Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I am going through a trough..

Lets put that Physics knowledge into action! (or maybe wikipedia?)

I am going through a low point in my research... I know it happens a lot and that's why I am not worried, but i need to overcome this situation as soon as possible.
Its been two weeks now that I don't feel that I have done anything important... All of the other EngDs at my uni seem to be very busy, they don't have time for lunch, but I am just not very motivated.
Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but sometimes I let a lot of the surrounding factors affect me so much, I feel the weight of what I need to do, and the deadlines approaching and then I start procrastinating again.

This started again recently when one of my deadlines was changed to an earlier date, 3 weeks earlier from the original deadline. This of course increased the amount of work I needed to do, it was also right after I had completed a GANNT chart, in an effort to stop myself from procrastinating.
The result? Of course procrastination kicked in, and I can't do any work.

I read on #phdchat a few days ago, that people who successfully pass their viva are the people who successfully overcome procrastination... Well I believe that... procrastination is the main thing that stops me from working. OK OK i might have some form of depression as well, but I think the two are interlinked.

I wont try to be a psychologist to myself, I am mainly writting this post to explain to myself what I am going though, and that the work is not so much. Of course I can handle it.. I just need to relax, take it easy, and do some work.

I want to help a friend with his statistical analysis by the end of the week,
I have to prepare a poster for the 2nd of May,
A report on my PDP and a cultural study of my company (amounting to 10.000 words) for the 15th of June.
And complete a short project and write an academic paper for the 30th of June...
I have started the first one and planned the last two, but that's all I have done up to now.

I can do the writing, that's not the problem (for now) its the fact that I need to do a lot of work before actually writing up that paper, and I dont seem to find the time to do it..


The procrastinating Physicist

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Has it really been a week already?

Wow, this week just flied by!

I wanted to write a post tonight about photography.
As you may have noticed from my pictures, I am a terrible photographer, I take hundreds of pictures but I post very little on flickr as I dont want other people to see the terrible pictures I take. The ones I post are usually the most interesting ones, especially if I just want to post something, just because!

Its been a few weeks now that I found out about this photography club in my area. They meet every Tuesday, but last week I didn't really feel like getting out of the house, so today it really wanted to make the effort. Luckily the ladies from the office arranged a dinner for this evening, so we went out for food, and then I left a bit early to go to the photography club.

I have to admit, I was devastated when I walked in the room and realized that the average age in the room must be around 65. BUT but BUT the speaker, whom I couldn't see from where I was sitting, showed us a ppt presentation of his shots, and I was amazed! A very nice man, having shot incredible pictures! He shot pictures that could have appeared in National Geographic in the past 10 years, or maybe should appear in National Geographic in the next 10 years!

Honestly, amazing shots!

He said he used to use a Canon EOS 10D and a 30D but now wants to travel lightly so he uses a Lumix G1, or something like that, (I need to google the Lumix, I always confuse them) and he only uses two lenses. I mean.. I use two lenses and I can't take a proper picture..!
Of course I know that its the type of lens that matters :) so my 50mm one will serve me well for portrait, but I should be saving up for a zoom-wide angle lens...

I feel very inspired today, and since I have taken a few pictures in the past few weeks, I will go through them and see if I can find any ones that are worth posting.

I hope you are having a great week so far!!

The Physicist

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Lets get on with it.

So the reason I created this blog was to actually write down my ideas and thoughts about my project.

I have finished my first part of the literature review earlier in the year, so now I need to get into the 'actual' work.

I am not sure if I am meant to publish my ideas or not, but I would really to get some feedback here and maybe some brain storming if possible!

So I am supposed to be analysing the data of a retailer as I have probably mentioned earlier.
By data I mean energy consumption data, I have available 3 year's worth of half hourly electricity data (gas available on request :p). Now I have a short project to complete by the end of June (including write up) and I am trying to figure out ways of correlating the data.

Lets assume that I have got my head round 'R' (which I haven't), and I am looking to do some correlation analysis. What should I be plotting against energy??

I imagine my y-axis being in kWh, what would my x-axis be?

I can even try kWh/m2 on the y-axis, then again, what's my x-axis??

Am I being very stupid here? Is there something obvious that I am missing?

Any input is welcome

The Physicist

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Science Blogs (and my usual rumbling)

I ve always had an interest in reading, but since I have a daily internet connection I tend to read blogs instead. When I find something interesting I might even read it in bed, as I would do with a book.
I read anything and everything, from horror stories, to personal blogs. I like reading books such as Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, or even Heidi by Johanna Spyri, but lately I have been reading scientific and PhD-related blogs, such as 'the thesis whisperer'.

Yesterday I found out about this blog which is written by 3 of my former lecturers! I especially enjoyed this post as it describes how bad a PhD can turn out to be, and reminds me of how good my supervisor is! I would like to take this opportunity to thank my main academic supervisor, and my main industrial supervisor for being so kind and understanding and helping me develop and have high expectations! I am lucky to have two people that are being so supportive and different at the same time. They put pressure on me when I need to perform, they 'lead by example', they let me take days off when I need to, but they expect me to perform well and excel at whatever task is given to me.

As a person, I always try my best to succeed. Through primary and high school I was always trying for good grades, I never had the best grades, and never tried too hard to achieve them, but I was content with my results. At university as an undergraduate I wanted to do and see as much as possible, I was in a different country, with different people, facing different situations and problems from what I was used to and I wanted to make the most out of it.

I believe I did. I tried hard to achieve good grades and good results, but I was not always on schedule; actually I rarely did have a schedule. That way I often did not find the time to complete my tutorials on time, or start that report early enough and was usually faced with tons of work to complete right before a deadline or exam.

Maybe a cause of my procrastination behaviour is that I never felt I was rewarded as much as I should have. I got used to the 85/100 and 95/100 that I was receiving at high school, and when after a month's worth of work and a 'perfect' first essay I got a 65, I was devastated. I might have not gotten a higher mark than that in my entire undergraduate degree. No actually, I did, I got a 72 for a report I wrote for one of the authors in the aforementioned blog, and I got a few very high marks at mathematics as well, throughout my 4 years.

I took a year out of university when I finished my Physics degree, where I taught maths and physics to teenagers, and I learned that rewarding effort and good results, even if that's with a smile, always works. People will tend to try more and achieve even better results. One of my students went from getting a 20% as an average to an 85% after 3 months.

After that year as you probably know by now, I applied for a couple of PhD projects and I am now enrolled in one. My current supervisor is so different compared to my undergraduate ones. He gave me such high marks for my first two pieces of work, that now I feel more pressure to organise myself to produce a better piece of work for him for my next task.

I actually sat down today to work on my first GANNT diagram, but decided to write a blog post first!

If you would like to share your phd blog with me, or blogs you are reading, please leave a comment.

Have a lovely pancake day, and give all your love to the women out there, it's Women's day as well!!
Oh and gentlemen, please make those pancakes for your women, don't let them cook today :)


The Physicist

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I haven't kept my promise

Its true, I managed to get overwhelmed with all the things going on around me.

I need to get better at time management.

Trying to be nice to everyone, I end up doing other people's work rather than my own, and this isnt working!

During the past couple of weeks I did finish my presentation after an eventful all-nighter when right after saving all of my words and images were mirror-imaged so I ended up doing it from the beginning.
Following that team day, I was asked to produce a piece of work for one of my colleagues, which could be done by the guys in India, but I did finish it on Friday at 6...

Then last week I was asked to do a follow up of that work, which is interesting by takes a day each time to complete (in excel..). I also put together a business case for my manager to convince him to buy me a macbook Pro, we will see how that works out. We have a meeting tomorrow to discuss my personal development plan, and my achievements for the past year, I hopefully we will discuss that computer purchase as well.

On Thursday I did travel up to Loughborough for my statistics course. I have to admit, its much more fun and understandable when you actually attend the lecture, rather than trying to understand it by reading the notes.

It was my birthday on Friday so I took the day off and went to my old university, to celebrate with my friends! Fun weekend!! There was a costume-themed party which we attended as well, with people dressing up as anything between sexy chiefs to priests.

I'll post a few pictures later.

Yesterday I tried organising my self to start my week better, but it looks like I am rushing around again. I spend the days in the office, looking around for stuff or trying to do basic calculations in excel, but what I should be doing is to try to learn how to use the programming software I mentioned in my last post, so that I can work faster and more effectively. I was planning to have produced some results by now, but the lack of tools while at the office keeps me back.
On one hand I do want to spend time in the office because I stick to the 8-9 hours a day, but on the other hand, those 8-9 hours are not spent as productive as possible.

Should I just tell them that I will be working from home until I get a new computer?
Its not just a matter of me wanting a faster processor, I do, but that's not the main issue. The main issue is that I can not install the software I want to learn how to use on my work computer(s). (Yes I have two, both with the same processing power. 1.5GHz, 512MB of RAM)

I will stop rumbling now, I was supposed to be at Ecobuild today, but it looks like I am gonna have to spend the day at home doing some work in 'R' just to show to my manager tomorrow how much easier it is..
It sounds like a plan.. I will skip the trade show for today... might go tomorrow if I feel like it.

Thank you for listening (reading)

The Physicist