You have three to four years to complete your PhD, and you think that you have copious time, but time goes by rapidly. Deferring your PhD project unless deadlines are extremely closer ends up with nothing but a complete ruin. If you don’t want to waste your precious time, you should learn to manage time effectively. Here are the tips that can help you manage a large research project.
Make an outline of your tasks
One of the most important tasks that you should do is making an outline of your tasks or splitting it up. You should split your large project into small tasks. For instance, in case of laboratory experiments you should prepare a setup, arrange necessary equipment to conduct your experiment, prepare a measurement system, carry out your experiment, and then store data in an organised way. Decide time for each splitted task. Always try to add extra time to be on the safe side! Identify which tasks you can do simultaneously. This will help you save your time and finish a project quickly.
Evaluate your progress
You have prepared a schedule for your project, now start following it. When you follow the schedule, identify the tasks on which you are devoting more than enough time. Think about a solution how you can whittle down extra hours to complete the task. Keep in mind that you are not going to work all hours that you have decided to complete a task as you will be responding emails and phone calls. Make sure that you are away from these distractions during your project work. Take out a fixed time-slot for responding emails, messages, and calls.
Keep checking your progress regularly. This will keep you up to date how many tasks you have completed and how many pending tasks you have. Keep meeting your supervisors to take their feedback. Take those feedback seriously and follow that to fix your errors.
Have all sources what you need
Before starting your project, you should know the books and journals that you have to refer, where to find them, how to access right journals, which materials to be used for experimentations, how to find a supervisor, how to collaborate with other scholars of your group, how to contact them if you get stuck in the mid of your project, how to expand network, and so on. Use software tools that will help you complete your project within time. For example, Mendeley, Evernote, Google calendar, Dropbox, ManicTime etc.
So follow these strategies to manage your research project.