Following is a good example of a series of questions you might ask yourself to start creating a list of “to-do” tasks:
Q: What needs to happen before I can finish my thesis/dissertation?
A: I need to write chapters X, Y and Z.
Q: Can I get those chapters finished by tomorrow?
A: No. First I have to clearly define what information and conclusions will be included in those chapters.
Q: Can I come up with a clearly defined list of what will be included in those chapters by tomorrow?
A: Of course. I already wrote and defended a proposal, so the information is right under my nose!
Q: Can I finish writing all of the chapters tomorrow?
A: No, but I can get a good start on the chapter I know the most about, and most certainly finish a section within that chapter that contains the information with which I am most familiar.
Q: Do I really think I can finish a section by tomorrow?
A: Yes, because I can write based on the outline I already created a few days ago.
Q: Can I finish the chapter outline by tomorrow?
A: Yes, because I have already created the Table of Contents.
Q: Do I have an outline for my thesis/dissertation?
A: Yes, because I completed that step when I was preparing my proposal … and now it can serve as my first step towards completing my thesis/dissertation! So my real first step is finding my proposal and starting with that.
Continue “working backward” in this manner until you have a long list of “first steps” you can take … so many that you won’t possibly be able to complete them all in one day. Then schedule all of those steps in your a calendar. You will find it truly inspirational and invigorating to see your dream broken down into easily manageable tasks and written down in black and white. This process will help you to clearly visualize achieving your dream and, even more importantly, to actually begin tackling the tasks necessary to doing so. Get your to-do list out of your head and down on paper so that you can clear your mind for more analytical things.