Category Archives: PhD experiences

Life hacks hacked: Small changes are habit forming


So my Project May 2016 is over and we are now a few days into June so I have had time to reflect on how it went. To recap, I got tired of reading life hack after life hack and wanted to put some to the test. There were some trends I wanted to put to the test. These were:


  1. Small changes are habit forming
  2. A healthy diet would probably make me feel better
  3. More exercise would probably make me feel better
  4. Organising my time better would lead to benefits – particularly to my PhD study
  5. Getting up earlier – because it is supposed to make you superhuman
  6. And loads of other stuff that I can’t possibly believe but hey, let’s see…

I charted my progress weekly here But let’s take these point by point on reflection, now the month is over:


Feeling sharper is bringing positive results











I’m in to week 3 of my experiment in May. Last week I was seriously questioning whether this had actually been of any benefit of all. However in the past few days, things seem to have taken a positive turn and I’m starting to feel smug. Not quite American Psycho smug (pictured) but not too bad either.  The running seems to be paying off. I’ve now completed 45 miles for the month against a target of 62 with nine days to go. Stupidly I forgot to do an official weigh-in on Friday, but I’ll do one this week. (more…)

Even Leicester City winning the league hasn’t stopped my quest to find out the truth…


Last week I blogged that I wanted to make a few changes – partly in light of things I’d read, but partly because I wanted to make a few changes. Bluntly I want to eat/drink a little less, exercise a little more and increase my PhD inputs/outputs. There is some reoccurring advice from the motivation gurus and life hackers that I’m trying to adopt to make positive changes over the next four weeks. I believe if I put some of these to the test it might 1) prove such advice is totally useless or 2) prove these people are highly annoying but were right all along. Even Leicester City winning the league (pictured) hasn’t stopped my quest for the truth… (more…)

Project May 2016: Hacking the Life Hacks















I am sick of motivational quotes and “life hacks” that, if followed, are potentially going to make me the world’s greatest person that ever lived. In fact I’ve read so many of those lately that if I’d spent the time in the gym, or reading something of worth, instead of searching for a quick fix to my general lack of fitness and my inability to cram all the things I want to achieve into a seven-day week, I’d be probably be sorted. I have therefore come up with my own little experiment to see if there is any value in the advice I’ve been reading lately or whether those that achieve such a superhuman lifestyle are indeed, just not of this planet. There are keyboard Yodas everywhere – Facebook is a rich ground where these motivational thoughts are shared and shared again by those who, I assume, want to position themselves as some kind of low-rent enlightenment guru. Add to this to some of the people who write on @Medium – who share their secrets of success, or other people’s success and really do position themselves as upmarket lifestyle gurus, and in some cases, charge you good money for it, then you realise free advice is everywhere. From reading all this stuff, I have noticed some trends that I want to try adopt over the next four weeks. (more…)