Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘perfectionism’ Category

You’re frustrated that it is taking so much time to get to the dissertation finish line. 

Do you minimize your efforts and withhold any sense of accomplishment for the work you’ve done to get this far?  Each week you look back and dismiss your work “Is that all? Well, really, that wasn’t good enough.”

 

Is it all or nothing for you?

Here are three approaches that may be of help in beating back that all-or-nothing mentality

 

Practice an old virtue

Are you impatient with how long it takes to accomplish a significant piece of writing?  Impatient with how long it takes to do something big? 

With never enough time, we may feel that patience is a luxury that we can’t indulge in. We whip ourselves to work faster and to produce more, without acknowledging ourselves for the work we have accomplished.  Practicing patience encourages us to work steadily and moderately, rather than throwing ourselves into a wildly exhausting, desperation move to meet a deadline.  

To remind yourself that patience has a place in your life as a writer, try something that might remind you of your mother.  Think of something that your mother would encourage you to do on a regular basis, something you would resist, but when you finally did it, you would grudgingly see the benefit.  I’m thinking of something small that you could try, like improving your posture.  Every so often, say, once an hour, throw your shoulders back, raise your head, and take a deep breath.  Let that action serve as a reminder of the beneficial results of doing something patiently, consistently.

Slow and steady.  Little by little.  Patience.

 

Add a new strategy

Set a 24-hour goal for yourself. Is it hard to value the small steps you are making and what’s possible in the short-term?  Put your focus on a manageable goal for each day, rather than the goal for week’s end.

Ask yourself what writing goal you can do within the next 24 hours.  What one thing?  Whether you have four hours a day or one hour a week to accomplish the goal, think about what is reasonable for you to complete in the amount of time that you have.  Write your 24-hour goal in a very conspicuous place, such as on your white board.  

Then the next day ask the same question of yourself — what one thing can I do within the next 24 hours?

Be sure to keep a record of your success in meeting the 24-hour goal.

 

Put a better routine in place

Recently I received an inquiry about my two-week Boot Camp that I offer writers.  The person asked how people who work and have families can find time to do anything more. 

Finding time to write during the week when you have so many demands is tricky, but not impossible.  Boot Camp is adapted to each person’s needs.  What many writers want is a retreat, an oasis in her day which she can dedicate to her writing project, and someone to whom she can be accountable on a daily basis.  Whether we call the time a Writer’s Retreat or Boot Camp, the critical elements are reasonable, daily writing goals and a moderate, consistent writing routine.

What might help you to work moderately and consistently?

I’d love to hear from you. 

Watch your email for the February edition of my newsletter—Smart Tips for Writers. If you aren’t receiving my newsletter, you can sign up on my website (www.nancywhichard.com).

All good wishes,

Nancy

Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
http://www.dissertationbootcamp.net
http://www.usingyourstrengths.com
http://www.smarttipsforwriters.com
nancy @ nancywhichard.com

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams

Read Full Post »

It can’t be  a coincidence that over the last couple of weeks many of my dissertation and writing coaching clients have been dealing with overwhelm.  For many, fatigue is now catching up with them and exacerbating their stress level.

When I asked a client what she would like to do, she said, “Work in my yard.”  But when I suggested she take an hour to do that, she said, “I can’t!  I can’t take time off.”

With a schedule that is packed not only with writing deadlines, but also for some, with end-of-the semester deadlines, stress becomes epidemic.

All of that grading that was on to-do lists but wasn’t done is now sounding an alarm.  Grades are due in just a few weeks.

Many writers are worried about getting a draft finished and also holding onto committee members who may disappear into the mist come the end of the semester.

At this time of the year, do you ever feel as if you’re being pecked to death by ducks?

Here are some tips for putting one foot in front of the other that my dissertation clients and writing clients want to share:

1.  Keep a daily priority focus.

2. Stay in the present–Keep from being way too focused on the future. 

3. One thing at a time–As you work, focus on accomplishing one thing at a time

4. Watch for triggers that make you feel you need or want to be perfect or right.

5.  Give yourself a moment every day to think about what is good in your life.

6.  Acknowledge your wins–As you remind yourself of your daily priority focus, also acknowledge what you have done.

It’s important for your momentum and for your mental health to do what you said you’d do and also to acknowledge what you’ve done.

Deep breath!

Nancy
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com
www.usingyourstrengths.com
www.smarttipsforwriters.com

Read Full Post »

Even though you may have a stated intention of working on your dissertation and making steady progress, you do everything and anything to sabotage yourself.  Could this be you?

If  this sounds familiar, read on.

A dissertation client is having great trouble moving forward.  Every week when we talk, there’s been another obstacle which has kept her from meeting the weekly goal. 

What gets in her way is that she discounts all of the success she’s had that got her to where she is now.  From what she has told me, I know that for ten years she has been moving ahead in her academic life, but she routinely discounts any academic accomplishment or even the stamina that it’s taken for her to keep on this difficult path. 

She’s doing all-or-nothing thinking. 

Because she doesn’t have her PhD, none of the work along the way matters.  She made it through her qualifying papers, made it through 3 or 4 years of courses, got her master’s, and all the time has continued to work in a demanding job.

But none of it matters. 

She understands intellectually how a person can dismiss past success, but she thinks she doesn’t dismiss it because she intellectually understands how a person could do this.  But she does it. 

She continues to distort her experience.

Without acknowledging how hard she’s worked and how that work has brought success, she makes it incredibly difficult to make steady progress toward her PhD.

Giving yourself credit for each success, no matter how small, helps you gain momentum and ultimately move into flow.  If you distort your experience, you very likely will make procrastination the usual approach to your daily work. With procrastination your first response, you waste time and energy. 

Your work is hard enough without handicapping yourself. 

How about making a list of your successes?  Want to share them?  I’d love to hear what you conveniently forget about yourself.

To your best!

Nancy
Your International Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

P.S. Read more about procrastination in my newsletter Smart Tips. Go to www.nancywhichard.com to sign up.

Read Full Post »

A dissertation client told me that that a couple of years ago her professor suggested they plan to publish together. But the graduate student could never get herself to devote even a day to work on this project.  She kept putting it off.  Now she feels like it will never happen. And why would the graduate student not take advantage of this offer?  She said that she was afraid that her writing couldn’t measure up to her professor’s view of her work.

What could possibly stop people from doing work that potentially could rocket them forward in their careers or personal lives?

Many of my dissertation clients have told me that when they were younger they breezed along, always getting good grades, being the whiz kids they knew they were, but then they’ve come up against the dissertation or even a great, but challenging opportunity.  Fearing failure or fearing to show that they might be less than perfect, they  putter along, doing a little work but never really getting down to it, never finishing, and never taking a risk.  

If you don’t want to let a big opportunity slip away, you might ask yourself how important is it to protect your dignity?  How important is it for you never to risk failure? 

If this is you, it’s time to get clear on what you’re missing out on and what you’re delaying in your life because of excuses and fear.

If you’ve used procrastination as a shield, how were you able to break loose?  I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s to finishing and moving on!

Nancy
Your Dissertation and Academic Career Coach
nancy@nancywhichard.com
www.nancywhichard.com

P.S.  My newsletter Smart Tips is ready to go out. To sign up, go to my website — www.nancywhichard.com.  This issue is on procrastination.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts