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From PhD to Life

Breaking bad habits, building better ones


I want to write about how great I’m doing, how awesome my clients are, and how good I feel about being a post-academic businesswoman. All those things are true, but there’s more to my story. It’s time to fess up, recommit, and move on. (Can you tell I’ve been mired in Rob Ford news for days?)

First up, social media and the Internet in general. I love these tools, and they add value to my life . . . but there comes a point at which scrolling and clicking is just procrastination. I need to be more mindful of the time I spend online.

Second, after I came back from vacation a few weeks ago, I failed to get back into my yoga or freewriting practices. Not writing on a daily basis has taken a toll on my creativity and productivity. Here’s my promise: I will get up tomorrow morning and write before doing anything else! If you see another blog post this week, you’ll know I kept my word. As for yoga, I’m not sure how best to incorporate it in my life. I’ll have to ponder this one.

Third, I’ve been lax when it comes to organizing my time, and have found myself mindlessly watching TV a few times in the past month. There is little on television that I truly enjoy watching, and so it’s time to cut it out. I’ve used Scott Dinsmore’s Weekly Planning Workbook (scroll down and enter your email address to get a free copy) in the past, and it works. I’ll spend 30 minutes tomorrow morning doing this. Knowing what I have to do — and what I want to do — and scheduling it all in keeps me focused on what’s important in my life. TV isn’t one of those things.

What is important, in addition to getting a better handle on my working life and personal practices, is seeing friends and doing fun things. I’ve been good at this lately. Here’s to that, and to filling my schedule with fun, productive tasks, keeping focused, and remaining mindful of my own priorities! Breaking bad habits, and building better ones, isn’t easy, but I need to get back on track to make headway on my dreams.

Jennifer Polk
Jennifer Polk is a career coach and entrepreneur. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto in 2012. For more information and resources, check out her website:
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  1. Julie Graves / November 20, 2013 at 00:46

    Hey Jen, great post! I’d love a copy of the planning wkbk. Thanks in advance.

    • Jennifer Polk / November 20, 2013 at 10:41

      Oh Julie I’ve lead you astray by not being clear, apologies! You can get the workbook from Scott’s website — you tell him your email and he’ll send it over. (He uses it as a way to get subscribers to his mailing list; very clever!)

  2. MJ / November 20, 2013 at 14:37

    In my internet tab, this article is summarized as:

    From PhD to life | Breaking bad

    If the transition from the academy to real life is anything like the TV series, I’d be worried. Nice post.

    • Jennifer Polk / November 20, 2013 at 15:12

      Ha! Thanks, nothing so drastic yet in my transition 🙂

  3. Munesh Singh / December 5, 2013 at 00:14

    I just enjoyed reading your article. I am surprised to see as to how closely it resembles my lifestyle. I have always been struggling with time management. Its not that I am a busy person but I keep shifting my focus from one activity to another especially in academics. I will try the weekly diary suggested by you but to confess I have kept many diaries before that now are either unattended or forgotten.. 🙂

    • Jennifer Polk / December 5, 2013 at 13:05

      Good luck!!