To build any significant momentum on your dissertation, you need to write every day. It’s up to you how much you do every day, but commit to daily action and start a specific plan.
What do you need to do to get started?
1. Plan your schedule and keep it in front of you.
Use a hand-written daily calendar and make it visible—put it on a whiteboard. Know when you will settle in to work every day for a week at a time. Check that calendar (even though it won’t change), just to make it clear to your Lizard Brain that you will be in a certain spot and at certain time.
2. Underpromise the amount of time you will work each day.
• Be sure that you can work for the amount of time you are committing to. Don’t set yourself up for failure by overpromising.
• At the end of each work session, celebrate achieving your goal. Give yourself a pat on the back and a big smile, plus a big star on your calendar.
3. Anticipate that you will try to sabotage your own plan.
If you have a plan, will you still try to flake away? Probably– you’re an expert on this. How many times have you tried to start writing but still thrown “yeah, but’s” in your path. Don’t give yourself any leeway once you’ve put your schedule in place.
4. Get clear on where you slip up– Make a list of your treacherous distractions.
What have been your preferred interruptions and diversions? I’ve been around master procrastinators, and I’ve done a bit of it myself. You can’t fool a fooler.
• Does it all start with email?
The bane of your existence, perhaps? Too often all mischief starts with your checking an email for just a few seconds.
• Once you surrender to Facebook, is all hope lost?
Facebookhas shown “genius in harnessing the collective procrastination of an entire planet,” says the Washington Post. But, you knew that, right? And then on to Youtube. Whether it’s your boss sending you links to videos or you surfing Youtube, you get hooked and time passes.
5. Earn the time for social networking.
Earn the time by showing up on time for your writing session and sticking with it. Write. Don’t give your best time to what should be rewards. Earn the minutes that you will spend on Facebook or email.
6. Be accountable.
Again, anticipate where you stopped short in the past. Adding someone else to your process is a winning strategy.
You have lots of choices. Try one or try them all:
• Get in touch with your advisor
• Buddy up with another writer
• Check out a Dissertation Boot Camp
• Hire a dissertation coach
Time to commit to daily writing:
• Make a plan
• Get your support system in place.
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
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