Dealing with Thesis/Dissertation Procrastination

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The most useful tips I’ve ever learned about thesis/dissertation writing have been incredibly practical. I’ve tried all kinds of motivational tools, PhD writing guides and software to encourage me to get the THING done. Some work, many just sit on my shelf or cost me needless money.  I’m not selling anything here, either – just sharing what’s worked for me.

You might look at the title of this post and say: Meh! I’ve heard it all before! or: I suppose you’re going to tell me to do something every day? Now that’s revolutionary. Like, I’ve never heard that before? Why did I waste my time reading this tripe? I’ll preface my tips by saying that I’ve coped with two children, a full time job, a casual job at a fitness centre, my own fitness regime and managed to have a life as well as write a PhD thesis. Because. Of. These. Actions.

These are the three really simple actions (not cheesy or meh! paternalisms) that helped me get IT done:

  1. Go for a walk (about 30 min will do) and think about your thesis. It doesn’t matter if you think about how stuck you are, or that you’re bored with it or whatever. Walking works. Walking unblocks blocks. I don’t know why, it just does. My own thesis productivity is linked directly with ‘thinking walks.’
  2. Open your thesis document and just read it for 5 min. You will almost always do something to your text – even if it’s just changing the style of a heading or adding a reference.
  3. Print out your table of contents completed thus far and admire how far you’ve come. Don’t argue with yourself. Just do it – even if you’ve just written the first draft of the very first section of the very first piece of writing you’ve ever done! Look at what you’ve already done and know that by writing just this small piece tomorrow or the day after, you’re going to eventually have 100,000 words!

See, I told you they were real non-cheesy, non-meh! actions. Why don’t you try them out and let me know if they work for you?

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