Monday, November 5, 2012

Grad school prioritizing

by hockadilly via Flickr
My best friend, Lynn, is currently in a PhD program (which I'm insanely proud of her for!) and asked me for some advice recently regarding prioritizing and how to get everything done in grad school: "How did you organize yourself when you were doing grad school? How did you decide what to work on first? I'm just so paralyzed by the list that I haven't started DOING anything. Any advice would be really appreciated."

Since some of you might be in this same boat, I decided to share my short answer here to spread the love:

You've got a million things that are all important and need to get done and you feel paralyzed because you don't know where to start. I think you should just start somewhere. Don't overthink it. It's all important, so I don't think you can make a wrong move or choice regarding where to start. Start and then when that task is done, move on to the next. Knowing what to do next will stop you from being paralyzed again. Just kind of string it all together so that once you're finished with one thing, you just slide into the next. It's more of a mental thing than anything else and building up momentum really helps. Of course, keep an eye on due dates and work accordingly. It's also helpful to break the big things into smaller chunks and then space them out so that it gets done by the deadline and you don't have to rush around trying to get it all done at the last minute.

Need some more advice about grad school? I've written about how to survive working full-time while going to school full-time (part one and part two) and how to decide if you should work while in school. Have any more questions? Feel free to ask!