A Week Off

Today is the start of my daughter’s school half term break, so I’m taking a week off! No webinar delivery, no sitting down to write, no admin or prep; I’ll check my email every other day perhaps just in case there’s something that can’t wait, but otherwise it’s family time for me.

The blog will continue to be published though. I planned ahead. Actually, I plan a long time ahead for this blog. I have a system in place so that if I was sick and had to take time off it would still keep going fine, for a while at least. The same with my business. I planned ahead, in the long term, to make sure nothing was in my diary for this week. I planned in the short term to make sure that things were finished last Friday or left in a good state for picking up next week.

A week off could be just what you need when you submit your thesis. A chance to pause, step back, rest, relax, clear your mind and do something for yourself, before you have to pick up your thesis and start to get ready for the viva.

A week off takes a little prep. Looking ahead, planning, finding good stopping points for projects, or sketching out how you start going again. Time off helps you work well when it’s time to be on. Make sure you take the time you need to help yourself be at your best.

Worn Away

You have time to press pause before you prep. You can put your completed thesis to one side and come back to it when you have had time to restore yourself. You can’t help yourself get ready for the viva if you don’t help yourself into a good condition more generally.

It’s general viva prep advice to pause and rest at submission, but essential if you reach submission and are tired by all you’ve had to do. If you feel worn down then a single day off is not going to help you get in the right frame of mind to read your thesis or prepare for a mock viva. Rest and take the time you need to get ready to prepare.

No Plans

It’s a public holiday in the UK. Unless your viva is 9am tomorrow you’re probably safe to relax for a day.

Rest. Take today for you.

Don’t read your thesis, scribble in margins, chat with your supervisor or look at one more paper.

Don’t make a big list of annotations to add to your thesis or commit your ten most valuable references to memory.

Don’t make a plan for the weeks leading up to your viva and what you might do over that period.

Rest is as important as all the reading, writing and rehearsing for the viva. You might need to do some or all of the things above in preparation but you don’t need to do it today.


A day off in the weeks leading up to your viva is not going to detract from your viva performance.

A day off in the week leading up to your viva doesn’t mean that you’re not taking it seriously.

A day off the day before your viva is possibly the best thing you can do, assuming you’ve already invested time in getting ready.

Rest helps. Unless you can’t sit still, unless you just have to do something, then taking some time to relax, recover, rest, destress and focus on being well is perhaps the most helpful thing you can do to help yourself before the viva.

Take today to rest, if you can.


Take breaks, make breakthroughs!

Another Bank Holiday Rest Post

Quite simply, it’s the best thing to say on days like today.

Yes, you need to read your thesis, make notes, have conversations and do lots of thinking before the viva…

…but you also need to rest. Relax. Recharge. Restore yourself.

Do what you can, not only so you’re rested for the viva, but so that you’re helping yourself generally.

Expect another of these posts in four weeks!

Rest Days

Today could be a rest day for you, even if your viva is soon.

Ready for the viva means you have to refresh your memory, rehearse for the situation of talking with your examiners and remind yourself that you did the work that’s got you this far.

Ready also means you need to be rested. Today could be a time to rest. And if not today, take two minutes to find a time when you will rest soon.

A Break Day

It’s not just a day off.

It’s an opportunity to tell yourself that you’re doing the right thing by having a day off.

It’s a time to tell yourself that you need to rest too.

It’s hopefully space to really get some rest and relaxation, in a period when there may have been fewer opportunities to do so.

Rest is an important part of life, never mind viva preparation – but if you are preparing, do take some time just to pause. Take breaks. Let your mind relax a little. Take some time to rest and help yourself be ready.

Take today, for a start.

Take Today Off Too (a haiku)

Keep resting, pausing,

Breathing, thinking and holding.

It’s fine for today.


It’s a Bank Holiday in the UK, and following yesterday’s post, I’m encouraging you to take another day off from viva prep, if you’re in a period of actively preparing.

Probably you’re planning to stay home today! But that doesn’t mean you have to prepare for your viva today. Unless your viva is tomorrow – and even then, take it easy. Be rested for the final push, whether it’s a final 24 hours or your last six weeks.

Regular-type posts resume tomorrow!

(and more viva-related haiku here!)

Take Today Off (a haiku)

If you can, please do.

Rest. Breathe. Press pause on your prep.

Smile. Connect. Be.


I wasn’t going to do any more viva haiku in 2020, but this seemed like a good time to remind people – especially now – that preparation for the viva includes taking breaks. If you’re overwhelmed, stretched, stressed and tired then you don’t need to read your thesis more or check a reference. You need a day off.

And probably you can’t take a day “off” – you need to be a family person or a friend or an adult doing housework. You have responsibilities. OK. If you have to do those things, at least take today off from your viva. Just pause it. It’ll be there when you come back, and you will be prepared for your viva when the time comes. Please, if you weren’t going to already, take today off.

(more viva-related haiku here)