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How to Stay Motivated During Your Ph.D.


Once so driven and full of energy, during the second or third year of getting your Ph.D. many face a total lack of motivation and, we even dare to say, an emotional burnout. It seems like everything you do is worthless. You haven’t received the expected results, and the whole idea reached a dead end. 

How to motivate yourself into getting out of bed and writing your dissertation? We’ve talked to doctorates who obtained their degrees and managed to stay motivated towards their goal. Here’s the list of 7 things you should do to keep your chin up. 

1.Set Time Limits and Plan

In order not to get lost in your research, always set deadlines and outline the goals you want to achieve within a particular time limit. This is how you can track the progress of your investigation, and most importantly, this is what helps you stay focused and not get distracted. In addition to that, it will be easier for your supervisor to monitor your project, and as a result you’ll receive some useful feedback. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help if you feel extremely unmotivated. There are a few dissertation help sites that can help you at any point of the process of writing your dissertation.

2. Get Inspired with the Like-Minded

Needless to say, when you’re working with a team that is on the same wavelength as you, it’s much easier to stay motivated. If you didn’t get lucky with a team, find like-minded researchers who you can discuss your ideas with. Such talks and discussions are often very productive and definitely inspiring. A bit of inspiration from time to time will fuel your motivation.

3. Read and Read Again

Read as much as you can. Reading the papers is food for thoughts and ideas. Ask any researcher and they will claim that it’s an essential part of staying motivated. Comparing already existing ideas to your own, analyzing, and digging into the depth of some topic will give the opportunity to see the big picture of your investigation. When you see the big picture, all the small troubles just fade away.

4. Take a Chill Pill

It’s vital to relax. Even if you don’t give yourself a break from time to time, your brain will just explode, and you’ll find yourself at the edge of a nervous breakdown. That is why, make sure you have days of total rest. Spend quality time with your friends and family. Get recharged. You’ll see how productive the rest days may be, as soon as you get back to work after a good weekend.

5. Consider Turning to a Professional

It is known that anxiety and depression have long become common things for students getting the Ph.D. For this reason, there’s nothing wrong in turning to a professional if you feel you can’t take it on your own. 

“Sometimes when you don’t see the point anymore, you may need to talk to someone who will listen. Moreover, you can talk to people who have already been through depression while studying for Ph.D. You’ll see that you’re not alone and it will already be comforting,” says Adam Simon, Ph.D. student and editor at LegitWritingServices.

6. Celebrate Successes

It goes without saying that small successes matter. For one thing, it gives you the satisfaction that you’re headed in the right direction and for another, it truly boosts your mood. As a result, you’ll feel more motivated. What is more, it would be a great idea to celebrate your coworkers’ achievements as well as your own. Celebrating helps you get focused on the idea of your research rather than on small failures.

7. Take care of Your Health

Last but not least is taking care of your health. It’s just essential to eat well, sleep well and exercise. You know that lack of food may lower your blood glucose level, so it may become more difficult to concentrate. Plus, your brain needs great nutrition to stay productive. Not to mention the necessity of good-night sleep. As my grandma always puts it “One hour in the morning is like 2 hours at night”, so don’t hesitate to go to bed earlier, and rest. Finally, take up some sports, as it will help you to get your mind off the project and concentrate better.

As you can see, it’s possible to keep yourself motivated and finish your Doctor of Philosophy degree. We know it’s difficult to stay as driven as you were at the very beginning. Still, you can always change your perspective, distance yourself from all the troubles you’ve been through and most importantly be honest with yourself. Keep in mind that you’re not alone losing your motivation, many of us have been there, and as the saying goes “After the darkest night comes the brightest day,” So we believe in you and “Yes, you can”.