How hard do you work at it?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psych84, 05.12.14.

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  1. psych84

    psych84 Account on Hold Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    For those of you doing graduate work, how much work is it compared to undergrad? How many hours a day do you spend studying/doing research/etc? Obviously everyone is different but do you get much time to do other things?
     
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  3. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    typically 40 hours m-f. Usually something off and on on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
     
  4. CheetahGirl

    CheetahGirl Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    How do we find time for anything else? Uh, we don't and then something is sacrificed, or you make it a priority (like "date night" w/ my spouse, family vacations, or my daily run/workout) and then your priorities get worked into your busy schedule.

    I admittingly spent about 60 hours a week (and that may or may not include reading time - just depends on what I was reading for what & when) on course work, paper writing, seeing clients/patients, research tasks (for my Graduate RA position & my individual research), supervision, practicums, report writing (for assessment), general patient notes/reports. I've always had young children during my doctoral program so I usually dedicate the weekends to my kids & spouse (but would work on papers or writing in the evening after they were asleep if needed).

    I like to think clinical training becomes a "way of life" that prepares you for practice, but I'm hoping full-time "work" will be less intense as my past 6 years.
     
    Last edited: 05.12.14
  5. psycscientist

    psycscientist 5+ Year Member

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    First year when it was mostly classes, I was at 40 hours/week. Once research ramped up and practicums started, my typical week was more like 60 hours. It can get very busy and time management skills are important to maintaining balance.
     
  6. Lisa44201

    Lisa44201 2+ Year Member

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    I'm at 50-60 hours a week (I have a full-time salaried position at the University in addition to being a full-time grad student). I'm in the office shortly after 7AM, and leave shortly after 5PM, Monday through Friday. When I got pregnant with my first child (who is now nearly 7), my husband and I made a rule that if she was up, our attention was focused on her; that means we're not on our computers, doing schoolwork, etc. Because I'm in the office at 7AM, I get a lot of work done early in the morning. When I do need to work at home on the weekends, I do so after the kids have gone to bed.
     
  7. CheetahGirl

    CheetahGirl Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    I agree with Lisa44201...for any doctoral grad students who are parents & looking for tips on the work-life balance: When my kids are around, my work is put away...and vice versa (when I'm in a time-crunch to finish some "important" work, I get lost so my kids are not tempted by my presence). Otherwise (if you don't find a good balance), you're potentially doing crappy/half-focused work and you're only partially available to your offspring - both of which can be detrimental to your future.​
     
    Last edited: 05.13.14
  8. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    I have 2 children and thank the good Lord we waited until I was done until having them. Hats off to ther people that can balance that stress.
    I work 45 hours a week now, but when I come home I dont do a damn thing except play daddy (and watch Homeland). I read lit and treatment manuals and junk almost entirely at the office.
     
  9. psych84

    psych84 Account on Hold Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    Any tips on maintaining concentration for longer periods of time?

    I have found a good way to study (to retain information) but focus can be an issue.
     
  10. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    Meth...
     
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  11. CheetahGirl

    CheetahGirl Clinical Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Erg923, you are too wrong...as I was thinking of riding the white pony...

    For increased focus, try focus booster. It's a tip I actually got from SDN! Focus Booster is a program that times you for 30-minutes. Sure you could use a timer, but the free download is on my laptop and I focus hard for increments of 30 minutes, then take a break, then jump back into it. Helped a lot when I wrote the first four chapters of my dissertation (in a quiet medical school library...so the place where you are studying/working is key also).

    *EDIT* Forgot to mention...Focus Booster (and I don't work for the company) helps me write for long periods of time, like an 8-hour day if I set writing/office hours from 9am-5pm (which realistically becomes 10am-5pm because I like to get a morning run in). I don't know how professional writers and journalists do it. I'd love to know.
     
    Last edited: 05.13.14
  12. psych84

    psych84 Account on Hold Account on Hold 2+ Year Member

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    While I respect the path you took, I think I'll CheetahGirl's suggestion. :)
     
  13. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist SDN Moderator 5+ Year Member

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    I've made similar recs (same behavioral principles but without a specific mention of Focus Booster) countless times in the past and use the same strategy myself when needed. Although for me, it's more an issue of actually getting started with the tasks than it is then maintaning them for hours on end. That tends to work better with more active projects, though (e.g., writing); if all I'm doing is reading, then yep, I cap it at one-hour intervals, after which I give myself a 10-15 minute break. Maintaining a semblance of consistency is also important. I'd had a near life-long history of working in spurts up through even most of grad school, but I'm typically more productive overall, and put out better products, when I space things out (which isn't news to anyone, I'm sure). I only really started clamping down on myself about that once I hit internship, though.

    As for my work load, currently it's usually around 45 hours/week, which was the same during internship (other than a one-month period of multiple all-nighters while finishing my dissertation). In grad school, I generally chose to stick with 40-ish hours/week while understanding that this would likely keep me around for an extra year or so.
     
  14. PsychDreams

    PsychDreams 2+ Year Member

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    Love hearing tips like this. I currently spend about 50 hrs/week working on research and school work.... but let's be real, a good chunk of that time is spent on fb and SDN ;) What other tips/tricks do other grad students/post docs employ to get stuff done/be more efficient and productive?
     
  15. DynamicDidactic

    DynamicDidactic Ass of Prof 5+ Year Member

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    I found grad school to be a roller coaster of work hours. First year was pretty slow and easy, just classes and starting clinical work. Second year was difficult b/c it full on clinical work, still classes, and master's thesis. After that its even more manic. Around major milestones (e.g., proposals, defenses) its non stop work all day and all night. But easy going in between. I remember that I proposed my dissertation shortly before applying to internships. That was August - November almost all day and all night of work.
     
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  16. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    1. I try and block my time (30-90min, depending on task & feasibility). In between I take breaks to get food, walk outside for a few min, check SDN/e-mail/ESPN, etc.

    2. When I'm on my 10th hour (or 14th if crunch time in grad school) I try and make an informed decision if trying to push through is really going to be worth the time, or if I should call it a day/night and get rest. I didn't do a great job of that until the tail end of grad school, but it has really helped my working life in the past 5+ yrs. I'm still working on being more efficient, but my stress level and general satisfaction while "in the trenches" are both much better.

    3. Make time away from school/work…and actually use it. There are weeks/months when it just isn't feasible to take time off, but even going to hit a bucket of balls (golf) or taking an afternoon to relax at a park can make a big difference. I mostly prefer to do things on my own to recharge, but for others organizing a happy hour or visiting friends/family for a weekend is their "go-to" to recharge. Without these times away, I'm not sure how people expect to get through 5+ stressful years of hard work.
     

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