To help better manage your time, enlist your network of friends and family to assist you with completing tasks that don’t require your intellectual capital. Most loved ones are more than willing to be supportive if they only know what they can do to help. In response to my request, for example, during a particularly demanding portion of my dissertation, an old Stanford colleague flew into town to offer support. He provided much-needed stress relief by packing up my house so that I could continue to work on my dissertation AND still be prepared to move out of my apartment when my lease was due to expire in a few days. He also provided on-point advice when I needed help resizing my table graphs to fit the required document format. He also got up at 2:30 a.m. to help me format tables, make copies, and drive me to Kinko’s, because my exhausted brain was simply too numb to be able to complete those simple tasks. As a result, both of us were happy. I met all of my required deadlines, and he got to feel the satisfaction that comes from knowing that he was truly able to help out a good friend.
There are countless people in your life who truly want to help you through this process; let them!!! There are myriad ways in which others can pitch in to help. Be aware, however, that unless your loved ones have written a thesis or dissertation themselves, they most likely don’t know how to help you, or even the right questions to ask or actions to offer. But rest assured, most of them definitely DO want to help. So put them to work! It’s your responsibility to be specific about how they can best help you, relating EXACTLY what you would like them to do, and WHEN.
Following are just a few of the many ways in which your friends and loved ones can help.
• Editing and/or alphabetizing the bibliography
• Formatting the template or front matter pages
• Checking and formatting all figures and tables
• Inputting data into the references
• Editing the document
If you aren’t comfortable asking your family member to perform work on your actual thesis, ask them to help you with household chores like cooking, cleaning, errands, bills and laundry. That will free up more time for you to focus on your project!
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading and get to work!