Here’s stuff I’ve gathered both from experience and from other people

  1. Back everything up. Buy an external hard drive, email documents/drafts/pdfs to yourself, use Dropbox. Anything could happen and you always wanna be ready to take it on.
  2. Sleep. Really. Sleep well and comfortably. Take a long shower, turn on the air-conditioner, listen to good music, cuddle a dog. I woke up one morning after a solid 7 hours of sleep (think comfortable pillows and a dog to cuddle), read through my work and went “I can’t believe I’ve been stewing on this for THREE days!!!” Ample rest results to a clearer, more creative line of thought.
  3. Don’t complicate things. If you’re tired — rest. If you don’t like certain parts of your work — make changes. If you can’t meet a deadline — write to whoever’s in charge and ask for an extension. If you feel like you’re not doing well enough — work harder. Moping and complaining takes up time and the same amount of energy you could have invested in fixing whatever was wrong. I’ve been on both ends and moping/complaining is truly a waste of time.
  4. Make friends. With everyone. From all fields. From all walks of life.Both undergrads and postgrads. People you don’t think know very much. People you think are geniuses. You will never know who can bring new perspectives and insights or ideas into your life.
  5. That being said, get in touch with prominent people in your field. E-mail them with your ideas/proposals. Ask for insight. No one can do it alone.
  6. Put first things first to avoid stress.
  7. Take time off. Once in a couple of months, clear a couple of days off your planner, grab a friend or a family member, and go somewhere. Bring a few journal articles along if you feel guilty about “wasting” productivity time but go swim, sight-seeing, sleep in, have breakfast brought to you. Recharge your inner batteries.
  8. Be disciplined. On a daily basis. Throw all excuses out the window and purpose to stick it out whether it’s writing, reading, working on a paper.
  9. Do things right the first time. Don’t make rough copies of everything and put major editing and amendments off for later. When it all piles up, it’s not a pretty sight.
  10. Keep focused. Why are you doing this? Why is this important to you and the people around you? What are your goals and plans? Are you on track? It’s easy to stray so keep a check on yourself every once in a while. You can’t overdo this one.
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