Being a research student is really tough. I mean tough! The most difficult part is keeping up the self discipline, day after day, week after week. As a research student, you make your own schedule, you even make your own syllabus pretty much. I handle the syllabus part just fine, but I struggle with maintaining a disciplined schedule. It takes a while to get into a stable rhythm where you work according to plan and remain focussed on the task at hand, for however long it takes. On the other hand, it’s really easy to upset said rhythm: a late night coding spree, a night out with friends, an unexpected task that makes you diverge from your plan for the day etc. are often sufficient to make me sleep late and mess up the next day. Self discipline requires commitment, and a lot of hard work. Luckily, I’m not alone in this struggle. Here’s a helpful post on improving self discipline: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/self-discipline/. Since I spend most of my day at a computer, I went around and looked for tools that would help me keep focussed on my work; keep me away from distractions (yes, Facebook is a distraction); and help me work according to the plans I make.