When writing a PhD thesis, one important component to consider is your workspace. While you may think that you can work in any environment, there is something to be said about having a quiet, organised space of your own in which to study. Time, money, and lack of space are often what prevent a PhD student from creating their own area to work; after all, many of you are living on a stipend or abbreviated income during some or all of your studies. Fortunately, you do not need a lot of money or square metres to create a suitable workspace.
If you are a PhD student, consider the following tips to create an inspiring workspace:
Keep Your Boundaries Clear
One of the first steps to creating an inspiring workspace is to set clear boundaries, particularly when you live with others. If you live alone, simply choose an extra bedroom or the corner of a seldom-used area in your home as an office. If you have roommates or a family, you may have to set up your workspace in your bedroom or in a quiet, infrequently used corner.
Whatever space you choose, always designate that area as your boundary. Never let papers, books, and other materials dedicated to your doctorate degree leave that area. Setting a boundary can prevent your workspace from taking over the rest of your home and creating chaos in your household.
Consider Your Budget
The next thing to think about is your budget. Since many PhD students do not have a wealth of extra money, the last thing you should do is sink thousands of pounds into an office space. First, decide what type of work you will be doing in this space. Will you be writing or reading? Sketching or researching? Consider investing in one or two more expensive items while saving on the less significant things. For instance, if you will be spending hours of time sitting at the computer, invest in a good chair with arm supports. Then purchase your other items inexpensively or even second hand. Thrift stores are ideal places to find desks, filing cabinets, and other pieces to outfit your office.
Display Items That Motivate You
Let’s face it—after working for weeks and months on your PhD thesis, there will be times when you feel less inspired to research and write. When this happens, it is a good idea to look at something around you that motivates you to continue on. Display some things that make you feel encouraged and excited. You can find some inexpensive—or even free—clip art and inspirational quotes online that you can print out and frame for the walls in your workspace.
You can also display items that excite you about what you are studying. If you are an anthropologist, consider having some artefacts that you have collected displayed in your space. If you are writing a PhD thesis in music, some classic, vintage sheet music framed on the walls is a nice reminder of what enthuses you about your area of study.
Develop a Way to Remain Organised
Working on your PhD is going to be a hectic time in your life, and that can quickly become evident in your workspace if an organisational system is not put into place. With all those research papers, items relating to teaching responsibilities and anything else that you are involved in, it can quickly add up to be a colossal mess! Create a routine for keeping your office organised and your paperwork filed away in a neat and orderly fashion. Add in a day on the calendar to do a sweep of your office to ensure it is clean and tidy. Perhaps take 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon to go through and file paperwork and clear off your desktop. Taking this simple step is very effective to your psyche and can help you become more productive.
Creating a dedicated space to work on your PhD thesis and research can be very inspiring. With these tips, you will be able to have a dream space to fully concentrate on your goals.