Universiteit Leiden

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Working effectively

Managing your brain

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the multitude and variety of tasks that are expected of you as a PhD candidate? This workshops helps you navigate the different facets of your work. We will be looking into how your brain works and practicing methods for managing your brain.

Target group
PhD candidate
Menno Pronker
Training course
The workload for this course amounts to 4 hours (3 hours training plus homework)

Why this course?

Doing a PhD entails a heterogeneous and challenging workload. You will be doing a good deal of reading, writing, and, if your work requires it, data collection, and data analysis. You will also be managing a large project, steering your research, and doing administrative duties. Maybe you will be presenting your work at international conferences, and you might find yourself networking with the big shots in your field. And you do all these tasks while working for a demanding supervisor, without very explicit instruction on how to perform these tasks. In short, you are an independent multi-tasker. Given the variety and multitude of tasks, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed every once in a while - to the extent that you might sometimes forget what an incredibly great job you have!

This workshop offers tools to help you navigate this complex environment. Upon completion of this course, you will have more insight into how your brain works. This helps you, in the challenging academic environment, to manage your brain, improve your efforts and maximize your qualities by also accepting your limits. What topics (tools to relativize, negative thoughts, memory, or mind-mapping) will receive most attention will depend on the specific requirements of the participants.


This is an interactive workshop that relies heavily on the input of the participants. The trainer will offer information and instructions on various different topics based on participant demand. Furthermore, participants will be sharing their experiences, their difficulties, and their ways to deal with these difficulties. As such, peer-to-peer feedback is an important part of this workshop.

Topics that will be covered in the course:

  • The workings of your brain
  • Tools to relativize
  • The Circles of Concern & Influence
  • Dealing with negative thinking
  • Various techniques for memorization
  • The technique of mind-mapping
  • Sharing experiences

Practical information

  • You can register for this course using the registration buttons on the right side of this page. Please note the difference between Staff (employee of Leiden University) and Extern/LUmc (e.g. extern, self-funded researchers or employee at LUmc). 
  • The course is free of charge for employee- and contract PhD candidates. For external PhD candidates, we charge a fee of €100,-.
  • After confirmation we kindly ask you to mark your calendar and save the date(s) for this course.
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