The PhD is designed to make you a professional researcher and writer. This is academic learning, so it is meant to be a learning process. Professional writers and academics have habits that increase their efficiency and make the writing process easier. You have to find and create your own routine. This is easier said than done and requires trial and error to find a routine that works for you, and the discipline to stick with it. But it’s essential that you establish a writing schedule early on that matches your work style and energy level. If you are a morning person, schedule your writing time in the morning; if you are a morning person, do it at night.
I know of two distinguished and prolific scholars who were instrumental in its success. Professor W writes for two hours in the morning from 10-12, takes a 1-hour nap after lunch at 1pm, then a long walk if the weather is nice or skiing if it snows, and who writes? another 2 hours from 19 to 21 hours at night. The second, Professor B, goes to bed early (before 10pm) and gets up at 4am to write until 8am before starting his busy day at the university. Your Rituals = Your Results as they say and this is true in any field. Discover the habits of the best students and you will know that they are achieving it.
Don’t trust your academic advisor
Your academic advisor will not give you all the answers.
Some advisors are too busy to provide you with adequate support or are micro-admins who want daily updates on their progress.
Give yourself time
It’s good to be an assiduous researcher, but after all, you have to know your limits and treat yourself well.
You may have limited time and a lot of pressure to complete your thesis depending on your scholarship or graduation plan. But health comes first. Don’t force yourself to run to the finish line when you know you’re going to pass out. It’s not worth it in the end. If you can’t solve a problem, put it aside for a while and spend time enjoying something else. Working without motivation will get you nowhere.
Motivations are everywhere, but they’re hard to see when we’re confused. Visiting your friends’ thesis colloquia can fill your motivation tank. It will help you realize that you want to be there too, proudly speaking about what you found in your dissertation research. If they can do it, why can’t you?
These are my experiences writing a master’s thesis. When writing a thesis, it is important to remember that the nature of research work is continuity and you are a new experience. I read a good question on the Aalto University PhD studies page at the School of Business. There he asks: “Are you willing to wake up most of your daily time for a reason?”.
I hope this blog post can help you manage your time during the thesis writing process. I was so relieved when I turned in my thesis on time and my schedule was free of daily pomodoro events.