Your personal PhD work-life balance: how to do less, but achieve moreCourses for beginning PhD candidates

Course information

Number of sessions: 3
Hours per session: 3
Entry level: Introduction
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €330,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information.


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School)

You can only enrol for one edition of this workshop.

Semester 1

Session 1
September 15 (Friday) 2017
Mandeville building (directions) room T3-03

Session 2
September 29 (Friday) 2017
Theil building (directions) room C2-03

Session 3
October 13 (Friday) 2017
Mandeville building (directions) room T3-40

Semester 2

Session 1
February 16 (Friday) 2018
Tinbergen Building (directions) H5-05

Session 2
March 2 (Friday) 2018
Tinbergen Building (directions) H5-01

Session 3
March 16 (Friday) 2018
Tinbergen Building (directions) H5-01


This interactive workshop offers you the opportunity to achieve your personal work-life balance. During this workshop, you will learn about how to achieve your personal work-life balance by (1) prioritising work and private goals and (2) optimally spending your time and energy to realise those goals. Through a series of practical exercises, you will learn to identify and focus on what's truly important to you.

Aims and working method

The aim of the workshop is to learn how to achieve your personal work-life balance. There are two sessions, consisting of reflection exercises and practical training directly applied to your work-life situation.

The workshop will be held in small groups, which allows you to reflect and ask questions about your personal situation. Participants will be informed well in advance by email on how to prepare for the sessions.

Learning objectives

The learning objectives of this workshop are to prioritize and focus on your personal work-life balance.

Session descriptions

  • Session 1:

    The aim of the first session is to map out your personal work-life balance. We will discuss the importance of leisure and common work-life challenges for PhD students and ways to deal with those. After the session, you will be able to:

    • analyse your weekly activities,
    • identify your roles in different life domains,
    • make internal and external expectations explicit.

Preparation: For seven days in a row, track your activities by the hour in the week planner provided.

  • Session 2:

    The central theme of the second session is: “do less, but achieve more”.  You will learn about the effects of being offline and “deep work” on your work and personal life. After session two, you are able to:

    • increase your attention span and decision making capabilities and imagination.
    • recognize the processing limits of the brains while multitasking.
    • deal with procrastination or overly controlling behaviour.
    • test your preference for segmenting or integrating work and life domains.
    • create a personal strategy on how to do less, but achieve more.

Preparation: Write your personal work-life plan in terms of values, destination, routes and actions by filling in the table provided. Experiment with being offline as a luxury.

About the instructor

Anne Annink is a final year PhD candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her international comparative research is about the work-life balance of self-employed workers.

Anne has extensive experience with facilitating workshops on work-life balance based on her research, personal experiences and her roles as chair of the PhD platform and being an independent yoga teacher.