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This Category: > PhD Advice / Support


The nocturnal workers' thread

User: BilboBaggins - 15 September 2009 00:17

A chapter every 1-2 weeks sounds tough. Do also allow time for your supervisor to read and get back. One of mine was very slow at reading stuff.

I'm sitting up, doing some databasing. Have finished the dratted spreadsheet preparation and now have a new relational database. Just running a couple of SQL queries to pull out the answers I need for the last bit of writing up. I think that part of things will be fast. It's just the preparation has taken months (eek!).

I'm also planning on cracking on with my final rewrites, although I'll probably leave that to sometime tomorrow. Have feedback on half of the full thesis draft now, but need another meeting next month to go through the rest. Lots of small changes which are easy, and larger ones not so easy. But bashing on.

Good luck everyone.

User: BilboBaggins - 15 September 2009 00:19

Quote From Sue2604:

And know what you mean about partners - my partner's eyes just glaze over when I start talking about the thesis, even though he politely asks me every day how my work is going...can't be helped I spose!
I'm very lucky that my husband has a PhD, albeit totally different discipline (we used to be PhD students in the same department my first time around), so knows what I'm going through. He's very understanding. Other people are far more clueless about the process.

User: huanic - 15 September 2009 08:33

======= Date Modified 15 Sep 2009 10:27:08 =======
============= Edited by a Moderator =============

Greetings fellow nocturnal workers, i thought a thread to celebrate all things nocturnalness was appropriate. Today I finally realised that after trying for the best part of the last year to work 9-5 hours, I just can't produce the quantity and quality of work that I'm able to produce in the small hours. So I'm changing my working hours to suit my most productive periods.

I don't know what everyone else thinks, but there's too much visual and audible noise in the daytime which stops me from getting into the "zone". I guess it's horses for courses depending on whether you're and owl or a lark, but what time of day does everyone else produce their best stuff?

User: Alpacalover - 15 September 2009 08:43

======= Date Modified 15 Sep 2009 08:45:07 =======
Yeah, I have spoken to my supervisor and he really wants to help me get done asap, so hopefully i'll be top priority (or close to it), but i have tried to include time for this in my plan! I'm pretty sure i'm not going to be written and submitted by xmas, but if I aim for it then hopefully I wont be too far off! even if just have time over xmas hols to edit whole final draft and have it ready for after that would be just fine!

My partner is not bad, he is working and doing part-time masters (in STATISTICS!), so he understands the workload, its just I dont' cope very well with stress. And i think the phd stress is different to any other kind, you have to have done it to get it! (lucky Bilbo!). and i can be up and excited about my work one day/minute and then suddenly i'm fed up, tired, overwhelmed and depressed about the whole thing! So think its more my fault than his! but once i'm done, i think the word phd will be banned from our house! :)

well i'm up early, slept alright, going to tai chi class at 10 and then a day of writing hopefully!

hope databases and writing all going well? Sue, we're on the same kind of timescale, i really want final draft in end of November, so we can be work buddies :) Best of luck


User: Sue2604 - 15 September 2009 08:51

Quote From Alpacalover:

Sue, we're on the same kind of timescale, i really want final draft in end of November, so we can be work buddies :)

Yes, my plan was to have the first draft done by end Oct, spend Nov rewriting, then give to sup over Dec, then Jan and Feb to rewrite, submit in March. Back to awful full-time job in March. Am not going to make the Oct deadline, but am still aiming to have the first draft written by end Nov. Slow, so slow!!!

User: Alpacalover - 15 September 2009 12:17

oh goodness, now i'm scared, I really need to get this all done by dec/jan, cos I need to get a job! but still loads to do, how much do you have written Sue? am i being really optimistic about being done in 4months?

back from tai chi - in my little town with all the oaps - even stop for tea and a biscuit half way ACE 8-)!!! so now got two hours of work (with lunch), doctors appt and then hopefully a good few hours of work if possible! hmmm, lets see if i manage to write even a sentence!

hope you having good day!


User: Sue2604 - 15 September 2009 13:08

Quote From Alpacalover:

oh goodness, now i'm scared, I really need to get this all done by dec/jan, cos I need to get a job! but still loads to do, how much do you have written Sue? am i being really optimistic about being done in 4months?

I think you are being optimistic about getting a first draft, then a final draft done in 4 months - but I admire your optimism!! I've written 5 chapters - about 40,000 words. Have drafted another 20,000 words, which need updating - then have another 5 chapters to write from scratch. So, a mountain of work to get through in not enough time!! Oh well, can't get there any faster than I'm going.

Where are you up to? On the downhill run yet? Not yet...?

That's me, am beat. Have done a full day and it's now bedtime for me. Have a productive day!

User: Alpacalover - 15 September 2009 15:44

wow Sue, you have 10 chapters? Thats mental! I have 5 plus final discussion! My intro has its structure and i'm just going back to it today - very stressful as when i read through it now (having written in earlier in the year) it feels a bit disjointed and needs a complete revamp! :( my second and third are quite well on, mainly discussion, and 4/5 are needing quite bit of work!

I'm sure you're right and i'm being way too optimistic, but if I stick to trying to get it done for then, and just keep my stress levels down and get on with it then who knows!!?

right now though i'm sitting surrounded by papers and not sure where to start, keep distracting myself with bits and bobs that need fixing and not getting to the big picture! although i'm sure the little bits need doing anyway so might as well do them now!!!? :(

going to try and do at least 4 more hours today and then i can relax later feeling some accomplishment!

its afternoon here so still bit to go! hope you have good sleep and a good productive day tomorrow! well done on the amount you've already done!

KT x

User: Sue2604 - 15 September 2009 22:04


I currently have 12 chapters, which will end up being about 10. Yes, it is a lot - lucky me!! But your chapters are no doubt longer than mine are going to be. At least I have variety I suppose! Sounds like you're well advanced - you could well be all done and dusted by the end of the year! Maybe you should do the bits and pieces work when you're tired, and get into the meaty work when you're most productive.

Today am travelling to my uni (3 hours away) so I can attend a seminar tomorrow on how to get a post-doc, then Fri have a meeting with my supervisor. So an outing and a bit less writing for me!

Off to do finishing touches on chapter 5, then a bunch of transcribing. Talk to ya later!

User: Alpacalover - 15 September 2009 22:41

Hi Sue, good luck with your work today, and hope seminar is useful tomorrow!

I'm done for the night, done some reading, edited bits of intro and made a pretty figure :)!

Going to head to bed and hopefully have another full day of it tomorrow! The more I think about it the more I feel xmas submission is just wishful thinking, but you never know, thank you for your vote of confidence - made me feel better (up)

Decided going to see my supervisor tomorrow if possible to see what he thinks of my intro, I feel like i'm trying to put too much into it, and give a massive picture of the whole subject instead of more detail about smaller area! So tough cos my project has so many factors influencing it and I feel i should cover them all! see what he says!

Good luck seeing your supervisor too

User: Alpacalover - 17 September 2009 23:46

I think i'm off to bed! had a pretty unsuccessful day, but nice as my sister came through with my baby nephew, so had lots of fun and cuddles! :)

Been making a massive mindmap of my thesis, making it all colourful and visually aiding in the hope to help see all the important connections I need to emphasize througout work!
And the very dull job of going through references for intro and checking them all, making sure I have them all in and in the right format! (takes ages!!)

Having day with my partner tomorrow as its our 5th anniversary :-x!! looking forward to a nice day together, and then back to the desk for the weekend!

Best of luck everyone if you're on the midnight train! (up)

User: BilboBaggins - 21 September 2009 02:39

Been sitting up for a couple of hours. Now I've finished my last database I have to write up the analysis and plug a few gaps in my thesis. Just tackled the shortest (and easiest) gap. So that's one down. 2 and a bit whoppers to go.

Also have to start tackling my final thesis rewrites, but need to do that at another time of day when I can work at a desk and spread lots of bits of scribbled thesis printouts all over it!

User: BilboBaggins - 24 September 2009 01:48

======= Date Modified 24 Sep 2009 02:27:32 =======
Me checking in again. Been spending the last few hours going through my EndNote database and adding to my bibliography those books/articles etc. I think were also important to forming my methodology/approach/context but aren't referenced directly in my footnotes. Has increased the bibliography quite a bit, and is a fairer reflection of what I've read through.

Slight avoidance activity, from getting on with plugging a few gaps in my thesis and tackling the final final scary rewrites. But it's got to be done sometime, so might as well be now. Think I might even tackle the acknowledgements soon. Can't quite believe I'm nearly there. Well 6+ months away, but part-time, so it's not that long. Calm thoughts!

Any other night-time workers?

EDIT: Ok acknowledgements written now. Guess I'll have to get on with the proper stuff next time. But it's nice to see that bit done. 8-)

User: Alpacalover - 24 September 2009 10:21

Congratulations Bilbo on getting your references and acknowledgments done!! I did the same last week and went through all my references!! takes ages but like you say has to be done, and its better than avoiding the thesis completely and watching telly ;)

i've not managed to get anywhere near as much done this week as planned and am living in daylight hours! been in the lab trying to organise some last experiments my second supervisor is pushing me to do! i just hope they yield some interesting results otherwise it'll have put me another month or so back!!!!

away this afternoon getting fitted for bridesmaid dress!!! and then hopefully home to fill the two LAST gaps in my intro!!! really want this draft complete by sunday, to give to my boss!!

hope your last gaps get filled in soon, you're doing ace! (up)

User: Alpacalover - 24 September 2009 22:19

Hey, anyone on the midnight train? I'm at last starting to feel ready to sit down and do something productive :) unfortunately got meeting with potential new boss first thing tomorrow morning and want to have my wits fully about me, so should probably go to bed!??!

hopefully have a full weekend of writing though!? need to stop the procrastination and put a rocket up my [email protected]@e!!! :$

maybe could do an hour.....?

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