How to PhD Productively: The Ultimate Guide for Project, Time and Data Management

Collection of EXTREMELY USEFUL resources I’ve stumbled upon while searching the web for how-to-PhD! Skills like project, time and data management are not explicitly taught in undergrad (or even postgrad/grad school for some), despite being so important for PhD study and beyond.

I’m thinking of adding to this list as time goes on… Please do share resources that you’ve found helpful in the comments below for all to benefit fromlet’s create a hub of practical knowledge/tools for all the new starters out there! Enjoy! πŸ˜„

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Project & Time Management

Notion Template for Postgrads/PhD Researchers, atof on Reddit – this is 🌟GOLD for anyone doing a PhD🌟!! I’m currently exploring the template one section at a time, starting with “Paper Database & Bibliography” which I’m using as a reading journal for research articles. (More on this to follow soon in an Eat PhD update πŸ™Œ.)

6 Project-Management Tips for Your PhD, Nature Career Column

How Can You Treat Your PhD Like A Project?, The Thesis Whisperer (Blog)

Planning and Managing Scientific Research: A guide for the beginning researcher, Brian Kennett (Book) – Chapter 3 How to Plan and Manage a Project offers a great read for a dip into some core principles of project management, namely:
1. Planning
2. Project management tools (task-setting, time management, Gantt chart and PERT chart for critical paths)
3. Progress tracking
4. Measures of performance (checkpoint/deadline-setting)
5. Risk analysis.

Starting Your PhD/MPhil – Get Set for Success, University of Leicester Doctoral College – ✨SUPER informative 5 top tips for success in your research degree✨, in an accessible step-by-step format. Comprises:
1. Set goals and make them happen
2. Manage your time and keep to deadlines
3. Work with your supervisors and make use of their guidance
4. Ask for help when you need it
5. Have a positive approach and use the opportunities available.

Project Management Resource for PhD Students and Supervisors, Academiac.net (Blog) – πŸ’–AWESOME compliation of free downloadable templates/tools and blog postsπŸ’–, in a convenient drop-down list. Ranging from:
1. Understanding the underlying principles of project management for researchers
2. Different project management techniques and tools
3. Gantt chart, PERT chart, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), SMART goal, Agile and Kanban board.

Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Howard Hughes Medical Insitute – so this is not exactly aimed at PhD researchers, BUT it contains links to a πŸŽ‰downloadable PDF book, filled with practical advice and experiences from seasoned biomedical investigatorsπŸŽ‰. See “Chapter 6: Time Management” and “Chapter 7: Project Management” in particular.


Data Management

From the aforementioned Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Howard Hughes Medical Insitute -“Chapter 8: Data Management and Laboratory Notebooks” may come in handy for those doing STEM-based PhDs.

11 Ways to Avert a Data-Storage Disaster, Nature Toolbox


Starting Postgrad/Grad School

20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started my PhD, Nature Career Column

What Not to Do in Graduate School: 6 limiting maxims PhD students should avoid, Nature Career Column

12 Months In: What I Wish I Knew Last Year, Lucy Kissick – The PhDiaries. I love Lucy’s well-spoken style and honesty in this vlog. There’s also plenty of actionable advice and tips included. Check out her YouTube channel for videos on PhD life, productivity, mental health and more.

10 Feelings You’ll Have Starting a PhD, The FindAPhD Blog

Is a PhD Difficult?, The Savvy Scientist (blog) – become aware of what can make a PhD challenging and more importantly… how you can overcome these obstacles! I really like how Jeff shares both his personal experience and practical guidance in this post.


Whether you’re just starting your PhD or in your final year/graduated, what resources have aided you? Please do comment below to add to this collection of materials for researchers.

Feel free to bookmark this post and take your time browsing the resources at your own pace. I hope you find the content helpful for your own PhD study and beyond!

~ Julie, Eat PhD

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8 thoughts on “How to PhD Productively: The Ultimate Guide for Project, Time and Data Management

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