Mornings of a PhD Student

Hello! I'm Irina and ever since I started grad school (PhD for Cognitive Science), my mornings have been all over the place. There is no strict schedule for when I have to do my research so I've been getting up at random times whenever I felt like it, unless I had an early morning class to teach or to take. This lack of a basic schedule has been both a blessing and a curse. I can work whenever I feel like but I've lost motivation to over the years. So here I am, 3 years later (and 2 more to go in my program) and I'm wanting to set my own schedule that will keep me accountable and prevent me from getting lazy and unmotivated.

Daily focus

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Skill-building (Coursera, Udacity, Codeacademy, etc.). This is one of the most important parts of my daily routine, as it will help me widen what I'm able to do after I finish grad school, which is why I set it to happen three times a week.

  • Tuesday/Thursday: Artistic/creative focus. One of my favorite hobbies is photography and I want to be able to play around with it without feeling guilty about how I should be doing something more productive (i.e. dissertation research). I've also been wanting to learn how to draw so this could be the time I do that as well.

  • Saturday/Sunday: Fun & games. This is my time to relax before getting things ready for teaching or other deadlines during the rest of the day so I want to set aside time to relax and watch one of my shows I've been putting off or play one of the video games in my much-too-large Steam library.

Morning Routine

  • 7:00: Wake up, brush teeth, etc.

  • 7:10: Briefly jot down thoughts in my journal (I use the Five Minute Journal app)

  • 7:20: Short meditation session (I use the Headspace app)

  • 7:30: Yoga (I use various yoga apps - Yoga Studio and Pocket Yoga)

  • 8:00: More intensive exercise such as HIIT or circuit training (I primarily use the Fitocracy app)

  • 8:30: Shower, feed the cats, coffee and breakfast

  • 9:00: Daily focus (see above)

  • 10:00: Start the rest of the day! Plan out what I'm going to do (research, meal planning, grocery shopping, teaching, whatever else the day has in store)

Evening Plan

There's no specific routine for the evening because each day is very different but here are some things I would like to accomplish during this time:

  • Read (>= 30 min): I have a massive to-read list and my boyfriend bought me a kindle a while ago so I want to finally use it on a regular basis and finish all those books I've meant to read

  • Drink more water (< 5 min): I probably didn't get enough during the day so before I start reading and prepping for bed, I want to make sure to get some extra hydration with something like coconut water

  • Evening journal (5-10 min): The phone app I use has a morning journaling option as well as an evening option so this is where I'd revisit it and add another entry.


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