutely necessary. This time last year, I felt like I had stopped doing it all wrong, and was starting to do it ever so slightly more ‘right’.

This time last year, I enjoyed my birthday. Thankfully, the Procrastination Bible stopped it from being a PhD-birthday, one of those things where you let yourself be taken out for dinner but spend the whole time thinking ‘I shouldn’t be here, I should be working’ as you smile at people through tightly pressed lips. I promised myself that this was to be my last ever birthday of PhD-writing. (and I felt pretty safe on that one, since they weren’t going to allow me to drag it out for another year.)

This time last year, I was seeing a therapist, for the first time in my life. (I miss her, by the way. She was lovely. I’ve been told I can have an ‘emergency one-off appointment’ if I ever need it. It’s nice to know that the offer’s there, and even nicer to know that, actually, I am not desperately in need of it anymore.)

This time this year:

I have been to a conference, wearing a badge that said ‘Dr’ on it. And people congratulated me.

This time this year, I enjoyed a birthday on which there was no PhD to write. No chapters to plan. Not even an abstract, or anything. Not a sausage. (The fact that I was ill and couldn’t have a glass of wine was the only disappointment.)

This time this year, I still dip into The Procrastination Bible (and all the other motivational bibles on my Kindle) more often than any other books.

There’s only one very small cloud on the PhD-free horizon. Corrections. I must do them. I have a feeling that you’re not supposed to ignore them for much longer than this.

Application for the Position Of...

Dear Miss Nine,*

Thank you for your application in response to our advertisement for the above appointment. Your details have been very carefully considered, along with all other applications for the post, in relation to the ideal candidate specification for the role. Having done so, we regret to inform you that you will not be invited to interview.
Thank you for applying for the above position. I regret that your application was not successful on this occasion, as other candidates more closely matched the requirements of the position.
Thank you for coming to interview on Wednesday for the above position. I am sorry to tell you that the interview panel decided after careful consideration to offer the position to another candidate. 
Thank you very much for your application […]. There were a very high number of applications this year and the competition was very strong; unfortunately you have not been selected to go through to the next stage of the scheme. 
Thank you for applying for the position of […].

I am sorry to inform you that, on this occasion and after careful consideration, unfortunately we will not be taking your application further.

… and they all say:
Please be aware that due to the high number of applications that we receive, we are unable to provide further feedback at this stage of the process.
Unfortunately, due to the large number of posts we advertise and the significant number of candidate applications we receive, [we are] unable to respond to requests for further feedback relating to the quality of applications submitted.

Hmmm. Then again, maybe I should apply for more than, like, the five jobs I’ve applied for.

*not her real name. Ps. I sometimes don’t dare to put ‘Dr’ in front of my name on job applications anymore. I worry that they think I’m overqualified, and that's why I'm not getting any of the jobs I want. Or maybe they think I’m actually a medic, in which case they must think I am doubly stupid, applying for careers that have nothing to do with the medical profession. Maybe I should look for jobs in the NHS.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Just a quick note today, to let you know that I am procrastinating my life away on several projects (which is always the case: there's always several projects. Why do I take on so many projects? The trouble is, when people ask you to do things, you say 'yes' because you can see yourself doing that one thing, and doing it well. Say 'yes' to five more things, however, and it's all of a sudden impossible to know which one to even start. I am procrastinating over: my PhD corrections; a special present I promised to make for someone; several job applications which are hanging over my head; and a powerpoint for a lecture I am writing, which I am to deliver to some students very, very soon. I don't want to do any of them. And then there's some other stuff, too...)

Neil Fiore, author of the Procrastination Bible, says something like this: every 'have to' (I have to do X, but I don't want to; I wish I didn't have to) needs to be replaced by a mature decision about how you will begin the project, or how you will explain to your boss that you will not do it.

I already know this. I've been through this. I thought I could get by without the Procrastination Bible constantly at my side, but it turns out I am not quite ready to go it alone. Right: time to open the holy text again, and print off an 'Unschedule' to help me keep track of my time, and do the Focusing Exercise (breathe, relax, and get to work.)

Good luck today, everyone!


Monday, 3 March 2014

Wise Words

I feel compelled to share something which I read on the internet today:

and this:

In a nutshell: the writer's tip for a successful life is to stop trying to be amazing at 15 things; pick one or two, and do them really well.

I leave you now to ponder on the implications of this in your own time.