How is it possible to have the same rate of progress in your PhD, throughout your tenure? It is bound to vary. Some days/weeks/months would be those months in which you would be able to see the progress that would make you feel elated and proud and then suddenly there would be that sluggish span when you feel that things aren’t doing that good for you. The work that should have finished in weeks would be taking months to wind up. It is indeed frustrating to feel stuck with no progress as it leads to a feeling that is a challenge to cope up with. So, what is the way to hang in there or better ensure that you are able to maintain your rate of progress at your desired level?
It is actually possible to get a lot of work done by ensuring that you have regular short terms targets. Suiting to your convenience, they could be daily, weekly or monthly. But just mentally setting targets may not be enough. Make sure that when you set targets for yourself you have jotted them down somewhere and if possible also informed someone close to you about it. When you know that you have another person who is in loop of what is your rate of progress like, there is a brighter chance that you would not give up on it and ensure that you don’t just live up to your own expectations but also the ones you have set for you in other’s eyes.
It is normal to feel the writer’s block in between, it is normal and natural for all writers to face that challenge. One major cause of this can be when you have set high standards for yourself. Remember that higher or unrealistic targets are a major cause of writers block or a feeling of a paralysed researcher. Try to go down to a more narrow and broken down challenge and you would see things getting untangled and solutions erupting for problems from even the simplest of efforts.
Still, if ever you have a problem that leaves you with no solution at all and you feel that you are in cobweb that is difficult to break. Go slow but steady, try to go as simple as only working one hour in a day, gradually you would see that your brain sorts out things by itself and you are getting back into the flow. Remember that if you could have that pace of work once, you can have it again too. All that is required is to be just equally clear about your goal not just one day but all days!!