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Scholars..how do you keep balance between your study and hobby?

Mar 22, 2017

    1. Hello there!
      I'm doing my masters degree now and should write my thesis next semester.. and I wish I could continue and get a PhD as well.
      I like what I study, but quite often I feel like my doll hobby is distracting me from what I should do for my academic career. For example I come home thinking I should work on my project but end up with dolls, like change their clothes..even take pictures when they look too pretty..or just spend hours only looking at them. Also in my classes, I often think about my doll plans. Like what I'm gonna get for my current dolls and which new dolls I wanna get.
      I'm a bit worried. Maybe I'm too obsessed with my hobby. Probably I should concentrate more on my academic career as it will affect my whole life. Anyone who have similar experience? Scholars, how do you keep balance between your study and your dollies when they are just so..tempting to think about and play with?
    2. Your experiences really resonate with my own. I'm a third year mental health student preparing to apply to graduate school soon (clinical psychology). But oftentimes, I find myself prioritizing my dolls and doll plans over my academic responsibilities. It's concerning really (similarly like addiction) and I don't know how to stop myself sometimes.

      I can't really offer any advice on how to balance your studies and hobbies because I'm struggling with the same issue myself but I do try really hard to keep in mind that without success in my academic careers, how can I fianance my doll hobby in the future? That "guilt-tripping" is a motivation that keeps me in-line with my responsibilities I guess. Also, when school evaluations are involved (assignments, tests, exams, readings etc.), I try to do all of these a week or two before the deadline. Do my work slowly but surely, spacing out my responsibilities in a week (not forgetting to include dolls in my plans of course). Having an agenda/organizer can be really helpful.

      Good luck with your thesis. It seems really exciting.
    3. I've often had issues with hobbies sort of interfering with my studies, though there were some other issues contributing as well aha.

      One thing I like to do is use my hobbies as incentive. So, say I know I have a paper I need to write or notes to review; in that case, once I get the first draft done, or finish the first however many pages, then I'll take a small break for hobby-related things. If you tend to lose track of time, it might also help to set timers! If you tell yourself, "I'm only going to take a 15 minute break," then set a timer for 15 minutes and do your best to stick to it!

      As for focusing in class, well, that's always been a struggle of mine orz;; I can't really help too much there! It might help if you sort of set up a time on the weekend or when you're done with everything else, and just dedicate it purely to doll plans? I'm the type whose thoughts very much tend to drift though;;
    4. honestly, I just put academics as my top priority >< I think you just have to have the mindset that you should do what is at the top of your list first, then you'll have all the time you can later to enjoy your hobby ^^ you might feel better since if you work on things you don't want to first, and you have no pressure for the rest of the day. It's probably hard to resist, but I think you just need to find the motivation to. good luck!
      • x 2
    5. When any life-related experience gets especially demanding, I physically put my dolls in their boxes and don't look at them. I basically pretend they don't exist. That way, I can focus on the serious stuff with my full attention, and once that serious stuff is over, it's like reuniting with long lost friends. Or, occasionally, like getting new dolls, which is a bonus.
      • x 1
    6. I'm a 3rd year uni student with two more years to go. Maybe going for a master afterward, depending on how things will be by then. At the same time, I am a single mom to a preteen. So it's hard to balance repsonibility and hobby. I prioritizes everyday with what I need to do and stuff and if I finish all of my reponsibility and have some time, I use my free time for my hobby. Lately, my free times have been consumed with commissions for others to help earn a little on the sides to get through tough financial time. My dolls are my inspiriation and they give me peace of mind as I go through stressful time.
    7. I think the trouble is more about focus and less about the hobby. I struggled with this a lot in school. I was not very excited about my subject choices, but they seemed logical at the time. It was always a struggle for me to get school work done and find time to do my hobbies. School was the top priority and I did my best to get the needed school work done first. Ironically, I got a job doing my hobbies when I graduated and never did anything related to my degree. Now I try to keep my hobbies work related. I have a lot of interests and I easily get distracted before one project is completed. I make deals and plans for myself and do my best to stick to them. Work and school always come first though, hard as it is.
    8. I've started my PhD a few months ago. In my experience it was a lot harder for me to keep focussed when I was undergraduate and doing my masters for two reasons: first a lot of the courses weren't very relevant to the topic I wanted to do so I found them less interesting; second I struggle with not allowing myself to take breaks and then burn out. So if you want to pursue a PhD my experience is that I found it a lot easier to focus on my project because it is what I'm interested in and it's exciting to work on it, so this might happen to you as well!
      As for balancing things now, I agree with people suggesting to keep a planner and set timers: I used a planner to organise how much I needed to work every day, then I had timers set to work on for 45 minutes, which helped me to not feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to work all day. then in between work sessions I had timers for 10 minute breaks in which I could stare at my dolls or do some hobby-related things. I did this to try and pace my work to avoid burning myself out, but it also helped a lot with balancing work and hobby. Personally, completely blocking off my hobbies to focus on work just makes me upset, more tired, and it makes me dislike the work I'm doing a lot more, while not making me more productive.
      As for distraction during lectures is probably not all doll-related, it might be that if you were not in the doll hobby you'd get distracted thinking about other stuff... so I'm not sure what to suggest for that, I wasn't good with following lectures either lol.
    9. I just put my dolls on "hold" for the semester. They'll be there when breaks come around. Academics are my top priority. ;)
      • x 1
    10. Undergrad here. For me, I have smaller dolls and I struggle with depression and some anxiety, so my little ones have a little couch where they sit on my desk next to my computer but out of the way, and my msd sits up against the wall. I find they're wonderful motivators and comforting when I'm stressed or I just need to take my eyes off my work for 5 minutes. I also have days where I just want to blow off my work, and I think it's important to let yourself do that sometimes. Not often, say maybe once every 2 weeks. If you're more organized, you could even schedule it and then that's your designated day to blow stuff off and play with your dolls. I'd say if certain dolls are distracting you more than others, maybe only put those away for awhile and keep the others out for moral support. I think your love for dolls is fine so long as you are disciplined enough to manage it. Balance is key.
    11. Ugh, I wish I knew.
      I'm a second year PhD student... and personally I think it was a lot easier for me to focus on my studies, when I was younger than it is now. What I had to do was almost mandatory, so I just kept following the guidelines. At the moment my schedule is up to me, which on the one hand allows me a lot of freedom to decide on my priorities, on the other hand it requires me to channel my inner time-manager, who sometimes seems to be out of practise.
      My advice would be: having a routine.

      But I live at two places at once: during the weekdays I'm a flat-sharer and during the weekends I often return to my parents' house, where I keep my doll stuff (small flat's space issues solved XD), that means my dolls are out of reach most of the time and less distracting.
      Random web browsing and checking out e-shops is a completely different story.... orz
      • x 2
    12. I really love that this thread exists. When I first got into the hobby I was in undergrad (which... I still am... 8 years and some breaks later), and the doll hobby was DEFINITELY an occasional excuse not to do schoolwork. I had a lot of very local doll friends and would go hang out and do doll stuff instead of studying or whatever. Which may be why I'm only finishing now :sweat For me, the obsession part cooled off over the course of a couple years, and these days I'm much more distracted by other things in my life. I really love the suggestion of using timers, as well as using dolls as an incentive to get things done. I've found success using similar methods - homework for an hour and then 15-30 minutes of something else, or telling myself to finish a school project or a certain amount of work before getting into one of my hobbies.

      How long have you had your dolls? That 'new doll' obsession period definitely contributes to the distraction. I feel like I could hardly put my first doll down for like a year after I got him!
      • x 1
    13. Grad student here, though I was undergrad when I got into the hobby. I actually don't have this problem, which is a surprise to me, since I am a chronic procrastinator. I guess I just distract myself with other things, oops.

      As far as dolls and school go, I sometimes use them to de-stress after a rough week or even to take a break from schoolwork. Sewing relaxes me, so if I'm in a bad spot, I'll make something for someone. Or I'll redress a doll or take some photos or pose them or something. Sometimes just having them sit around with me while I watch netflix is comforting. I guess I use them as a reward more than a distraction? I definitely prioritize my schoolwork over dolls.
      • x 2
    14. I'm the sort of person who endlessly stresses when they have work to do, so much that it impacts my enjoyment of whatever the distraction may be. And then, because I'm stressed, whatever I'm doing "for fun" doesn't turn out very well. (It actually usually goes horribly wrong--like "the sewing machine ate my project" wrong.)

      That's why, when I'm really busy, I try to work on something I really can't screw up for a break (like sewing human clothes from a pattern I know by heart--less heartache that way).

      Honestly, I got in to the hobby, mostly because I think it actually helps me get stuff done. Even if I'm not working on my doll, I can get up and move them around, posing them at my desk, or whatever. It forces me to take a break (especially because--if I followed the most empirical study recommendations, I would be taking more breaks and studying in more frequent smaller chunks of time--lol).

      Honestly, for me, it's the internet that can sometimes be a distraction because it requires no input. I can get distracted reading Den of Angels, or researching some sewing technique, or on Netflix.

      I'm going to start a lab rotation, and then my first year of medical school in the fall, so it will be interesting to see if this persists as less of a problem--at college, I didn't really have access to a lot of my supplies, but now, with 8 years of med school ahead of me (if all goes as planned--combined program), I can justify bringing more of my crafting supplies with me.

      What really helped me in college (and will hopefully translate to a good study skill in med school and grad school--we'll see) was forcing myself to write study guides at the end of each week for that week's material. By exam time, I already had part of my studying (the condensation and reorganization part) already done.

      It's a huge pain, but if there are parts of it that get really repetitive (ugh flashcards), sometimes I compromise by listening or watching something while I do it (not the best, as there's less chance I'm learning it as I make the guide, but eventually you need a break).