Before I enrolled on my PhD I asked all my PhD friends for some advice.
They were really wonderful – what else – and gave me some great advice that I have been following. Here are some of the guidelines I was given:
#1 It’s OK to spend the first year – or most of it – reading and planning: If everything is clear, the “real” work will be quite fast.
#2 There will always be procrastination moments, period. Do other PhD-related things, read generic books or somewhat related to your area of research.
#3 Go to conferences, at least twice a year. Present stuff. It’s the easiest way to get to know people.
#4 Always have a plan B in case things don’t go as well as you planned.
#5 Read the top journals of your area and think about your studies as an article – always.
#6 Register everything you do, like a diary.
#8 Think simple. Every idea and every experiment will always (always) turn out more complicated than you expected.
#9 Team work.
#10 Drink beer.
#11 Work everyday.
#12 Don’t stop. Your supervisor’s feedback will never be immediate, so try to foresee things.
#13 Always send him/her the final version of things.
#14 Keep a routine. Practice sport.
#15 Write NOW.