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Productivity

How to develop good habits for a successful academic career in 5 easy steps?

Wonder how to develop good habits? By building good habits early in your career, you will succeed in academia. Here are 5 easy steps you can use today!

Our habits are responsible for a large fraction of our daily decisions, behaviours and actions.

For example, think about what you do in the very first second after you wake up? Do you pick up your phone, go have a coffee/breakfast or go for a walk or run?  

Have you ever thought about why you do it in the first place? Is this something you decided to do before you fell asleep or you do it every day unintentionally? The latter represent your habits and these can be good and bad ones.

5 bad habits that you must ditch to become motivated academic

Have you developed bad habits that deteriorate your performance and motivation? Find out how you can ditch bad habits and become motivated academic!

Did you know that the habits you develop at the early stage of your development as an academic can make or break your academic career?

Why?

It’s because it’s relatively easy to pick up bad habits, while it’s substantially more challenging to ditch them.

And bad habits can drain your energy, diminish your productivity, and prevent you from staying motivated to solve the challenges, especially when you hit an obstacle.

For example, at the early stage of my formation as a researcher, I became an email slave. It wasn’t just a tool. I become obsessed with checking my email and was responding to every email right after it arrived in my mailbox. And I was doing this 24/7…

The result?

I got distracted from my research and had to stay up late to complete all my tasks. A not really great example of the work-life balance!

How to overcome writer’s block in your PhD?

Writer’s block can significantly delay, or even derail, your research project. Find out about the tools that can help you overcome writer’s block!

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Stephen King

Do you enjoy writing?

I noted that many researchers usually consider writing as the least exciting part of doing research, usually dedicating too little time to this important activity in their research project.

After all, you’ve done your experiments or derived a new mathematical model that helps to solve a specific challenge.

This is truly the most electrifying part of your work as you’ve pushed the boundary of knowledge. Well done!

But what’s the actual value of your discovery if you don’t share it with others?

Although there are many ways to share your research (remember to check out our free ebook!), writing down your research is still the main way to do so.

What are SMART goals and how to use them in your research?

Success is a journey, not a destination. How to set SMART goals for your research project to successfully deliver your PhD and enjoy the process.

Have you ever missed a deadline or struggled to hand in your work on time? 

Did you promise yourself that you were going to make it this time, yet it happened again? After all, you planned to complete the chapter of your thesis or send the paper for review to the journal. 

Yet, regardless of your willingness to do so, you didn’t do it. Another week has passed, and you feel like you’re in the exact same place as a week ago? Uncertainty of research doesn’t make it easier, does it?

I feel for you! It happened to me, too – it was so frustrating when I had to pull an all-nighter to submit my work on time! 

That’s why in this article, I’m going to teach you how to use SMART goals in your research project and adjust them to your needs. 

I’m confident that this will help you manage your work better and meet your deadlines, especially those you set yourself!

How to come up with new research ideas in 5 easy steps?

Creativity is a key skill to become a successful academic. Therefore, developing an efficient process to come up with new research ideas is fundamental to your academic career success!

Creativity is a key skill to become a successful academic. Therefore, developing an efficient process to come up with new research ideas is fundamental to your academic career success!

As academics and researchers, we’re at the forefront of the current body of knowledge. We constantly push these boundaries forward, finding innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to the challenges that our generation is currently facing.

But do you know what does make or break the academic careers?

In my view, it’s your ability to come up with new research ideas!

Quality over quantity: the golden balance between quality and quantity in academic publishing

You should always prioritise quality over quantity in your track record, although publishing more can give you more visibility.

From the early stage of your research career, you are told that you need to publish your work in peer-reviewed journals.

You may even feel the pressure to publish, especially towards the end of your PhD degree, because of the “publish or perish” culture that may influence your productivity. As a result, you may be tempted to publish your work in any journal that will publish your work, regardless of its international standing and recognition.

If you’re fairly fresh to the entire publishing process, you may be wondering how many publications you should publish during PhD? Or even what journals you should consider publishing your work in?

I’ve been there and asked these questions myself! I never could get a definitive answer from my peers and supervisors – most of the answers I got emphasised the need to publish high-quality work in prestigious journals.

And I fully agree with this. You should always place the quality over quantity in your research project.

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.

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. 

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!