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Loss of motivation when research becomes 9-5 job.

  1. Feb 6, 2016 #1
    I'm 6 months into a PhD (admittedly in Chemical Engineering, not physics, but my project has a modelling bent) and, as the title suggests, I've been struggling to find motivation day in and day out.

    It's silly: give me an interesting problem in a project not related to my work (say a math problem, a logic puzzle, or even a chem-engg textbook problem) and I'll get excited about it and happily put effort into solving it. But somehow when I'm faced with a similar, interesting problem to solve in my project (many of which could easily be questions in that same textbook), I find it's much more of a slog. Somehow I seem to classify it as 'work', as a chore to be done. It's as if my obligation to solve this particular problem drains the interest and joy I'd otherwise have. And research work becomes less of an interesting path of discovery (which objectively speaking, it should be) and instead feels like a daily grind.

    I know there are a lot of people here who've made a profession of research. Has anyone else had the same experience? Do you have any tips on tricking yourself to enjoy the interesting things you ought to think about as much as the interesting things which are of no value to you whatsoever?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2016 #2
    That's life. Many of the most creative efforts are 95% slog. You just have to make yourself do it.
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