Being in the final year of my PhD, I have been through it and seen a bit. I wish to bring on the table some tips on what has actually helped me along the way.
Remain open on the idea that your research would move in varied directions: It is natural that you would devise a path for your PhD at its infancy itself but it is not wise to believe and stay adamant that it would remain on the same path through its course. What is required from your end is to allow it to evolve into a more interesting and meaningful research. The course it may take may something diverse and unthought-of before by you. Keeping a more progressive and enriched experience would provide you with the opportunities to take forward your research with newer avenues so that the thesis could be enriched and evolved in unexplored dimensions.
Develop a good rapport with your supervisor: This is critically important. It is so because it would increase the interest of both you and your supervisor in your project. You of course would be giving your own idea and explanation of your project but looking at it from your supervisors eye can add to the depth of the study and fine tune your research with a more critical and experienced eye. It is after all for your own benefits so do focus on it.
Use a judicious approach to plan time: you know it, I know but still I would state it. It so happens you know when we end up spending a long span of time on an activity that could be done faster. In that process there happens a lot of deviation from where you began. It is then important to keep checking your progress from where you started and work around trying to finish the work in the stipulated time.
Bring variety in your work schedule: If you stick on to one kind of work and drag it along there is going to be monotony in your life. If you feel that one facet of your work becomes dry and draggy, quickly transit towards another periphery. Use all sections of your brain equally and go back to the work when you feel refreshed and energised again.
Take out time for friends: If you get too immersed and engrossed in your PhD, it can become a very isolating journey. To be able to maintain the momentum, it is important to have some people in your life, especially those who aren’t doing their PhD. It will bring in flavours in your life that would continue to maintain the excitement and charm of your life and keep away boredom.
Remember, it only is a PhD: Keep a constant reminder to yourself that after all it is just a qualification. Each individual is unique, distinct and the success or failure of others should not have an impact on you.
Last but not the least, Let yourself be you and you PhD be the PhD. Do not end up becoming your PhD