So far, doing a PhD, has basically been a long writing task, interspersed with meetings, reading and thinking. What the books don’t tell you, however, is how hungry you get.
Since I started my PhD I have been very hungry. The kitchen draw is now filled with ‘PhD’ snacks, which the man is banned from eating. My snacks are nuts, dark chocolate, dried fruit, oat-cakes, peanut butter, bananas, and the list goes on. It’s so important to eat well when you are studying, better food, means better words.
The other issue, is the need to find a rhythm to working, and take breaks. My usual habit of walks in our local nature reserve are now even more essential. Sometimes I take a break by doing house work, running round the house. It doesn’t require any thought and is an opportunity to move. My favourite type of break is a music break. Being a musician, writing about music, I can’t listen to music when I am working. So as a reward I allow myself to listen to a current favourite track, when a task is finished.
Everyone has to find their individual way of working, when a task is so long and intensive. What works one week, might be different the next week. The key is to recognise how you are that day, and think what you need to do to look after yourself for the day. Sometimes I don’t manage this and end up lying under the desk, but on other days, the rhythm is right and the words flow.