It may seem odd to some people but it is not unusual to feel sometimes worthless or hopeless. Especially, when you are not able to focus on your work or complete the tasks that you have assigned to yourself. Ph.D. life is full of ups and downs. Some plans or strategies may not be as useful as one has thought them to be. And of course, covid19 has brought more difficulties to your academic life. You cannot have full access to public libraries, conferences, and seminars. So you may feel unproductive or worthless. But you have to learn how to overcome these feelings and start working again. These are some tips that you may find helpful:
- Take your time: whatever be the reason for not working efficiently is justified. Everyone has his/her own ways to dealing things. Do not compare yourself with others. Take your time and start again.
- Make short goals and track them: Make realistic goals. If they are short, it would be easier to track them. It would help in building confidence in you which is important for you mental health.
- Write a paragraph daily: Write a paragraph about what you understand. It will help to see the structure of your manuscript or at least to understand whether you really follow your readings.
- Take care of you physical and mental health: Your physical and mental health is important for your productivity. You must take a balance diet and try to seek help if your mental health is not well.
- Progress is imporatant, not perfection: Always evalute yourself by your progress. You must understand that no one can attain perfection. You can only improve yourself further.
Ph.D. is a long journey. You need to take small steps consistently. You may feel that you are behind the schedule or you just stop pursuing it altogether. But you have to understand these are just some bad times that shall pass. Whenever you feel low, try to think about the progress you have made. Take a break if you need. You must keep working or at least keep trying to start working again. The end result will always be satisfactory. The realization that everything will be alright at the end of the day will help you to deal with the mental stress.