There was a time when I enjoyed being spontaneous and basically winging anything and everything. This approach worked for me most of my life that was until I got to graduate school. The first semester I tried my level best to continue my approach to life which was basically to walk in with confidence and wing it while simultaneously hoping no one notices it. I failed miserably.
I tried everything; being productive in short bursts of a few days, writing papers based on meta analysis, talking to my class fellows and collecting info from them, even dedicating two full days a week to just catch up on stuff. Turns out, you cannot really catch up on stuff; all you can do is keeping up. If you by any chance cannot keep up, consider it as a lost cause.
But the failure taught me something I had never bothered to realize; routines are good. For the longest period of time we have been told, nay taught, routines are boring and un-cool. Thing is, we have been lied to… routine as it turns out are actually very good for you and they are your best friends if you are in Graduate School. Yes… I do realize that by admitting this we are accepting that we have grown up and have become boring but it is just that we value sleep/rest a lot more now than we used to about 5 to 6 years ago. Plus back then we did not have a ton of professors giving us assistantship work in addition to the course work. So it makes sense that we would try and make sense out of our lives by putting some sort of a framework in place.
Think of it as a paper we are trying to write. The first step is to have an outline i.e. a rough estimate of exactly what we have to do to end up with a good product. The second step is to have an exact thesis statement which in this case would be to get stuff done on time and not fall behind. The Hypothesis for that is if we were to get stuff done on time we will get through grad school with minimum amount of pain and suffering. The dependent variable here is the amount of pain and suffering to get through grad school while the independent variable is getting shit done on time. Our hypothesis for testing purposes is:
Getting shit done on time is inversely related to the pain and suffering required to get through grad school
Now being logical and having done a literature review (talked to seniors) one would find support for this theory and would test it out themselves in the second semester. The proof would be that the grades of the second semester would be better than the first semester in an experiment based test. The first semester had no structure while there is an element of routine in the second semester. The results will prove clear improvement or at least that is what I believe will happen.
Routines are good. And if you do not believe so, run this experiment and see how that works out. We can compare results and then may be write a paper about it and run a regression analysis together. The possibilities are endless when you think we can write a book about it that no one will ever read but would be the highlight of our CVs. All this is possible if could just get a routine going for this.