If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen one of my few references to ‘operation gtfo’. I have had a few questions asking what it is all about.
Well, basically, I think that when you get to a particular stage in your PhD journey- just after ‘the rut’, the stage where you can kind of see the end, although it is still covered by dark gloomy clouds- you start to get the urge to just get sh&t done. A few of my fellow PhD-office girls and I reached this stage a few months ago and we joked about how we just “want to get the f^ck out [of our PhD office]”, and hence started ‘operation gtfo’. So, in other words, it’s the ‘finishing the PhD plan’, but ‘operation gtfo’ has a better ring to it.
Through the operation gtfo blog posts I am going to document my journey to the end of my PhD, provide some tips and more importantly reveal my mistakes and mishaps.
Before I start though, it is also important to note that I am not SUPER close to the end- I am hoping to be completed by mid-way through next year, so this journey will follow the last 6-9 months of my PhD.
Okay- so here goes…. Step one for operation gtfo is to create your gtfo plan!
I know that creating plans/time lines can be daunting because it highlights how much work you must do. But, I think it is essential when you get to this point of your PhD. There are so many different tasks to keep on top of. Writing them down means you won’t forget any and means you can plan out your time accordingly.
Blank template starting December 1st here Blank GTFO Template
The girls in my office and I use a simple table format with 5 columns (date, day of the week, main task, event, and reminders). I have been using this plan for a few months now and have found it so helpful.
I only put the ‘main task’ of the day down (occasionally two)- so sometimes this could be ‘write a paragraph for chapter 1’ or ‘mark 10 assignments’. Obviously, I have many other small tasks to do each day, but I write these down on my daily to do list, not the gtfo plan as that would get overwhelming.
I try to plan out at least a month in advance. If I achieve the day’s task I highlight the day in green, if I partially finish the task I highlight it in orange, and if I don’t complete the task I highlight it in red. If I do more than the days task it is purple! This allows me to keep track of my progress and helps me take a ‘guilt free’ day off after a week full of greens!
Obviously plans change and I am constantly updating and modifying the plan, to the point that I print it out weekly and scribble all over it. I have kept each of the copies as I think it is a cool thing to look over and see the progress.
I am planning on using the plan until submission! And obviously you can change the table format to suit your own life style.
[…] This technique is more specific to people getting close to the end of a PhD, but can also be adapted to other settings. I love this plan to keep long-term track of my progress and to reward myself with guilt-free days off after a week of productivity. Read about it here. […]