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Hey Loves! I’m Caitlyn the girl behind ChemGradBoom. A blog about taking life with a little salt, a slice of lime and shot of tequila or life of a graduate student, whichever version you prefer!

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5 Tips For Staying Motivated

Moving to Scotland and starting my PhD program is much different than I imagined how my PhD would go. To start things off my advisor week one told me to 'relax and get settled' meaning that Week One of school I aimlessly wandered around or on cold days binged on Netflix. Then there is Week Two, the week we were supposed to meet, but thanks to an old roomie from the IMA in London, I made a quick trip to visit! Meaning two weeks into my PhD and still nothing! Finally Week Three came and I finally met my advisor/supervisor and my secondary supervisor, fears about this meeting deserve a whole other blog post.
After the meeting I was handed some readings and told that research would be done when the weather is nicer. This meant that my only assignments was to read, read, and read some more. Know I love the being in a lab/doing the research, the other aspects aka the reading nonstop, not really my thing. 

Unfortunately 
Year One of a PhD student = Lots of Reading..... 

With this new life of nonstop reading and taking in the knowledge, I have had to learn to trick myself into getting shit done. Which is why I have figured out 5 Tips that keep me motivated to read on or just do work in general. 


1. set a goal for the day/hour/30 minutes. 

Yes, 30 minutes... Working towards an end goal is much easier than just working. So an example of this is saying I will read one chapter and take notes in 3o minutes. I then move on to tip 2. 

2. REWARD YOURSELF. 

With a piece of chocolate, an coffee, a new Kate Spade bag, whatever... Of course the reward size should be based on the amount of work you do. For me I say reading one chapter means I get 15 minutes free time, reading three chapters is one episode on Netflix. Finishing year one will be a Kate Spade bag or a trip, probably both being honest. 

3. blast your favorite playlist or have your favorite show/movie on. 

#1989 seems to be my jam lately and I have it on repeat when I need to focus and get work done (no lie listening to it RIGHT now as I am writing this post #getblogpostdone). Sometimes I fall back to my Harry Potter marathon, which means I can crank out 4-5 solid hours of work without distractions.

4.work in a group.

One advantage to living with undergrad chemistry students in Scotland is the amount of work that they have, which means group work-together happen in the living room at least twice a week. Telling each other to get shit done is much easier when there are multiple eyes to catch you not being productive. 

5.get out and do work.

Lastly, head out and do work. This could also be a reward for one full day of working at home. I personally love to head out to a coffee shop and do work, of course it is one with free wi-fi. Not only is getting out to a new environment mentally simulating, it also gets you out of your typical anti-work habits (aka laying in a cozy bed and watching Netflix #alldaylong). 
Well there it is , the list of 5 things that have been helping me to be a productive PhD student or at least a semi-productive PhD student! Now that I have this blog post done, I am off to read another chapter about historic window glass! 

Any tips that you have for staying productive? I would love to get advice that others use!

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