Getting a PhD: Reviewing your progress

Today marks my 6th month as a PhD student yay (one-sixth of the journey). I absolutely want to complete my PhD in the allotted time and my Uni would like this to happen as well because good student completion rates are in the best interest of the university. 
Since I’m required to hand in a 6-month progress report to my Faculty I thought I’d do a quick personal progress review as well. I’ve assessed myself based on Vitae’s intimidating impressive Researcher Development Framework as well as the top tips I received when I first started:

Knowledge and intellectual abilities:
This is sub-divided into knowledge base, intellectual skill and resourcefulness.

Research questions: Developing clear research questions has helped me identify where my research is going plus methodologies to consider.
Research mind: I'm currently working on developing my "academic voice" as well as the ever-important critical thinking skill.
Research tools: I've learnt MS Word and Excel tricks to speed up my work, discovered how to search for recent and relevant papers.

Personal effectiveness:
This also involves professional development. 

Planning ahead: A PhD involves a lot of independent thinking and working. Detailed work plans and progress reports are my friends. I make a weekly to-do list every Friday to keep me on track, and the feeling I get from ticking a box as ‘done’ is truly amazing.

Working like a Borg: That is to say, "feelings are irrelevant". I hope to finish the PhD within 3 years so I try to work at school daily regardless of weather, mood, lab results, etc. Paper rejections/not feeling very smart? Rubbish lab results? Monotony? Not feeling like reading papers? "[Bad] feelings are irrelevant".

Playing like a puppy: I keep hearing how a PhD is isolating and feels like living in a bubble so building social support networks has become one of my main priorities.

Keeping track of progress: I keep a well-dated research book and also paraphrase key research questions, statements, methodologies and conclusions from papers   as I read them (because how else can I justify the fact that I spent the last 4-5 hours reading just one paper??). I do this in a Word table. I'm thinking of changing my reading-and-jotting style a bit to see if I can speed up my reading/comprehension speed though. More on this later if it proves to be successful.

Research governance and organisation:
Hmm…much room for improvement here.

Engagement, influence and impact:
Also a lot of room for improvement here although I like to think I'm a good team player plus coaching less experienced students is not a problem so small yay.

Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework gives a really clear picture of what a researcher should look like at the end of the programme. Find it here.

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