Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I (am still) learning from 'Ummi vs PhD' - 2

There is much that I have learned from experience, most often, the hard way. My PhD life is an experiment itself!

  • Plan - organize what you need to do. Make a list. Prioritise your tasks, just in case a child gets sick or some other crisis occurs. Leaving things till the last minute is a recipe for disaster. Sort out which topics most need your attention. 
  • Get a calendar, and USE IT! This is to help you to keep track of all the datelines assigned to you in the midst of keeping track of when to pay bills, helping kids with homework, making grocery lists and other random household tasks that fall under your domain.
  • Keep life simple. Personally, I plan the family menu and make one trip to the grocery store every three weeks. I cheat during cooking (by using cooking paste). 
  • Yes I cheat, but's its tasty!
    • Get your family on board in cleaning up - clearing the toys, kitchen counter, table top etc.
    • Process your laundry at night, so that you can hang up the clothes early in the morning, then forget about it till late afternoon. Teach your kids to fold their own clothes.
  •  Set priorities. When you are doing your research, it can consume your life. You eat, sleep and breathe your research. But for me, it is more important to be there for my family, and particularly, to be a good wife and mom. Sometimes, the choice is between my child's needs and my own need to study, and each situation is assessed differently. I try to do special things with my husband and children, like an outing to the nearby beach, an ice cream trip or a movie night in the dark living room, or just chit-chatting with them. 
    Photo sessions - an activity enjoyed by all!

  • Don't be too hard on yourself. There will be days that is not as productive as others. But there are other days that you can triple your work when the momentum is on the high. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going! We can do it!
    • Dont forget to take a break. Sneak out to a coffee shop with your lap top. Do your literature review in style!
  • Set your study area - wherever you are, make sure that your study area is comfortable and has what you need close by. Get the books you need, laptops, pens, highlighters, calculator, a water bottle (filled!) etc. That way when you have time to study you won't waste it sorting out your study area or getting distracted.
  • Short and sweet - Don't rule out half-an-hour study sessions. You may feel that you need a long session to learn, but you'll be amazed what you can learn in 30 minutes. Thirty minute blocks of study here and there soon add up.
Semi-cranky Fawwaz on the lap while Ummi's trying (her very best) to do her content analysis.

May Allah eases our journey to capture some tiny bits of His sea of knowledge.
Ya Fattah, please grant us overflowing ideas in making our research right and meaningful.
Ya Salaam, please bestow us peace and help us to make this journey as stress-free as possible.
Ya Razzaq, please provide us great blessings and more rezqi in our lives.
Ya Hafeez, please protect us from being lazy, protect us from being depress.
Ya Baasit, please expand our knowledge and let us think outside the box.
Ya Ghaffuur, please forgive us...

Aamin Ya Rabbal 'aalamin.

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