It is simply impossible to be 16 / 7 (minus 8 hours’ sleep from 24 each day) focused on research. Not practical even 7 / 5 (subtracting 1 hour’s lunch time from 8 each working day). Especially difficult during fieldwork, as tiredness from commutes to interviews, new friends, tourist attractions, and enthusiasm to learn a new language are all potential distractions. Sometimes I see PhD as “procrastinating hopeless dissertation”, and wonder whether I will ever finish it.
Yet I recently discovered a best solution to procrastination: Japanese style research seminars. These seminars are organised by faculties and involve research students at both the PhD and Master’s levels who are under the same supervisor. Seminars are held once a week, lasting about 1.5 hours if there is one presentation and 2.5 hours if there are two. Each participant usually presents twice each term, making it 4 times each academic year. PhD students usually go to two seminars, led by their first and second supervisors, separately. The flaring difference from seminars I participated in King’s is research seminars are a compulsive module of research degrees in Japan, and the presence of the supervisor is guaranteed. In that case, participants have to think seriously about their thesis and make progress, great or trivial, at least 8 times during one academic year.
Inspired by these seminars, I set deadlines for myself every two months, and announced them to my supervisors. Hopefully my self-esteem (already declining since I started the PhD, though) won’t allow me to procrastinate anymore!