To complete your thesis or dissertation managing your time effectively and efficiently is important. If you have a schedule you can enjoy the things you do because you will not be sacrificing one thing for another. You can be present in the moment and give your full attention to what is at hand. In your daily schedule categories activities that you MUST do, such as teach a class, pick up the dry cleaning, children, go to the bank, etc. Afterwards fill in things you WANT to do, such as attend the department soft ball game, reading the your favorite book, watching favorite television show, exercising, dinner with friends, etc. Look at the empty blocks of time in a schedule and think strategically about how you can use those small chunks of time to move your dissertation forward. Remember with a weekly schedule you will not have to start each day looking for time to write. Don’t forget to reward yourself for accomplishing your monthly, weekly, daily goals.
Below are 10 key points to creating a successful weekly schedule:
- Make a daily appointment/meeting with your thesis or dissertation. Don’t skip your appointment
- At the end of each day prepare for the next by writing a note to self about where to go to next.
- Make your tasks bite-size and manageable
- Focus on things you are in control of, if not have a plan B
- Even if you have repetitive tasks such as transcribing interviews, based on how long it takes to transcribe 1 interview, plan your schedule accordingly
- Don’t edit and write at the same time; plan time for writing and another chunk of time for editing
- Plan some time to regularly meet with your advisor and have an agenda ready. Even if your advisor does not like you to have an agenda let him know that you need time to have your questions answered.
- Keep you exercise routine going you need your strength and energy to finish your thesis or dissertation.
- If you are a teaching assistant and you are writing your dissertation, don’t give away all of your time. Let your class know what times you are available and stick to it.
- Have a ready list of things to do when you don’t feel like writing.
- Find a picture, theme song or something that reminds you that you are smart and confident. Keep it in front of you (even if it is a cape, tights, tiara, bracelets and lasso) as a constant reminder that you can finish your PhD.
- Eat your meals on a schedule so that even that is does not take your mental energy