Tom’s ‘Top Tips’ for… Academic Success

By Thomas Crowther

The academic world can be a stressful environment with pressures from all around. With this in mind, Tom has constructed an informal and mini guide with his ‘Top Tips’ to achieving academic success. While these tips may not work for everyone, it might be useful to others out there who are battling with the weight of looming deadlines and publications.

1: Write as often as possible:

This is so easy to do, but it is a massive stumbling block for academics. People never just sit down and write. Writing is satisfying when you allow yourself time to do it.

2: Every paper needs one paper:

Every time you write a paper, there is always one other published paper that sets the stage for the development of yours. It could be really great or terrible, but finding the paper makes the process so much easier.

3. We all have imposter syndrome:

We can’t know everything, so try to be confident about what you do know and be honest to yourself and others about what you don’t.

4. Nothing is ever finished:

Most academics fail because they go too deep, get lost in detail and fail to complete jobs. The best academics realize the optimum point where they have found something defensible and useful, and then they stop and write before falling down the rabbit hole of perfection.

5. Academia is just about getting stuff done:

Completing solid work is always better than failing to complete something spectacular. It is all a waste of time is the search for perfection prevents you from finishing.

6. Focus on what you are good at and enjoy:

There are plenty of people who enjoy doing the things that you don’t like. Collaborate with them, and spend your time focusing on the jobs you do like.

7. Don’t work when it’s not working:

We all have to do things that are difficult or tiring, but try to do those jobs only when you are enthusiastic about doing them. If you are not in the mood, the result will often be pointless. it’s often better to take a break or do a different task to stay motivated. Timetable the hard jobs.


8. Do it for you:

Don’t just do what others want from you. Figure out what you want to do this week, month, year and do the things that you need to do in order to achieve them.

9. Don’t work too long at one time:

It always feels like we will get more done if we just work forever on a topic. But this often leads us down a crazy rabbit hole and we become less efficient as we become more tired.