Posts Tagged ‘be accountable’

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.

Best wishes,


Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach


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Are you hoping to do a bunch of work over the summer?  You’re not alone.  Almost every day I hear those very same words from my clients.

What can you put in place now that will help you be a productive writer this summer?

1.   Find out exactly how much time you are working now and what you are producing during that time.
When you start a diet, the first step is often to record every bite that you are eating.  If you’re serious about writing a bunch this summer, you first need to find out exactly how much you are working now.  If you are working, you’ll have something to show for it.  Track your work—keep a log.  How are you spending your time each day?  What did you produce?  How many pages did you write?  How many pages did you read?

2.  Analyze your findings.
Did you find that you spent 5 hours at your computer, but have no writing to show for it, or very little?  What had you planned to do during that time?  So what were you doing?

3.  Make a Weekly Time Commitment Record.
For every week of the summer, starting now, make a detailed plan that includes every day. You need to write your commitment or goal for each day and then record what you actually did produce each day.  You must be very detailed, very specific.
Your log/schedule needs to have several columns, with each column labeled:
a.  Date
b.  Commitment of what time of day you will work
c.  Commitment of number of hours you will work each day
d.  Actual time of day that you worked
e.  Actual number of hours you worked each day
f.  Notes:  What you did during each hour, even if it was organizing your desk.  Be sure to include exactly how much writing you did—in number of words or number of pages.

4.  Be accountable to someone.
Keeping track of how much writing you produce each week and how much time you spent working will work best if you are accountable to someone.  If you know that you are going to show your Weekly Time Commitment to a dissertation coach or your advisor, you will be much more likely to stick to the commitment.

You’ll be smart to get started observing and making commitments now.  Don’t put obstacles in your own way.  Plan for productivity.

Here’s to a great summer!

Nancy Whichard, PhD, PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach

P.S. I’m just about ready to send out my Smart Tips newsletter.  I think you’ll enjoy it – the lead article in this issue is “5 Strategies for Drastic Situations.” Go to my website at www.nancywhichard.com, and underneath my picture on the home page, sign up for Smart Tips.


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