my two big tips for PhD students:
1. be very skeptical of doing anything that's not putting a roof over your head or going in your dissertation.
2. try to make it so what's paying you is also going into your dissertation.
3. BONUS TIP: it helps if your ideas work, but if they don't, fail quickly. don't fail slowly.
also don't let your advisor suggest working on something outside their expertise, they will not know what's a good idea there.
Agree with all of the above. Looking back, I would have saved a lot of time if I worked more like this
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