Tools of the Trade

Essential tools for This PhD student:

  • Books. Many of them. There should never be fewer than thirty books on one’s desk at any time.
  • Moleskine notebook(s). Odd pages numbered; running table of contents regularly updated in the back, clearly labelled on spine.
  • Yellow legal pad(s). Necessary for jotting thoughts and making Research and/or Writing Schedules.
  • Research and/or Writing Schedule. Kept posted above desk. Updated for each section and/or chapter.
  • Ring binders.Several of these, preferably one for each primary text, are necessary for filing articles.
  • Assorted folders. Helpful for carrying drafts of chapters around or photocopies back from the library.
  • Accordion file. For filing drafts of previous chapters.
  • Plenty of coloured pens. Must have quality ink. Colours preferred: blue, black, red.
  • Additional liquid-ink pens. Preferred colours: green and black.
  • Mechanical pencils. Must have effective erasers.
  • Post-it notes. For notes to self and daily to-do lists.
  • Headphones. With which to listen to music without disturbing one’s officemates.
  • Mug. For tea or water.


Additional, Optional items that are Helpful to Have:

  • Slippers. For when one wears welly boots into town or one’s shoes are uncomfortable.
  • Blanket. For when the office is cold.
  • Laptop stand. With built in fan, to keep one’s laptop running efficiently at a pleasant angle.
  • Back pad. To improve one’s posture while sitting at one’s desk.
  • Snacks. Essential for long hours and rewards for working.
  • Toys. For adding a personal touch to one’s desk, and to play with when no one is looking.
  • &tc. Other items at one’s discretion.

One thought on “Tools of the Trade

  1. Sarah says:

    I like this list. Add to it: A cell phone, with which to occasionally make international calls to vent about bad days and make them happy again. And to make your friend happy. ❤


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