Today in my supervision one of the things we were discussing thinking time and how you measure how much you have done. Apparently I am a good student because I send some written work in about five days before I am due to meet up and this gives us a basis for discussions and where to begin further work. I also do this so that I can give myself a weekend of a few days off doing anything to do with to do with my PhD for the interim.*
I feel that written work gives me a benchmark for that “I have done some work” feeling, I have created something and can show people. However, not all my work can be measured in that way, I think this links back into an earlier post about not being able to concentrate and produce something. We, as PhD students, and others who observe our actions (family and friends) need to be aware that sometimes it is about the thinking space. If I am not sat at a desk or have my head in a book doesn’t mean I am not working on my PhD.
I am not writing this as a dig at anyone, but as something that I have come to acknowledge. Partially through distraction techniques and partially from being told it is ok to just think by my supervisor! Having it confirmed just made it easier to accept. Is doesn’t mean that I am putting my pen down and solely staring into the distance until my next meeting, no, I will just be allowing myself to not sit at the computer or scribble things down or read for a bit to allow my brain some space to put things in order.
Our conversation came about after the suggestion of going on a long walk and mapping out my community in Leicester which is now an action on my “to do” list.
*However this is really thinking time and I end up coming up with new ideas and concepts.