The years spent working towards a PhD are not just about producing a thesis. They are also a period of training in the profession of academic scholarship: gaining valuable experience of academia, developing your CV, building up networks and establishing yourself as a scholar.
Your priorities will depend on your reasons for doing a PhD. If you want to pursue a career in academia it is important to undertake professional development activities such as:
- Presenting your work at seminars and conferences
- Organising events such as exhibitions and conferences
- Publishing your work in academic journals
- Tutoring and lecturing undergraduates
It can be a challenge to balance the time and energy you devote to working on your thesis and the time you spend on professional development activities. Careful time management will enable you to juggle the different tasks as you move through early stages of your academic career.
Ideally the efforts spent enriching your professional profile will feed into your thesis. Conference papers and journal articles may become parts of chapters, and the ideas and inspiration you get from participating in a research community will also benefit your thesis.