Time-management – or the lack of it – is one of the most common reasons for stress and anxiety during doctoral studies. Usually doctoral students possess very good time-management and self-management skills, but for some reason or another, they are not able to utilize these skills properly in the post-graduate, academic environment. This is where I come into the picture.

If you have previously been able to be self-directed and use efficient time-management strategies, but you just don’t seem to get things done at the moment, don’t worry. I am here to help. And if you, after reading my advice on time-management strategies, still find it hard to manage your time and your work, it would probably be a good idea to talk to someone about how to increase you motivation or support your wellbeing.

Before I dive into the tips, I want to remind you to go easy on yourself. It is totally normal to lose motivation during a large crisis like this ongoing pandemic or during a personal crisis. All of a sudden you realize that you don’t have any interest in writing, reading or doing anything related to work.

Do not despair.

I know that you are able and good at what you do, it’s just the upside-down world that messes with your motivation. When you have realized this and perhaps practiced some self-compassion, you can move on to the next step.

Take a moment to think about how you work – what works and what doesn’t? I especially want you to focus on strategies that have worked in the past but you find difficult to do right now. What environment has been good for your efficiency? Did to do lists work for you? Do you work best during office hours or do you need to scatter your effective time throughout the day?

Take a moment to be compassionate towards yourself and to think about successful time-management strategies from the past.

Once you have gathered some of your best practices from the past, you might notice that you all of a sudden already have some tools at your disposal. Well done!

If you want more, you can pick and choose some tools from Time-management techniques for your time-management toolbox. See more information about these tools by clicking their headings. These time-management tips are also available at the Aalto psychologists’ pages in Into.

I’ve also gathered some exercises for you to try out

The important thing to remember is that, what works for someone else, might not work for you. You have to find your own ‘best practices’ and no-one else can know what they are, but you.

Experiment with what works for you. Not everything will.

BTW: Check out the course “Time to get cracking” for Aalto students (also doctoral students).

Here is also my podcast episode on the subject.