During my 9-months research scholarship in Bremen (financed by DAAD) I attended a few workshops organised by ProUB centrum. One of it “Self and time management” leaded by Sabine Lerch changed my life totally.

I learned:

  • how to treat my PhD thesis as a project
  • how to organise my work
  • how to avoid distractions
  • how to recognise my natural work rhythm
  • how to keep life-work balance

We were discussing also our values, and what motivate us. We wrote on cards private (red cards) and professional (blue cards) values:


On the photos a result of the workshop – my PhD thesis as the project and Gantt chart for the writing.

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I was totally depressed right after the workshop. I realised that I cannot write the thesis in the time which I wanted. I needed to rethink my research concept, and the most important – learn new way of working.

My goals (red cards) and questions (white cards) for the workshop were following:


Before Sabine I had worked in very chaotic way. I had had moments of very hard work when deadline was coming – I didn’t sleep on nights, I was forgetting to eat, I didn’t have time for my Husband and Friends, I didn’t have time for myself to do sport or to read for pleasure. When there was no deadline I spent most of the time on distractions, housekeeping, chatting (sometimes similar like here http://theawkwardyeti.com/comic/28-0626-onequicklook/). I wasn’t taught systematic work, and “life-work balance” was some mysterious term. I worked in very ineffective way, therefore I was more exhausted than I should, because I didn’t plan my work properly and I wasn’t able to control distractions.

Before the workshop our task was to make “time logs” during 2-3 days to realise how we spend our working days. In my case my working time was chopped in very short slots, with a lot of chatting and distractions in between.


After the workshop I have been training and gradually I have been changing my work-style. The process is still in progress…

P.S. This workshop also changed my life because I met there one of my important Friend 🙂


Useful links:

http://www.daad.pl/pl/index.html – Polish central of DAAD

https://www.daad.de/en/ – German DAAD website

http://www.uni-bremen.de/forschung/junge-talente/promotionszentrum-universitaet-bremen-proub.html – ProUB website

http://www.science.sabinelerch.de/ – Sabine Lerch website

http://theawkwardyeti.com/ – The Awkward Yeti cartoons by Nick Seluk