Akash Mitra

Akash Mitra

How to Get More Done as a PhD Student

In this blog post, I will share some of my top PhD productivity hacks to help you get more done and make the most of your doctoral studies. With the right strategies and tools, you can become more efficient and maximize your productivity as a PhD student. So let’s get started and explore how you can become a master of PhD productivity!

Understand Your Why

As a PhD student, it’s essential to understand why you’re pursuing your degree. Understanding why you’re dedicating time and energy to your studies will help keep you motivated and productive. Take some time to think about your ultimate goal and how you’ll get there. Write out a plan and make sure that it’s realistic and achievable. That way, when the going gets tough, and motivation wanes, you can remind yourself of the bigger picture. Understanding the ‘why’ will help you stay focused and get more done as a doctoral student.

Set Realistic Goals

Achieving your PhD is an ambitious goal, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. To make sure you can reach your goals while still enjoying your life, it’s essential to set realistic expectations and goals. When planning your timeline and tasks, start with the end in mind. Consider when you want to finish your degree and plan backwards from there. This will help you create more realistic goals and a doable schedule. Next, break down big projects into smaller, more easily achievable steps. For example, if you are working on a dissertation or research paper, break down the process into manageable chunks, such as outlining the essay, researching sources, writing the introduction, etc. This will help you to stay motivated and focused on your goal without feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, remember to celebrate your progress as you accomplish each milestone. Finally, remember to be flexible with yourself. Life will inevitably throw curve balls your way, and you may need to adjust your timeline accordingly. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to deviate from your plan when required as long as you get back on track when possible. Don’t forget that the goal is to complete your degree on time and with the highest quality work possible—not to achieve perfection in a certain amount of time.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

One of the most important steps to being productive as a PhD student is to create and stick to a schedule. Setting aside specific times for studying, research, and other academic activities is essential. Establishing a routine will help you stay organized, on task, and motivated. Start by setting realistic goals. Break down your long-term goals into smaller tasks that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure to allow time for breaks throughout the day to maintain focus and clarity. Next, find a system that works for you. It can be as simple as writing your daily tasks in a notebook or using digital tools like Google Calendar. Take advantage of these tools to set reminders for yourself and plan for upcoming deadlines. It would help if you also were flexible with your schedule. If something prevents you from completing a task on time, adjust your plan and don’t beat yourself up. Keeping a positive attitude and a flexible mindset is essential for staying productive. Finally, remember to hold yourself accountable. Check off tasks as you complete them and track your progress over time. This will help you stay motivated and celebrate the progress you’ve made. Creating a schedule and sticking to it is critical to getting more done as a PhD student. Utilize systems that work for you, and remember to stay flexible and motivated. This approach allows you to maximize your productivity and reach your academic goals.

Eliminate Distractions

Distractions can be your worst enemy when trying to be productive as a PhD student. Getting caught up in surfing the internet, checking your phone, or engaging in other activities that don’t directly contribute to achieving your goals is easy. To be successful, you must eliminate all distractions. Here are some tips on how to eliminate distractions while working on your doctoral research: • Set a timer: Set a timer for a certain amount of time, and focus on completing a single task before the timer goes off. This will help you stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by other things. • Turn off notifications: Silence or turn off any alarm on your computer or phone. These notifications can easily pull your attention away from the task at hand. • Change your environment: If you find yourself easily distracted in your home office, try changing your work environment. Move to a library, coffee shop, or any other place conducive to productivity. • Take breaks: Don’t be afraid to take regular intervals from your work. Step away from your desk for a few minutes and clear your head. This can help you return to work with a renewed focus. By taking the time to eliminate distractions and stay focused on your goals, you can be more productive as a PhD student. Good luck!

Take Care of Yourself

As a PhD student, you’ll be under immense pressure and stress. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as crucial as your productivity and success. Make sure to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and allow yourself time for leisure activities. Having a healthy work/life balance is essential for staying productive as a PhD student. Too often, doctoral students will neglect self-care in favour of completing their research, which can lead to burnout and depression. Additionally, it’s essential to develop a robust social support system while completing your PhD. Take advantage of resources like counselling services and mental health workshops your university offers. Finally, feel free to ask for help when needed. Many universities offer support services for PhD students struggling academically or personally. Reach out to fellow graduate students, faculty members, and the academic advisor for assistance when needed. Remember to prioritize your physical and mental health as you progress through your PhD program. Taking the time to take care of yourself will ultimately make you more productive in the long run.


As a PhD student, getting bogged down with all the tasks and requirements that come with your program is easy. However, with a few simple steps, you can increase your productivity and progress towards your goals. Firstly, take some time to understand your “why” and what drives you to pursue your degree. Once you have clarity on your purpose, set realistic goals and create a schedule to help you stay on track and eliminate distractions. Finally, make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating healthily, and taking time for yourself. With these tips, you can stay productive and motivated during your PhD program.