Five thesis writing tips for procrastinators
Whatever they say, writing a thesis is hard nut to crack. And if you’re a procrastinator, lots of things are left to finish in minimal time. So here’s a list of five things that work great for me to get things done faster, maybe they will for you too?
1. Get your social media under control
The least distracted you are, the faster you will be done with thesis writing.
These are my favourite applications to stay focused:
How it works: the tree grows while the app stays open and counts down the time you want to focus for (anything between 10 minutes and two hours). You can even make it play funky forest tunes, like rain falling on leaves. (guaranteed you’ll go to the toilet twice as much though)
If you fail to leave your phone alone and leave the app, your cute little tree dies a sad death 🙁
If when you succeed in leaving it alone however, you not only create a dense forest, you also deserve coins with which you can unlock other species of plants and different sounds to go with it.
This is a really visual reality check for those of us who easily think they have done a lot, while they were actually distracted much of the time (isn’t that all of us?).
cost: $1.99 (but think of all the time you buy back)
How it works: This is an application you can download on a Mac computer that allows you to block websites you want to stay away from if you are easily tempted to drift off. You can choose to make a black list of sites you don’t want to visit, or to make a white list of sites you are only aloud to surf on. This works much better than an extension because you cannot just go onto a different browser to circumvent the blockage. (Guilty as charged.)
cost: absolutely nothing
Facebook feed eradicator
How it works: This is an extension on Google Chrome that you download and let it do it’s job. Painfully true quotes about productivity then pop up instead of your newsfeed that should make you work harder. It is mostly old philosophers giving you a more of an inferiority complex than anything else but still.. I’ve had this application for months now and every now and then I check the feed on my phone, only to realise how I haven’t missed a thing all this time. (There’s always other people checking on relationship intrigues for you :p)
2. Social pressure
How it works: Okay this one is a little bit out of the odds, but I really need social pressure to keep me going, knowing I’m not the only one stuck in front of a laptop on a sunny day. Luckily my sister in Belgium is also writing her PhD, so we hold “work Skype sessions” whenever we can. The concept is simple: you Skype each other and you work. She knows whenever my mouth is curling or my eyes dwindle off that I’m thinking about other things, doing other things, … So she’ll call me off my cloud and stick my nose straight back into my books. (unless she’s in that mood and distracts me even more…)
3. Stay sane
– Emergency food
Cook healthy things, make a lot of extra, put it in boxes and freeze for emergency times. Whenever you haven’t been productive enough during the day and it’s getting later in the day but so much closer to your deadline and you don’t want to waste more time cooking, you just pick one of your previous (undoubtedly delicious) creations out of the freezer!
– Snack all the time
Whenever I’m working from home I’m so tempted to be in my fridge all the time. So I am :). The only way not to grow into another Elky is by stacking loads of carrots, fruits, nuts, … It’s so much easier to make that decision in the supermarket than in the heat of the moment with my fingers already tearing apart the packaging of a cookie box. The only cooky-kind-of-thing I still have is dark chocolate, can never do away with chocolate, don’t be silly. You’ll encounter so many good fika’s whenever you’re out and about anyway, it’s Sweden after all.
– Snap it, work it, quickly sweat it.
My back gets super sore from sitting behind a desk all day, even my knees are just about ready for retirement. So have some dance parties every hour and go for a swim or a run (or whatever you like) early in the day to start your day off right!
4. Mark your agenda
– Stalk your supervisors
Supervisors can be such scary people to contact, but they actually aren’t really. You automatically put so much importance in your communication with them, but they are such busy people you are probably just another agenda point. So stalk them, e-mails that go without replies are completely normal and you have to fight to make it onto their agenda. Be polite, but grab their attention!
– Plan, plan, plan
If I don’t plan my day in advance, that’s a guarantee for a day gone wasted. So each evening, I make a tiny schedule for the next day, with hour division. Of course I never live up to my schedules, but it makes me work harder because I have some artificial deadline to live up to and know where I’m at (/how much is left to do), which brings me to the next point of…
– Artificial deadlines
I had a year for my thesis (of which about 5% is now left, with about 50% of the work), so it is way too tempting to take holidays off when you’re far away from that due date. So making artificial deadlines sounds like a natural thing to do, but I mean more than that. If you don’t have any early hand-ins, just create them for yourself. Make promises to your supervisor of parts you will have finished. Hell, even make them to your mom or boy/girlfriend and let them read some things. That pressure is what keeps me on my toes (during holidays off :p).
5. Promise yourself a big treat
It may not look like it now, but there’s life after a thesis! So plan something amazeballs to look forward to afterwards. A kayak trip (my personal choice), big graduation party, movie marathon or whatever you are currently deprived of.
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Contact me at elke.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com
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Written by Justine
- Evans W.1 year ago
I love this. I look forward to studying in Sweden hopefully next year and reading your posts has made me ready psychology. I am very gratefulReply
- Mariela1 year ago
I’ve been there Elke! I did my Master at Stockholm University and I was literally the queen of procastination. Sadly, I still am but now at the PhD level…
So, I will take your advice and see how it goes.
- Leading Management Consulting Firm1 year ago
Awesome collection,I think this is very helpful for every blog has to need this useful info.Reply
- Ann Vandeput1 year ago
Good luck Elke with finishing your thesis!
You have my support! 🙂Reply
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5 Tips for Writing a Dissertation or Thesis
Modified on May 26, 2017 by Max Wilbert
Writing a thesis or dissertation is a daunting prospect, something that many Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD candidates dread. Even after years of schooling, having to put together and defend a long piece like this is a huge job. In fact, it’s one of the most intimidating things that many students will face in their careers.
Fortunately for you, many people have come before you, so you can learn from their wealth of experience on this subject. This article will share the five most important general tips to help you get ready for writing your dissertation or thesis.
Ready? Let’s get started.
How to Write a Great Dissertation or Thesis
1. Brainstorming Your Concept
The fundamental — and maybe most important — part of writing a dissertation or thesis is the ideas that form the foundation of the whole exercise. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid theoretical framework for your project before you begin. Choose your idea wisely!
Ideally, you should be thinking in advance about your thesis or dissertation in the months and years leading up to it. When it’s time to get serious about moving forward and writing, take some time to do a “brain dump”. Write down all your ideas, concepts, and thoughts related to your project on paper. Consider arranging this in a mind map to allow for linkages to be explored. Some people even like to create an online bank of ideas or flashcards with thesis topics so that they have access to important information at any time and can review the information easily .
To refine your ideas further, make sure to have plenty of conversations with colleagues and instructors. Ask for honest feedback, and be prepared to revise your ideas based on this. Your adviser should be a constant help throughout this process.
2. The Proposal
The next step in writing a dissertation or thesis is the proposal: a document that you will submit to your adviser detailing your plan. The proposal has two main goals. First, it serves as a framework to help you plan for and think critically about your project. Second, it allows your advisers to critically evaluate and provide feedback on your ideas before you fully dive into the work.
Your proposal should have a strong line of reasoning that links your work to the field in general, but extends an existing idea or introduces a new one. At this point, it’s important to be realistic about scope. Most people aren’t going to discover cutting-edge new material in their theses; instead, focus on small advancements.
If you’re having trouble with your proposal, you may need to take a step back and do more brainstorming and outlining. It may also be a good idea to read through some of the other proposals made by people in your field to give you a better idea of the standards.
3. Outlining Your Argument
Drafting a table of contents and outline early on can help guide you through the writing process by reminding you to explore certain topics and explain linkages that may otherwise be overlooked. It gives you an important mental framework as you begin to find and document your sources of research.
4. Collecting Notes and Sources
It is important to search as many research databases as you can, to find all the tidbits of facts that you can use to support or refute your arguments. We recommend making a spreadsheet of all your sources with their appropriate bibliographical format as a starting point. Then, in a separate spreadsheet tab, write each fact in its own row, with a column documenting where the fact came from. This will make it much easier to later re-organize all your facts into their respective outline item, with the bibliographical annotations ready to input directly into your document.
Once your sources are all ready, it’s time to move on to writing. In general, it may be best to start writing with the sections that you are best prepared for. Some people, for example, may want to begin with the conclusion and work backwards towards the introduction. Getting started with the easy sections will make the rest come more easily.
Try to write in a clear, straightforward style, even from your first draft. Academic writing, in general, is valued for clarity over flowery language (unless you’re in literature, eh?).
Also, remember that your proposal doesn’t bind you to a certain path. If your research leads you down a different road than you expected, you should by all means follow it — but it’s probably a good idea to consult with your adviser first.
These tips won’t write your dissertation or thesis for you, but they should help. Now it’s up to you get started. Good luck and let us know how the thesis writing goes in the comments!
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Great tips! Thank you for sharing. I think brainstorming is essential for any kind of writing. Students should enlarge their vocabulary.Be careful about grammar and spelling.Quality writings help you to become a successful businessman,student,journalist and more.So, pay attention on your writing quality.
Delphine Labossière 2 years ago
This blog clears all the confusion which generally comes into the mind of the students. These dissertation tips really help the students.
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Javan Presley 1 year ago
This is great dissertation writing help . I will ensure that I employ this strategies in the dissertations that I will be working on, henceforth
Amruta Mahamuni 1 year ago
What a great post – giving quality guidance.
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Matthew 2 years ago
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