The Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Researchers

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Being a productive and successful PhD student is not easy.  There are a multitude of distractions and procrastination activities to fill up any long day in the office.  As I am now in the final 12 months of my PhD, attending a seminar that promised to provide practical tips on how to finish my PhD on time and still enjoy the process sounded highly appealing.

The event, organised by the Bristol Doctoral College and the University of Bristol Careers Service, was run by Hugh Kearns and focused on being a successful research student.  He presented hints and tips to help PhD students work more effectively and gave a lot of practical advice on how to get through the PhD process.  Overall, I found the event really useful and I would highly recommend the event to other PhD students.  Since the event, I have been putting some of Hugh’s tips into practice and found myself to be more productive in the office.

For students that were unable to attend the event, here is my overview of Hugh’s seven secrets:

  1. Meet regularly with your supervisor.
  2. Write and show as you go.
  3. Have realistic research goals – try not to be a perfectionist.
  4. Say no to distractions – checking your email first thing in the morning decreases daily productivity.
  5. Set regular hours and take holidays – reward yourself with a break.
  6. Make full use of the available help – you’re not on your own!
  7. Persevere – you can do it!!

For more information, take a look at the informative careers columns from Hugh Kearns in the journal Nature, with topics on ‘The Motivation Fairy’, ‘The Care and Maintenance of your supervisor’ and ‘Turbocharge your writing’.

Gemma Coxon, PhD student

Further information and support of how to manage the PhD process can be found on the Vitae website.  The Balanced Researcher offers some useful strategies and techniques to keep your work and the rest of your life in balance.

The University of Bristol Careers Service offers specific events, workshops and careers adviser support for PhD students.

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