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How to get things done and stay motivated

Do you struggle to get things done and stay motivated in your research career? Learn how to efficiently set goals and reflect on your work!

Staying motivated and productive while working in the research environment can be quite challenging.

This is mostly because as researchers and academics, we’re trusted with a broad range of responsibilities, from doing research and securing funding, through teaching, developing course material to mentoring others. 

And on the top of this, we’ve got to share our research with the world to ensure it reaches beneficiaries that can potentially use it. 

This is a lot! It’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you don’t have a specific plan on how you can get things done. 

As a result, you may lose motivation and your drive to pursue your innovative research. Or even worse, you may burn out, as I explained in my previous article on maintaining sustainable motivation.

As academics and researchers, we’ve to deal with rejection and uncertainty. Even if we give our best, things may not always go exactly as we want. 

So how you can ensure you’ll get things done and stay motivated? 

How to deal with negative environment at work

How to deal with a negative environment?

Experienced an unexpected drop in productivity? You’re likely being influenced by a negative environment at work! Learn how to deal with a negative work environment.

We now live in VUCA world, which stands for volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. And this is on top of the uncertainties that you must deal with in your research project. 

With most of you still working from home, it’s more likely that you feel more anxious and frustrated. You may experience these negative feelings in particular if you don’t have enough support from your project team or the communication is poor. 

There’s also a likelihood that the lines between your life and work will become blurred. It’s really tempting to answer this last email at 2am and work through the night to finish your paper, isn’t it? 

Does this sound familiar?

If you felt like this for a long time, you may be surrounded by a negative environment at work. 

101 alternative research tools to support your research project

We do not always fully appreciate how powerful the alternative research tools can be.

Do you get annoyed when you have an important task to complete within a tight deadline, but the license of the research tool you need has just expired?

I know that feeling – I have been there myself as student and academic.

I remember like it was yesterday when I received comments on one of the research manuscripts that I produced at the early stage of my PhD. One of the reviewers has asked me to provide an additional set of results.

It seemed straightforward – I thought. After all, I had the process model ready; I just need to run another case study and make sure the results are valid.

But my eagerness was quickly put down when I realised the license to the software I was using had not been extended yet.

5 tested ideas to disseminate your research and increase research impact

5 tested ideas to disseminate your research and increase research impact

You have just got a paper published in a prestigious journal. That is fantastic news for your academic career!

But what do you do after your paper got published to further disseminate your research?

Relying on the publishers to promote your research can be a risky approach, simply because of the volume of articles they publish every day. If you do not disseminate your research further, the impact of your research may be hindered, and less potential users of your research will be reached.

In my previous article on “publish or perish” culture, I mentioned that some academic papers do not get cited at all. The quality of research plays a crucial role in such an outcome.

However, I do believe that you can ensure your research gets noticed and read by a broader audience if you embed research outreach, dissemination and engagement activities in your day-to-day work.

How to deal with rejection in 5 easy steps

How to deal with rejection in 5 easy steps?

An academic career is an art of dealing with uncertainty and rejection. Would you agree?  

Being a competitive profession, rejection in academia is inevitable. It’s rather brutal as we often identify rejection of our academic work with personal failure.  

To stay motivated and become a successful academic, you need to develop a defence and coping mechanisms to deal with the uncertainty of outcomes and academic rejection. 

Why being an academic is more tempting than Cinnabon?

While reading about academic careers, you are more likely to come across articles sharing negative experiences of academics and researchers. These articles may discourage you from pursuing academic careers, or even academic degree. 

I agree, getting a (permanent) academic position can be difficult and can take time. But you do not see people of other professions complain as much about, for example, stress, work-life balance and competition.

I believe that your academics strengths and excellence will be recognised if you are truly determined and motivated to become an academic. Such determination will enable you to develop a strong track record of high-quality research. You will also get yourself know as a person who can be relied on within your department. Such a positive attitude can kick start your academic career!

9 best research tools to supercharge your writing and data analysis

Writing an academic paper is a combination of art and science. Master it, and you will hold a powerful weapon in your hand that will help you to succeed in your career.

As a research-active academic, research scientist or PhD researcher, you will be expected to write a lot – from research proposals, through reports for funders and sponsors, through our popular research articles.

If you enjoy writing and analysing data, doing research can be heaven!

Publish or Perish

Publish or perish: did we get lost in the pursuit of academic success?

If you are working towards your PhD or are a postdoc, you must have heard the phrase “publish or perish”.

Did you know that it was first used the late 1920s by Clarence Marsh Case (1928)? It was later defined by Professor Logan Wilson in his book The Academic Man: A Study in the Sociology of a Profession:

The prevailing pragmatism forced upon the academic group is that one must write something and get it into print. Situational imperatives dictate a ‘publish or perish’ credo within the ranks” – Professor Logan Wilson.

But you must be wondering what this actually means for your research. I heard this phrase from my colleague at the very beginning of my research project and was not sure what it meant.

Is success in an academic career really dictated on what and how much you publish? Let me share my view.

How to be positive, motivated and productive by self-aware procrastinating?

How to be positive, motivated and productive by self-aware procrastination?

Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

Mark Twain

I believe you have come across this provocative quote before…but have you ever reflected on it and thought what it means for you?

Procrastination is seen as a number one enemy of every researcher, regardless of whether you are a PhD student, research scientist, industrial researcher or academic. 

12 PhD tools to supercharge your literature review

A literature review is an inherent part of each research project. This is because it helps you to understand the relevant background of the broader research area and the associated political, environmental, societal, technological and economic contexts.

Why is literature review important? Do I have to include a literature review in my research proposal? Do I have to do it at the very beginning of the project?

These were the main questions that revolved around my head when I was at the very beginning of my academic career. And it seems that it was not just me asking such questions. I often hear them in discussions with current PhDs and others doing research.