One thing that I have been having trouble with as I begin my PhD research during our COVID induced work from home situation is keeping work from spilling over into all hours of the day and night.
I have often taken pride in my ability to focus on something when required and be able to put that same thing out of my mind when not actively focusing my attention on it. However, I am finding that during times when I am not sitting at my desk devoting my attention to my PhD, my mind continually wonders back to it. Over time, this has created a degree of unease, as I continually wonder whether I am working enough?
Eventually, over the past week I have decided to do what all the PhD welcome seminars told me to do – I consulted my supervisor. She told me that while the official line is that you should treat your PhD like a full time job, the nature of the work means that if you are getting between three and four really productive, focussed hours of work out of each day, you are doing fine. She encouraged me to actively try and avoid thinking about my PhD in the evenings and at times when I am not focussing on it. That, she said, is the fast track to burnout.
With fewer distractions, particularly fewer social outings with friends – my usual mode of decompression, this is proving difficult. I will keep at it though in the hope of developing good habits that will last me throughout my PhD journey.