February 2, 2022

The PhD supply chain problem

It’s been a funny old start to the year hey? As I write this, in mid January, the Omicron variant is raging here in Australia. Supply chain problems are resulting as key workers either get sick, or have to isolate. Every visit to the supermarket is an adventure – you don’t know what you arecontinue reading.

October 6, 2021

How to finish that big writing project (and get on with your life)

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to run my workshop called ‘How to finish that big writing project (and get on with your life)’. I’m guessing it’s a sign of pandemic fatigue: everyone close to the end of a PhD just wants it to be, well – over. I feel you. I’m notcontinue reading.

August 4, 2021

The late stage (or lock down) loopy la-las

There’s a period of PhD study that I have come to call ‘the loopy la-las’: when you become highly capable of doing PhD work, but start to become incompetent at, well – almost everything else. I remember the day it started to happen to me. It was 2008 and I was deep in a Foucaultcontinue reading.

June 2, 2021

The project finishing mindset

To generalise ridiculously, there are three types of people: People who start a research project intending to finish it on time. People who start a project not really caring when they finish it. People who don’t care about finishing a project on time until they fly past the deadline. If you are doing a PhDcontinue reading.

June 6, 2018

Help – I’m drowning in my own notes!

One of the delightful things about blogging is letters from readers; an endless source of delightful validation and sometimes, interesting problems to try to solve. This letter is a case in point. Dora, a reader from Croatia writes: The situation I find myself in is, I think, one that all researchers have found themselves in…continue reading.

May 2, 2018

Slow Academia is for the privileged – but then, isn’t all academia?

Is academia too Fast? In 2011, I wrote a piece called Slow academia in which I mused: “If you think about it, a thesis or dissertation is the epitome of Slow. Even if you finish in speedy fashion you are unlikely to turn one out in less than three years. Over those years you havecontinue reading.

November 1, 2017

The Month of Hell (TM)

Overcommitment is a constant problem for working academics who wear ‘busyness’ as a badge of honour. I think the overcommitment problem tends to start duing the PhD. This post from Evan Hayles Gledhill has real insight into why the problem happens in the first place – our own reactions to the hyper competitive research culture.continue reading.

September 20, 2017

Thoughts on ‘Deep Work’

Cal Newport’s previous book “So good they can’t ignore you” is my all time favourite book on career building. Newport is an academic in computer science, but has made a tidy little side career in writing productivity books. I bought ‘Deep Work’ as soon as it came out and enjoyed it, but was so busycontinue reading.

November 23, 2016

How to be a cognitive miser (in a good way)

At ANU we run a program called ‘Thesis Bootcamp’, adopted from the Melbourne University program of the same name invented by Liam Connell and Peta Freestone. Thesis bootcamp challenges PhD students to write as much as 20,000 words on a single weekend of intensive writing in a group setting. We run four Thesis Bootcamps acontinue reading.

February 25, 2015

Thesis Prison

Family Thesiswhisperer has spent the last month in our hometown of Melbourne. We caught up with many friends and relatives while we were there, some of whom are doing or have just completed doctorates. One friend got pregnant twice during her doctorate and had a longer journey than most. While we raised a glass tocontinue reading.

%d bloggers like this: