So this PhD is taking longer than expected. Currently, I am contracted for 5 years on what was originally a 4 year degree programme. The blame on the delay is hard to place. Crappy results, crappy experiments, crappy plans, poor motivation as a result of the above...
Then things started "working" - and by that I mean I got some interesting results. Without boring everyone with the details, It could be 5 1/4 years before I finish now. I would like to finish in 2018 but it could be Q1 2019 before I actually defend if I look at things realistically.
Some things have to change to get done.
There have been a couple of media influences recently that have made me realise something I know I already knew. My attention span has been shot to shit by my bad internet practices. (those links are well worth checking out, even if the last is a long podcast)
tl;dr writing is hard because I can't focus on anything.
My solution for this is to try a few things - not as extreme as CGP Greys nuclear option of removing everything (yet)
- Facebook is deleted/deactivated (again).
- Block is installed on my phone to block reddit, twitter, instagram, during work hours.
- Many apps (BBC news) uninstalled off phone entirely.
- The big one. Cold Turkey installed on my work laptop. This is set up to block "time wasting" websites of my choosing.
Some things I have somewhat under control. Podcasts are strictly for when I'm doing brainless tasks like certain lab work, or walking/running. I can't work on tasks requiring concentration while hearing voices anyway (hence my penchant for instrumental music)
Cold Turkey (CT) is hard core. Literally can't trick or cheat it. I allow myself 30 min a day on those websites, which during a 10h work day isn't crazy in 5 min breaks. Yesterday, that wasn't a problem. Today that time was nearly gone by lunch. It makes me only guess at the hundreds of hours I may have wasted over the last 4-5 years.
I'm really doing this far too late if I'm honest with myself. I felt my attention slipping a couple years ago, being poisoned by the search for the next hit of novelty. Reading a book has become impossible, reading a scientific paper a drawn out torture. Even writing this post, I find myself having to hold back urges to check the news/twitter/whatever to keep myself entertained.
CGP Grey is doing 4 months locked away from highly addictive sources of media: never-ending scrolling feeds, sources of flicking between the same 2-3 apps for hours. I know I should do something similar. Going full Cold Turkey would be hard right now. I want to allow myself time for these things after work hours. If there was an app that only allowed me access if I had written a thousand words a day that might work...