I consider myself to be a highly self-motivated person, who appreciates a good coach. I respond well to being bossed around (but nicely, and within reason). In recent months, however, as I've been fighting my way out from an avalanche of responsibilities and projects that are not directly related to finishing my dissertation I've had to revisit my personal values and find, anew, my center.
In theory, this is what a disciplined me would look like:
- Go to bed: Setting a bed time (10pm or 10:30pm) and not using my laptop in bed. Reading something non-academic is allowed.
- Wake up: Waking up at a regular time every day (7am), and being speedy and efficient as I get ready for my day.
- Eat right: Pack a lunch, something healthy, something filling. Saves time and money later on.
- Exercise: See #2 and do it at the beginning of my day.
- Make time: for things that are important, and set aside one day a week where no school-work is touched. Or two half days. Whatever.
- Reward myself.
I can't say that I've already failed miserably, but it hasn't been pretty. I naturally appear to get work done at night, and I naturally prefer to exercise first thing in the morning (something to do with one shower a day, saving water, wackadoo), balancing my sleep schedule with my work schedule is rough. Oh, and I've already rewarded myself, prior to accomplishing anything (what? The boots were on sale!).
Graduate school, especially in the midst of field work, data analysis, teaching, etc., can start to feel like a grind. Wake up, work, sleep, repeat. Having a routine, a schedule, and self-imposed boundaries helps set a pace, a rhythm and a trajectory that I am once again interested in pursuing.