Trying to finish a dissertation draft or an article or a chunk of writing before the holidays?
Also trying to keep on top of your daily job or finish your grading?
And don’t even mention that you have kids.
Did you mention that you’re sleep-challenged?
And struggling with the real need to eat sweets just to cope?
You can be productive in your writing during the next couple of weeks.
1. Deadlines can boost your productivity. Deadlines can help you become efficient in your writing. An efficient writer focuses on the essential, does not go down rabbit holes, and writes to the point. Surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. And you will know that you’re finished (for now) with your draft/article/bit of writing because the deadline has arrived.
2. Choose your carrot—plan the reward. You most likely have holiday plans coming up. Make sure that your holiday plans include something you’re really looking forward to doing. At the end of each writing session, remind yourself of the reward you’ll have, just as soon as you make this deadline. Choose your carrot and wave it in front of your nose.
3. Control your anxiety by being responsible. Do what you said you are going to do.
4. Don’t even think about starting to write until you have slowed everything down inside your head and in your chest. To corral yourself into starting to write, first sit quietly at your desk. Push aside the non-essentials and the distractions.
5. Watch out for the sugar demons. Years ago when I wrote my master’s thesis, I’d keep a box of vanilla wafers nearby to help me get started on most writing sessions. Today I’d try to make better choices.
6. Commit to today’s writing session. As you start each writing session, focus on the goals for that one session. Commit to efficiency, to reasonable breaks during the session, and to accomplishing specific goals for today.
7. When the daily session ends, give yourself a cheer and leave that session with gratitude and gladness. Be glad you’re done for the day and be grateful for your day’s accomplishment.
You can be productive even during this time of the year if you have a reasonable deadline, you take responsibility for meeting it, and you keep in mind the reward that will follow.
Hiring a dissertation coach helps you take responsibility for your work. Give it some thought, o.k.?
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
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