Making it happen: Time- and self-management for your PhD

Short description

Designing, researching and writing a PhD thesis calls for specific time and self-management skills that differ in several respects from those required in your MA studies or previous work life. Building on your experience, needs and questions, exchange in the group and input from the instructor, we will explore what you need in this phase of professional life. We cover the long-term three-year project as well as daily and weekly task management, also talking about reflection and adaption of plans. We will discuss questions regarding the supervision relationship, allowing you to reflect on your relationship and develop specific goals.

Target group

PhD researchers in their first year



The workshop’s main goal is to help participants claim ownership of their PhD experience. It offers a space to reflect on this career phase, comparing individual experiences with those of peers and analysing work organisation and habits. Participants will re-evaluate their existing PhD plan and design an adapted one. They will learn tools and techniques for planning their weeks and structuring their days. Wide use of group work and plenary exchange teaches them to value each other as a source of support.

The follow-up workshop serves to encourage early-career researchers to continue self-management during their PhD phase. It provides them with a stage to discuss the advancement of their plans, to address difficulties they face and to exchange tips. It supports individual reflection of their progress and of their time- and self-management.



The first workshop consists of the following parts:

  • The PhD as a career phase
  • How to plan a large project like the PhD, incl. time to apply the method to your own PhD project plan
  • Time-management (daily, weekly)
  • Others and your PhD, with a focus on the relationship with your advisors

The format offers sufficient flexibility to be adapted to the specific needs of the participants.

In the one-on-one coaching session, you will have the opportunity to address your individual challenges after a couple of months of application. We will work together to find out which changes could make PhD work even more enjoyable and productive for you.

The second, follow-up workshop will allow you to reflect on self-management during the last academic year, address one topic that the participants would like to deepen their knowledge of and focus on feedback in academia. A pre-workshop questionnaire will be used to find out which questions we should investigate together.



  • Dr. Christiane Kasack works as a coach and workshop facilitator. As a certified business coach and career counsellor, she supports personal development in time- and self-management as well as career planning. In 2011, Christiane earned a PhD in the Social Sciences from the Freie Universität Berlin. After two years of post-doc work, she turned to managing the Hertie School’s PhD programmes and later, the career development programmes for postdocs at the Head Office of the Helmholtz Association.

    CK Logo © Spread the Nerd; Photography © Rolf Schulten for Spread the Nerd