Staring At The Clock

I was in full flow in my viva. The questions were challenging but fair. I was working hard to explain and explore my work, but that was, I suppose, to be expected.

Then I happened to notice the time. The clock on the wall informing me that we had been discussing things now for almost two-and-a-half hours.

I didn’t know if this was good or bad. I had no real expectations or understanding of what happened at a viva. But two-and-a-half hours seemed like a long time. I was surprised that was how long it had been so far.

I started to wonder how much longer it might be.

It seemed like a good idea to look up every now and then to “keep an eye on the time”. This quickly became a distraction, the first two-and-a-half hours of my viva had seemed to pass in no time at all. Now it felt as if time had slowed to a crawl…


Staring at the clock didn’t help.

Staring at the clock never helps.

Staring at the clock does nothing but distract.

For the most part the venue for your viva doesn’t make a great difference on your experience. It’s a seminar room or it’s over Zoom, that’s all. However, in either situation, do what you can to avoid staring at the clock.

If you have a video viva, place a little Post-it Note in the corner of your screen to obscure the clock once you get started. If you’re in-person for your viva, arrange to sit with your back to the clock in the meeting room.

Knowing the time does nothing to help you. You will only wonder when you’ll be finished, or whether you’re progressing well. It’s far better to reserve all your focus for simply engaging with the discussion in your viva.