During my PhD studies I never structured my day like office work from 9 am to 5 pm. My typical working day was 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week, but that included checking SNS, messaging back, quick glossary shopping, and cooking a meal. I worked wherever I liked (home, campus, Starbucks, even on a train) and whenever I wanted to (after dinner, and even in the middle of the night). As a student, this lifestyle worked, and I was able to finish my studies in three and a half years.

On 1st September 2020, my postdoctoral life started.

I had decided to set my own clear ‘guideline’ to maintain regular work hours each day. I visualised small blocks of tasks in my working schedule of 9 am to 5 pm, in order to be more disciplined and to get used to the new normal of working full time from home.

So, this week, I experienced this new arrangement, concentrating on the fixed timetable, and calling it a day at five o’clock, which means no work after five, unlike during my years of study. I was surprised at how productive the days were – it was more effective than working for longer periods. The only difference is that I stopped doing other stuff, apart from work-relevant matters, which made me more focused on processing the tasks I have.

My online calendar records all the small blocks of what I did or will do during working hours. I really like this, although it’s a bit of a strange feeling!

I imagine that if I had followed this strict routine during my PhD studies, I could have finished earlier, maybe in three years. (But everything comes at the right time, always.)


Early morning baking – Blueberry muffins