Doing a PhD is, I think, a bit like doing the Olympic marathon. Perhaps unfortunately, however, I am definitely a sprinter when it comes to producing work and this is probably the reason that my Masters went so well compared to my Doctorate (so far). I have been hoping that the sprint-mentality will kick in soon (I have just over a year to go, which isn’t really very long in PhD terms.)
The shock of the last two weeks has effectively prevented me from working on my thesis and given me a tiny bit of time, in-between everything else, to re-evaluate the whole process.
I realised today that I haven’t really taken a break during the last two years. I don’t mean that I haven’t had holidays (I have) or that I have been doing nothing other than researching and writing (if that were true I would be finished by now!) What I mean is, I haven’t taken any significant period of time, haven’t had any major “head space” away from the PhD. It consumes my thoughts, even if I am away or not working. The main feeling is one of guilt – a negative energy that propels me forward but which feels incredibly gruelling and leads, necessarily, to self-doubt, procrastination and, on occasion, genuine despair. This is not productive, good energy.