The PhD journey: Am I making enough progress?

The PhD journey can be described as an emotional rollercoaster, with many highs and lows. Every PhD student is unique (cultural, religious, ethnicity, others), and there are many paths you can take throughout this journey. Sometimes, you can feel that other PhD students are miles ahead of you, but you should not be discouraged about that; They are just doing things differently, which does not imply that it is only one pathway to be on track.

I am sure that I am not the only doctoral researcher who asked this at least once: Am I making enough progress? I am aware that it could be challenging to track your progress, but you must think about keeping a work diary or weekly report of your goals. Keeping notes about your work and activities could be helpful to make decisions and spend time wisely. Therefore, one of the best pieces of advice that I can offer to you is to be conscious about your work without losing the enjoyment of doing the PhD because you can Thrive and Survive.

Looking back, I realised the importance of value all those little pieces of work that you do add up during the PhD journey. There are different ways to measure your progress. For example, some strategies will work for you, and others will not. Below, I am sharing some strategies that maybe you consider helpful but depends on your personal preference.

  • Start with making a checklist of things that could help you with your work, such as having a comfortable place, some textbooks for your literate review, relaxing music for starting, writing your chapters, etc. 
  • Keep track of things that work for you each week and make regular updates on your work.
  • Set aside a specific number of hours for working on your PhD each week and discuss your progress and thoughts with other PhDs, supervisors, or others. 

Being conscious about your work (realistically) could give you a level head during this journey. However, If you feel that you have not progressed enough, please, do not panic! The University of York has many groups that can help you; also, you can speak directly to your supervisor, your PhD advisor, your network of PhD students or maybe a friend. Remember, you are responsible for your research, and you should contact your supervisor if you notice that your progress has not been enough before it ever becomes a real problem.

How to thrive and survive in your PhD

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