Wellness, Productivity, Balance for Graduate Students and Beyond

Spaces: Resources and Further Conversation - a #MindfulPhD Link Roundup

We are all still buzzing from the great conversation about spaces during our last #MindfulPhD event, so I thought I would round-up many of the great resources that people shared with us during the discussion, as well as share a little update about how my thinking about spaces has changed over the past week! 

Catch up on all the conversation (and add to it, if you'd like) on the #MindfulPhD tag on Twitter and mark your calendars: we return on Monday, September 4 with a discussion about rituals - work, self-care, and otherwise! The three of us (Katy, Natasha, Rebecca) tweet throughout the global day so make sure you're following all of us to get the most out of the conversation!

First things first - make sure you check out our cohost Natasha's great post about how communal spaces helped her to work through some of her PhD writing blocks. It's a smart and thoughtful perspective about how we sometimes have to work at making community, even when we're in the larger intellectual community of our departments and disciplines. 

A lot of the discussion talked about isolation, and spaces for self-care. Tamsyn shared her brave post about how working less, and not more, helped her get through a serious rough patch in the PhD crisis. Creating space, both literally and figuratively, in her surroundings and schedule to do more of what was fun, and filled her up, was the key to being re-engaged in the work again. 

We also had a great conversation about ideal spaces, and how to visualize them. Katie Linder balances all of her prodigious output with saving (and then scrolling through!) images of dream spaces. You can totally see from her website where that clean and effective minimalism also permeates her professional life! Rebecca follows instagram accounts that inspire her to incorporate more plants and meaningful objects into her multi-purpose spaces. The consensus seemed to be that saving pictures can help you take meaningful steps towards making your dream space, and make your current space feel better aligned in the meantime. 

But perhaps the most discussion centered around the idea of working outside of our personal spaces: coffeeshops, libraries, on campus hideaways, and coworking spaces! Several people recommended Helen Sword's newish book, Air & Light & Time & Space: How Successful Academics Write as a key encouragement for switching up their workspaces. Several people shared that they've been intrigued by, or actually joined co-working spaces. For thand ose who are unfamiliar, these spaces are built with freelancers, work from home, telecommuting workers in mind and often feature "start-up" like perks - wifi, snacks, and community. Here's a great explanation - maybe there's one near you!

And here's my update on the battle to replace couch office (see my post for more information!)

After a week more of working on my couch, I've decided to turn the little room off the office into a dedicated art/journaling space, rather than my primary workspace. I eventually want to shift into a coworking space (#dreambig) and think that in the long run, it will be better for me to have some dedicated creative space at home, rather than making more workspace that I'll just avoid and then feel guilty about. So stay tuned for my Friday Fun post where I'll be revealing that, and whether I managed to work at my desk at all this week!