To-Do Lists, Deadlines and Aggravating Supervisors

As I say in the audio below, I haven’t posted about the PhD in a while. That’s because, until this week, it was going really quite well. I’ve been getting things done and have actually started writing and putting figure together. You have NO IDEA how much of a step forward that is for me.

I have lots of these in my notebook. Bribing your inner primary school teacher's pet FTW.

I have lots of these in my notebook. Bribing your inner primary school teacher’s pet FTW.

In the audio I talk about the things I’ve been doing that have been helping, but it soon gets on to the things I am struggling with at the moment. That mainly boils down my supervisor being an arrogant twatface, made worse by the fact that he thinks he’s helping by (finally!) taking an interest. I mean, that’s a little unfair and some of what I said was a little harsh and slightly exaggerated. But then again, some of it isn’t. I am angry about the way a lot of things have happened in my PhD, and in those of my friends. And yet here I am trying to back-pedal and excuse his behaviour, because I’m sure he meant well and didn’t mean to be an inconsiderate, thoughtless, unobservant, rude and inept manager. Ugh.

The other thing is that I am not highly unlikely to meet my deadline of Friday 7th for handing a draft of my first results chapter*. The mere thought of which makes me feel useless and despondent. This deadline was supposed to give me something to aim for and to keep me motivated, not something to beat myself over the head with. Yet my brain weasels are using it that way regardless. The thought that I might not make the deadline is kicking my perfectionist habit into overdrive, and is making me try to forget all the things I have achieved this month.

It ignores the fact that I have 18 days worth of gold stars in my notebook for stuff I have done. Stuff that was hard, like pinning people down and asking for help with bits of data analysis or lab work, or sending emails that were filling me with dread. But also stuff that was self-care – the procrastination and perfectionist workshops, the mindfulness and relaxation sessions and the yoga. It ignores the fact that I have a third of my figures for my first chapter done neatly and inserted into a word document. It ignores the fact that I have written three thousand five hundred new words for my first chapter in the space of three days. It ignores the fact that I have started compiling all the work I have written about for the BACs to put into that chapter. It ignores the fact that another section of figures is done at least to draft level and the writing for that section is just going to be a cut, paste and edit job from my previous reports.

My idiot brain Part of my brain has decided to ignore all that work that I have done, in favour of stewing in a soup of panic, and all because of one awful meeting with my supervisor where my brain felt like mush because I hadn’t had enough sleep. Consequently in that meeting I couldn’t formulate fancy answers to questions I know the answers to because we have discussed them before! I hate it when my brain does that to me; it makes me feel so useless. But that feeling, and the many others like it, is not the truth.

So. Listen to my words. Feel my wrath and my derision for my infuriating supervisor and yet celebrate with me in my achievements of getting back into my studies and remind me that it is not all hopeless.

*Note to self, it’s a draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect or complete. That’s why it’s called a draft!