I always make sure I have a plan for Monday before I stop work for the weekend. It helps me to motivate myself at the start of the week.

Whenever I’m about to wash the dishes I check to see if there’s any leftover hot water in the kettle from the last cup of tea. Even a small amount can save some water and gas from running our boiler.

I use a piece of software called TextExpander to help with regular writing tasks. Simple keyboard shortcuts create strings of social media tags, my email signature – even whole emails for sending to university finance departments! It saves a lot of time.


I love life hacks and little things that save time or effort. I don’t have anything like that to offer for the viva. Everything you need to do for the viva takes exactly the time or effort needed. You can’t shortcut reading or annotating. You can’t write a summary using an easy method. A mock viva can’t be halved with one weird trick – and neither can the real viva!

There are small viva prep tasks – sticking in bookmarks to your thesis, making lists and the like – but these aren’t hacks. There’s no room for shortcuts – and no need for them either.

Take your time. There’s no need to rush. There’s no need to work smarter or harder.

Use the opportunity of the submission period to get ready for the viva, and use the viva to succeed.