(Closed) No discipline to finish my thesis!

posted 6 years ago in College
Post # 3
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m in professional school, and I completely feel your pain! I have 2 1/2 weeks of class left before break and it’s so hard to stay on task! WeddingBee certainly does not help.

I have an internet switch on my computer. When I really need to get down to business, I turn it off. It also helps if I don’t have my logins set to automatically let me in.

But, what do I know, I have a paper due tomorrow and I’m on here!

Post # 5
864 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@grayandorange:  When I wrote my master’s thesis I would make myself go to a quiet lab. It’s way easier to get work done there than at home!

Post # 6
2605 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Yes. Although this is sort of the blind leading the blind, seeing as I’m also behind on a dissertation, but FWIW:

1. Give yourself a schedule. This is the MOST IMPORTANT TIP I can give you. Set aside time–like a couple hours a day–to work on your thesis and treat it like an iron-clad appointment. Think of it like practicing piano or going to the gym. You sit down, you spend 2 hours on the thesis, and then you STOP. But the key is you MUST be consistent with this. You have to actually sit down and do it EVERY DAY (okay, maybe you can have Sundays off. But that’s it.) If you can’t do 2 hours, do 1. Heck, even 45 minutes is better than nothing (PhD students have been known to do it with as little as 20 minutes, but I don’t recommend that if you are an undergrad). But the rules are there is no breaking this appointment, there is no taking calls or tooling around on the Internet, and door knocks go unanswered, unless it’s the Fire Department. This is why, incidentally, a lot of students/writers/artists find that they’re most productive if they force themselves to work between say, 3-6am or 10pm-1am. 

2. Do not get all freaked out by the blank page or matters of articulation. If you are having trouble starting, spend the first 20 minutes writing really really really terribly. I have rough paragraphs that say things like, “So, I think where I want to go with this is into Doe’s theory on being-thingy (pg. 84) because it’ll set up comparison between x and y.” Don’t bother with typos, don’t bother with citations (just put something like CITE HERE in paren and get it later), just try your best to establish what you want to say in the worst possible way. You can always edit it later. 

3. If you write 6 days a week, try alternating the days so that on 3 days you write at breakneck speed–I mean, like 8-10 pages an hour, which will feel out-of-control crazy fast–and 3 that you spend refining those pages. This is a technique I’ve heard works well for a lot of people because it’ll get you tons of material and lots of pages which is an invaluable confidence-boost and will help motivate you throughout the process. 

4. Some people need absolute quiet and no distractions. Others (me) find this more punishing than helpful and prefer to work in a coffee shop with a nice cup of coffee or at home in my own office with my favorite mellow music. I need to make myself comfortable; others need to crack the whip. Figure out which type you are and set up your working environment accordingly. 

5. It helps to have a support group, if you can get one. If you’ve got friends who are also working on theses, consider setting up a bookclub-style meeting once a week in which you talk about your progress and share snippets of your work. The point is not so much that they become your editors, but more that it’s incentive to work towards mini-goals and support for when it gets tough. 

Good luck! You can do it!

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