Getting Motivated

October 23, 2007

I have been doing a lot of thinking about my PhD plans over the past few weeks, really wondering if I am doing the right thing for my family, and for myself and my career. While I’ve come to some peace over that- I’m fairly certain it is a positive step, I’ve also been struggling to complete my research proposal. I am hoping I am not setting myself up for trouble. What if the topic doesn’t hold my interest? Gets too boring? Do I really want to spend all day sat at a computer, writing and reading?

But yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany. It was a public holiday so instead of going to work I took the opportunity to sit down at the computer and actually try to get my head around the research proposal. I was mildly sucessful in that (although I did get terribly distracted- more about that in a moment), but the main sucess of the day was just how much I enjoyed myself. I did some reading, took a few notes, laid out the outline of a proposal, and before I knew it it was 4pm in the afternoon and my husband and daughter were begging me to get away from the computer and go out in the sunshine with them for a while.

What I realised was this. I enjoy this kind of work. I had “flow“. The silly thing is, one of my reason’s for doing a PhD is because I did enjoy much of my Master’s work. While a PhD is a far larger and much more daunting prospect, and I know this alone will not be enough to carry me through it, it is reassuring to know it does not have to be a struggle all the time, and that quite possibly I may even enjoy the process. I certainly hope that is the case.

The other thing that got me excited, and completely distracted me, was the discovery of OneNote and EverNote. I can’t believe I’ve not heard of these programs until now. I was typing some notes into Word and started thinking that there should be a better way of recording, storing and searching notes. I did a bit of googling and came across first OneNote and then EverNote. I could immediately see how useful such software could be both for academic and personal uses and have downloaded both (EverNote is free, OneNote has a free trial period) to play with.

evernote.gif

onenote.jpg

Evernote (top) and OneNote (bottom) screenshots.

I am wondering if any of my readers have used either of these, particularly for academic purposes. Has anybody got any advice? I am already leaning towards Evernote (and not just because it is free), as I really like the catagories system and the never-ending paper tape concept. However I do wonder if OneNote is better for more structured notes, and it does have better features including sychronising video/audio with notes which would be invaluable for fieldwork. I guess I will just have to double enter data and play for a while to see what works.

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2 Responses to “Getting Motivated”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Thanks for the link LK. I had actually found this and it is very useful. I am definately inclining towards EndNote now.


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