Hello and a very warm welcome to How to Finish Your PhD in a Pandemic. Finishing a PhD is tough at any time, but 2020 has presented additional challenges. Perhaps your original plan is no longer viable and you’re running out of time. You’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done and there’s no clear path. In this course, I’ll help you get back on track with your thesis. We’ll clarify your aims, map out some alternative routes, and create an achievable plan.
My name is Catherine Pope. I’ve worked with more than 3,000 PhD students over the last six years. Until early this year, I used to scamper around the South East, delivering workshops. Now I’m trapped in this room, but I’m still here to give you the encouragement and guidance you need to reach the finish line.
By the end of the course, you’ll have the necessary confidence and clarity to take your next steps. I’ll share with you coaching exercises, planning techniques, and downloadable resources.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Firstly, we’ll think about mindset. The pandemic has changed so much about how we live and work and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. We tend to focus on the problem, rather than on the solution. By adopting a growth mindset, we can overcome these challenges and find different ways of making progress.
Also, we’ll think more closely about what’s required for a PhD. Sometimes, we make things overly complicated for ourselves and end up trying to do too much. By simplifying your project, you can make it more achievable. It’s all about working out the least you need to do – I’ll introduce the idea of the Minimum Viable Thesis. We’ll look at the typical structure of a thesis so you can assess what you’ve done and how much work is left to do.
Once you have a clearer sense of what you need to do, we can start working out how it’s going to happen. We’ll look at some of those obstacles and find ways of overcoming them. There are always alternatives, and sometimes they’re even better than the original! And we’ll calculate how much time you have left and what compromises might be necessary.
I’ll share some planning techniques that’ll help you break your project down into sprints or blocks of time. Then we’ll assess your priorities to make sure that you have enough space in your week to make consistent progress.
We’ll also consider the supervisory relationship and what you need from your supervisors at each stage.
In the final module, we’ll focus on what you do each day. By creating a realistic schedule and developing positive habits, you can stay on track without putting too much pressure on yourself. I’ll show you proven techniques for improving focus, boosting productivity, and looking after your health.
Usually, we’re good at finding ways of making things harder for ourselves. Instead, we’re going to find ways of becoming more efficient, so we free up time and energy for other activities. I’ll recommend some tools that can help you in all aspects of your PhD, and beyond.
In the conclusion, I’ll bring everything together then guide you through developing an Action Plan.
You can use this course in any way you like – either start at the beginning and work your way through, or hop around to any video that takes your fancy. You can come back at any time. I hope you find the course useful.
Right, let’s get started.