PhD Diary – December 2020

Happy New Year! I hope that the holiday season has been a nice break away from what has been a less than ideal year. For me, the fortnight away was a great opportunity to come back to my work with a fresh, motivated mind. As such, there are not a lot of new topics to discuss.

I have been working on strategies to address some of the issues discussed in my previous entries. This involves separating my work and social life, since nowadays this all happens online. The idea of a time to stop working which I talked about in the last post has helped keep me from burning myself out. But I often get distracted without a rigid schedule, which is where the Pomodoro technique comes in.

A brief outline is 25 minutes of work followed by a five-minute break to check social media, grab a coffee, and so on. Repeat this four times and then take a longer break of 10-30 minutes, which becomes one Pomodoro cycle. Having periods of work and rest prevents distractions, helping me be more productive without burning out. In the past, I have only used this method with an impending deadline, usually assignments. So, it has been a challenge to follow this technique in a less intense environment that has a lot more distractions. To remedy this takes good old practice and repetition to make this a habit. There are many articles that discuss how to form healthy habits, such as having incentives or being consistent.

Having picked up the guitar for the first time during lockdown, I found I was most consistent with practice when I told myself “Okay, let’s go do my guitar practice today”. I want to try and make my work as routine as possible and having something that has worked for me in the past should make that easier.

As for the actual work undertaken last month, progress has been steady. There is now a key focus on where the literature is going, and which research is relevant for the work I aim to output. A consideration for me over the past month is exactly who or where the outputs of this project is oriented towards. I have a strong idea on those who would get the most out of such outputs, but I have considered who else would benefit. Understanding this helps give the project direction, which in turn narrows down the specific question(s) that the project aims to answer.

Looking forward, I want to merge the research and the project’s aims to ensure that the outputs are relevant and bring new knowledge to the field of esports research. Also, I want to further my outreach and participation in the researcher community. I still am worried that I am not qualified enough to have my say in discussions, which is due to impostor syndrome and inexperience. One way to address that is to get involved in topics I am interested in to test the waters & limits of my knowledge now. There is no time like the present.

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