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I am Ghayda Aljuwaiser, and This is How I Work

Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Ghayda Aljuwaiser. Ghayda is a doctoral student @ SHU (Sheffield Hallam University), 4th year, in the C3RI (Communications & Media Department). Her thesis is exploring Saudi women’s online practices on social media platforms. She worked as a lecturer between 2009 – 2013 @ KAU (King Abdulaziz University), Jeddah – Saudi Arabia, taught several modules in Sociology and Communication, to – female – bachelor students. In her free time she Tweets, writes/ blogs, reads and goes to the Theatre!

Current Job: I hold a position as a T.A @ Media & Communication Faculty – KAU in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, granted a scholarship from the department of communication skills to pursue my PhD in the UK since 2013 .
Current Location: Sheffield, UK
Current mobile device: iPhone 6s plus
Current computer: MacBook, 12 inches

Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
Currently a PhDeir @ SHU (Sheffield Hallam University), C3RI department (Media & Communications). Started my fourth year on September 2017. My thesis is looking at Saudi women’s online practices on social media platforms

What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
Google Drive (Docs and Slides): for daily writing,
Scrivener: for conferences abstracts and presentations ‘scenarios’ & monthly reports (clarify).
Microsoft word: for finalising my submissions formatting,
Evernote: to log scattered materials, such as: books to read, papers to download, ideas for my thesis chapters etc.
Calendars5: to organise my days, weeks and months.
Doodle: recently to arrange my meetings with my supervisors,
Omnioutliner: to plan the meetings agenda and record them also.
Mendeley: for pdf references,
Google Scholar: is my daily addiction: I sat a notification for certain topics – keywords, which keeps me updated with latest research in my field, and also to follow scholars and copy-paste app citations ^_^ (we all know Mendeley fails sometimes).
I also use citethisforme occasionally for referencing purposes.

What does your workspace setup look like?
I don’t have a fixed workspaces, I alternate across different locations:

  • @ my office @ the Uni 
  • Cafes all over Sheffield
  • The Uni’s library (something Uni of Sheffield and the Diamond building also)

4. What is your best advice for productive academic work?

  • Set realistic – small goals
  • Believe you can accomplish them
  • Stick to your to-do-list
  • What you think is ‘rubbish writing’ will turn to a neat 1st draft: trust me, just write, and do what you have to do, even if it didn’t make sense, it will turn into great work afterwards
  • Work from Mon – Fri, and treat yourself on Sat & Sun; build new skills, discover new places and read non-academic stuff

How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
Recently, I downloaded a template for: Publication Prioritising and Goal Setting, by Hugh Kearns. I wish I had discovered it earlier, yes I ‘tweaked’ the file, but overall it helped me to follow my productivity and my work progress. Recommended for all newbies in academia and PhDiers especially.

Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?

  • Logitech Bluetooth mouse and a Foldable Wireless Keyboard
  • Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter to connect the uni PCU monitor to my MacBook, it helps to reduce writing neck pain ?
  • Does the Wii U Console count? I watch movies, T.V shows etc, via Amazon video, Netflix and YouTube ?

Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
Doing research in a multidisciplinary topic, where my readings and writings cross different fields: HCI-CHI, Sociology, Ethnography, MENA- GCC arena, Women/Gender and Cross-Cultural studies.

What do you listen to when you work?
Mainly Saudi tunes, sometimes Arabic and seldom English. Here is my Soundcloud likes list 😉

What are you currently reading? How do you find time for reading?
Since I began my writing up, mid of the third year, my reading rate has declined :(. Even on the weekends, I tend to read articles more than books. I’ve only managed to read around 10 books in 2017 ?. Anyway, I’m currently reading a book, by a famous Saudi intellectual figure: Ghazi AlGosaibi, he died in 2010. (was the Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland btw). The book is a collection of talks and articles he gave/published @/in different venues/magazines, it looks at Globalisation and National Identity, specifically within the late 1990s (1998). How – for example – Saudi Arabia should look at international models in development and business for examples and adopt them within the cultural context, how the media broadcasting was changing dramatically, and how diplomatics should adapt with such transformations. He reflects on his own – both – personal and professional experience, what he has learned and what he wishes the public and the private sectors could reform and change. I’ve dictate weekends for free reading, and recently and built a habit of pre-sleep reading!

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
I consider myself an extrovert, but living abroad/on my own, the whole experience of having my own apartment and daily routine have changed some of my preferences, such as: avoid noisy places, prefer to surround myself with less but more trustworthy and easy going people, talking less and listen more ? .. I don’t know if the habits I’ve already gained growing up, or the experience of studying abroad experience, but I noticed how much my lifestyle, relationships and the communication with people have changed.

What’s your sleep routine like?
To be honest, I don’t have a fixed sleep routine, but generally I sleep around 12-1:30 a.m .. start my day around 11 a.m -12 p.m. This of course is subjected to change in weekends, vacations, travelling to Saudi and not mentioning surprising to do missions, such as this paragraph, which I am finalizing @ 3:22 a.m! ?

What’s your work routine like?

As I mentioned, I arrive to the office around 12 p.m., stay there until 9:00 p.m. I focus on certain to do list, what I have to write-submit, sometimes transcribing-reading comes in the middle. At the meantime, I’m working on my DA chapters, so my work is focused on one chapter: translating, reflecting then emerging themes and sub-themes for finalising my drafts for submissions. I sometimes use tomato timer to set my writing hours, I also use wordkeeperalpha to log my word count.

What’s the best advice you ever received?
Keep writing .. don’t give up .. chin up .. you can do it 🙂

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