Since my first post about my PhD struggles I haven’t posted anything for five months. I got much more productive shortly afterwards. Back then I started being open with my struggles, which included writing about them, but also talking about them with colleagues. Being open about that is definetly important. It had helped and I subsequently did a lot of progress, which was good because conference deadlines were coming up. I was actually quite happy about that, because my supervisors started meeting with me very regularly and I enjoyed this, almost as if that were socializing. I’m definetly like feeling part of a team.

In the end not everything turned out as I had hoped, part of which was not under my control, but nonetheless I’m happy with the experiences and progress that I did.

However, in that time I didn’t have much time to update this blog. For me writing is like therapy, it relaxes me, provides reflexion and perspective and I feel like writing gives me some control back over my life. Thus, when things are going well, when my life has structure and a good routine, I don’t really need that additional control anymore (though I still think it helps). And as a result, almost forgot about this blog.

In case you were wondering during that time if I’m still alive, kept active on twitter and via a crossposter on mastodon.

Today I got motivation to take it up again, because I got an email comment 1 from someone telling me that they’d love to read more. This made my day 🤩. I can barely believe that someone found this and went through the trouble of messaging me, despite it not being much advertised anywhere. One of my greatest desires whenever I do something is create something of value 2. And even if only a single person sees value in something, that’s a lot of motivation to keep going.

The timing is currently good because the post-conference summer is more relaxed now. At the same time, I sometimes have difficulties when there is little external pressure giving me structure, so I’ll try to work on my own systems and habits, on of which might be writing.

So far I had been writing mostly when I was not feeling well, which might give this blog a selection bias and readers might think that I’m a pessimistic, fearful procrastinator, while most of the time I’m quite the contrary, only occasionally I have such moods.

I still have to find a niche what to write here. Should I mostly write personal things? Tell more about my hobbies? Post pictures? Those things might also overlap heavily with my twitter. Or should I strictly write professional programming posts so that I can link this blog to my linkedin? I’m not sure, I guess I’ll just write and see what will become of this.

Cheers, Michael

  1. : If you’d also like to submit an email comment, see the instructions here↩︎

  2. : I found that the desire to create value quickly can also result in procrastination. For my research, as typical in academia, I often have to put in weeks of frustrating work until I can show a useful result and am lucky enough that the data makes sense. I found that I enjoy procrastinating by writing software tools to make an analysts life more comfortable, because often I can create something useful in a couple of days and don’t have to worry about issues with the data. It’s not just useless “immediate gratification” vs. something useful long-term, there are often useful projects with faster (but not immediate) gratification vs. long-term with weeks until you see progress. But sometimes the latter are those that really matter. This is why most anti-procrastination guides tell you to split your work into small managable chunks, do pomodoros intervalls etc. ↩︎