Final year stress is creeping up on me. Until now, final year had been running smoothly. I’ve enjoyed generating an abundance of data, as my project has advanced and my laboratory skills have refined. But suddenly it’s nearly June, and I’ve reached the four months allocated to writing on my PhD Gantt chart. So now I’m frantically trying to finish experiments, whilst ramping up work on my thesis and paper alongside.
This extra load has tipped my work-life balance over the edge. 10-hour days with writing on each commute have become the minimum. Caffeine consumption is at an all-time high, and I’m having recurring dreams about my data. Does it get easier once you’re writing full-time? I suspect not.
It’s funny how you can be a pretty balanced person, but still spiral once the pressure is on. Throughout my PhD I’ve prided myself on working minimal weekends whilst still maintaining high productivity. However recently I’ve been turning down summer weekend plans in anticipation of dedicating every waking hour to thesis and paper writing. My consistent running routine has been replaced by a consistent biscuit routine. All the advice I have ever given friends on how regular breaks and exercise improve productivity suddenly doesn’t apply to me. I’ll be more productive if I spend all my time staring at the screen, right?
I’ve got to keep it brief this week, lots to do! But I’m taking baby steps to relieve the stress. This week I ran at lunchtime, after a particularly stressful morning. I’ve bought some almonds and bananas to try to replace the biscuits. Maybe on the evening commute I’ll pick my fiction book back up again. But the coffee is staying.