Procrastination ShirtIs anyone struggling like I am with procrastination while working on the dissertation? If so, are there ways in which you sometimes overcome it? How?


3 Responses

  1. Here are two related strategies that worked for me when I was writing my dissertation proposal, both related to the core idea of “how to write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day.” The basic idea is to get a little bit done every day.

    My first strategy works for most any task I’ve been procrastinating about. I’ll set a timer for 15-20 minutes and promise myself I’ll work on a task at least that long. That’s long enough to get into a flow and I’ll usually end up working on it for closer to an hour. (There used to be a really nice freeware count-down timer I downloaded off the web, but that site disappeared. Now I use a clock/timer plug-in in Google desktop sidebar.)

    My second strategy is to see how many “writing sessions” I can accomplish in a day. The first one is the first priority for the day. Even when I was in the work phase where I was writing a lot of pages in a day, I found it difficult to do more than 3 or 4 intense periods of writing in one day. They key for me was to work up to consistently getting that many done per day for many days in a row.

    This discussion reminds me of the old adage… How do you eat an elephant? The answer is, one bite at a time.

    Good luck with your dissertation.

  2. I have also found that doing more than 3-4 intense writing periods in one day is difficult. My brain simply gets tired. And a tired brain is of no value to me when writing the dissertation (at least in the proposal stage).

    A related challenge has been avoiding procrastinating distractions, like web surfing or writing on this OCIS site – haha. I wish I could disconnect my computer from the network, but I need the network to do research (look up journal articles, seek other information).

  3. I agree. “Little by little” is a really important concept for us to achieve any goals. Like 30 minutes exercise for everyday makes one’s body much healthier. Also, I think that we should have a good relationship with our brain. We cannot force our brain to work….

    About general procrastination issue – Cleaning up one’s ‘To Do List’ every week (or month) may work too. Sometimes there is an item just staying there for a while. I try to re-visit such item by asking myself whether it is still worthwhile to keep it there…

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