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. 

7 tips to efficiently work from home and stay motivated (and sane!): home office for PhD researchers

Recently, most of us have been literally forced to work from home. No matter where you live and what you do, you probably struggle now in the same way as we all do!

It’s the beginning of April 2020 and COVID19 is rampaging around the globe. Lots of us have this unique opportunity to keep our jobs and work from home. But it’s not always easy, isn’t it? There’s always something that may distract you…

And because of that, I’d like to share with you a few tips that help David and me to stay motivated. Yes, I do recognise that our lives are all different – some of you are single, some of you have families, children, dogs, cats or even fish in the tank.

However, I trust that the productivity tips I share with you below are pretty universal for all of us. After all, efficient planning and prioritising are the keys to success. I’d love to hear about your productivity tips – please share your thoughts in the comments and helo others to work from home more effectively!

5 ways to deal with common PhD challenges

Being a PhD candidate isn’t easy. I believe that you can relate to this. Let me assure you – you’re not alone. We all experience similar PhD challenges, ranging from lack of motivation to workaholism.

I’m not saying this to discourage you – don’t get me wrong. Your research can substantially change our understanding of the world we live in or develop innovative solutions that solve the current (and future) challenges we’re facing. Essentially, we’ve got the power to make our world a better place to live!

Regardless of the importance of your research, there’re always distractions and challenges that drain your motivation. And this is fine – as I wrote earlier, it’s not sustainable to succeed all the time.

You need to reduce these as much as you can to drive your research further, develop, prove feasibility and potentially, commercialise new ideas. From my own experience, I’ve realised that there’re several sources of demotivation that can prevent you from reaching your full potential during your PhD.

Here I list the most pressing PhD challenges that may significantly derail your PhD progress. I share my own reflections on how to best avoid these to reach your full potential and stay motivated during PhD. 

PhD thought #1: Do you always need to succeed in research?

Every day we read about the amazing discoveries in various branches of arts, engineering and science that are supposed to change the world and make it a better place. We see these as developed by “PhDs” or “academics”, who we perceive as incredibly gifted superhumans – they developed this new quantum computer or new AI algorithms so they must be, right?

As an academic myself, I don’t think you need to be superhuman to be a successful academic and contribute towards solving some of the global challenges faced by our, and future generations. By creating the Motivated Academic, we want to make sure that you’ve got realistic expectations of your PhD and academic career, and you maintain a sustainable level of motivation throughout your career!  

5 steps to set the goals (not just for New Year resolutions!)

New Year is an excellent time to change everything and set the goals for the next 12 months. I believe a lot of you have in mind those great words: new year, new you! I don’t want to tone down your enthusiasm, but a more accurate phrase which suits best is a new year, old you. And it’s totally fine!

Why – you ask. Well, we all love new beginnings, fresh starts, the feeling we can start again. We all love setting a date: we’re starting from Monday, from the 1st day of the month. I believe a lot of you starting, but if you struggle with the “new beginning” and after a few days you don’t even remember what you wanted to change. I’ve been there too! So, don’t wait for the new month, next Monday or any particular day. Star today, and here I am to help you change something this time and help you set your goals!