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motivation

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 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!

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!

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!