The process of learning is full of distractions, always. So can we say that the process lacks efficiency? This is truer when we talk of PhD students because the PhD journey is full of distractions.
There came a stage in my PhD when I felt the work was not moving forward. Assuming that I had a lot of distractions in my life like social networking, friends to name a few. I completely shunned myself from all these. But there were new distractions. Even something insignificant as a refrigerator became my source of distraction. Food became a distraction and so many other things which were never on my list of priorities were all that I wanted to do for wiling away time.
I am not the only one and a lot of PhD students go through similar kind of distractions. Being aware of what kind of zone we are kind of getting into, still compulsively we find ways to vile away time. One of the most guilt free, gratifying and easiest way to waste time and still believe you have done something concrete for a PhD student is to do article hunting. It is one of the most safe work avoidance strategies and ironically the most satisfying. I have been involved in this like all other PhD students I have read about and spoken to and I call this as information addiction, where hunting information is a task you want to keep doing all day. Technically, the reason and analysis behind this is that searching information causes a big rush of a hormone called “ dopamine” into the brain which is also called “reward hormone”. It is a stimulus that makes one feel elated over achieving something. Whether the reward brings significant, ir sometimes even diminishing returns, the brain gets tuned to receiving the reward stimuli from time to time. Almost every PhD student is personally addicted to the craving for more and more information and the sense of achievement that follows it and that in another words is PhD addiction with diminishing returns. Why do you think it has diminishing returns? Perhaps because often we are only hooked to collecting information, more after more and never really actually get into reading it to understand its relevance. Does it not mean that you are actually addicted your PhD or one of its element?
Some of my virtual friends can actually throw some more light on this and tell me ways in which we can “control” the desire for constant information and the elated feeling following it. Your advices and inputs are welcome.