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Are you procrastinating, or do you need a nap?

At a workshop the other day, as they always do, someone asked about how to get over ‘procrastination’. And as I always do, I asked whether what they were experiencing was procrastination, or something else. Any delay, resistance or pause in the productivity machine is labelled as ‘procrastination’ and it often isn’t. But it can be hard to tell, when all you know is that you sat down to work and couldn’t get started.

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Succeeding in a Research Higher Degree

Doing a Research Higher Degree (like a PhD) is hard, but lots of people have succeeded and you can too. It’s easier if you understand how it works, this blog gives you the insider view.

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Are you procrastinating, or do you need a nap?

At a workshop the other day, as they always do, someone asked about how to get over ‘procrastination’. And as I always do, I asked whether what they were experiencing was procrastination, or something else. Any delay, resistance or pause in the productivity machine is labelled as ‘procrastination’ and it often isn’t. But it can be hard to tell, when all you know is that you sat down to work and couldn’t get started.

Read more

Review is the process of taking your writing away from you

Each revision, taking on board questions and concerns and advice and changes, takes my work a little bit away from me. For me, this is a good thing! Unlike this blog post, which I wrote, editing and published myself (hence the fact that there are often typos!), academic writing for publication has been read and commented on and changed by multiple people over multiple stages. The article or book goes from being ‘my’ work, to being, in some way, ‘our’ work.

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Are you ‘inspired’ or are you just breathing?

Often, we feel we should wait to feel ‘inspired’ to start writing. We want to wait until we feel we are filled up with ideas and certainty and energy to write. And yet, as Boice found in his research, turning up regularly and ‘just writing’, whether or not you felt inspired or had time or were ready, could make someone nine times more productive.

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What to do on your weekend

So one issue with trying to take a break is that we get so much advice on how to work and very little realistic advice on what to do when we rest. Most rest advice that we do get, is aspirational. Here’s my regular, realistic insider’s view.

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So what? Why does your thesis matter?

It’s a typical piece of advice to give authors of articles and theses, that you need to explain the ‘so what?’ of your contribution. But in English you can use this phrase in two very distinct ways depending on how you say it.

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Gratitude practice for research degree students

I’ve just finished a book, and my co-author and I had fun thinking about who we would like to thank in the Acknowledgements section, and you will need to do the same at some point. But you might also want to make a less formal, less constrained, more honest version!

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Resources

Books

For more insider tips, techniques and insights, check out my books.

Level Up Your Essays

Level Up Your Essays is the essential guide to essay writing for university students. Written by the people who mark your essays, it will show you step-by-step how to write high-quality essays that will get you top marks.

Your PhD Survival Guide

The ‘Insider Guides to Success in Academia’ offers support and practical advice to doctoral students and early-career researchers. These neat pocket guides fill specific and significant gaps in current literature. 

How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble

This clear and accessible guide to decoding academic feedback will help you interpret what your lecturer or research supervisor is really trying to tell you about your writing – and show you how to fix it.

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