Writing A Thesis This Summer? 10 Tips on How to Stay Motivated

Writing A Thesis This Summer? 10 Tips on How to Stay Motivated

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Instead of relaxing by the pool, engaging in night long barbecues or taking long awaited beach vacations, do you find yourself smoldering in the summer heat at your local library, or at your very own disheveled desk, mustering what little willpower you have left to write your thesis? As a current graduate student at the American University in Cairo I share your woes, and perhaps sleep depriving fears, but believe me when I say there is light, and the promise of a blissful graduation, at the end of that slightly terrifying thesis tunnel. Whether or not you’ve established a sizeable outline or built a praiseworthy bibliography, you will need to keep writing, and not succumb to the dastardly clutches of summertime procrastination, to ultimately reach your deadline. The key to thesis writing during this scorching summer is to stay motivated, even if it takes pitchers of iced coffee and copious amount of frozen yogurt to get you through! Take a look at my top ten tips on how to stay motivated while writing your thesis this sunny season.

1. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The desire to finish your thesis can be consuming, and for good reason, of course. Be sure to plan a set schedule for yourself, as the Learning Center at the University of Sydney explains, which includes benchmarks concerning all of the progress that should be completed. You will feel uplifted once you finish editing numerous chapters or hand in the next section of your thesis to an advisor by your set deadline. Don’t forget to evaluate your progress each week to make sure you’re on track.

2. Everybody makes mistakes. Is it too hot to concentrate or did you accidentally fall asleep for five hours, instead of just resting for five minutes? Don’t dwell too long on your “mistake” of not finishing a task that you had set aside for your thesis, instead forgive yourself, push ahead and keep writing. You can do it!

3. If your (thesis paper) boat is sinking, call for help. If you have exerted all your energy into a portion of your thesis and find that you’re getting nowhere, share your concerns with classmates or people who are the most important to you. You will more than likely receive motivational and positive feedback, giving you the urge to set sail once again.

4. Keep a notepad. While brainstorming or writing you might find that random thoughts continue to invade your head, disrupting all well intended notions during your thesis. Do you need to email a future employer later, or call someone on your thesis committee? All those thoughts can wait. I’ve found it exceedingly helpful to keep a colorful pad of sticky notes or a favorite notebook close by where I can scribble down daily to-do’s, so my mind won’t be cluttered when writing or proofreading.

5. Find your happy place.   For most of us this would mean a seaside view with a cool beverage in hand, however, you’ll become feel much more motivated to produce quality work when you can write in a comfortable and familiar atmosphere. Investigate all the cafés around your neighborhood, discover the perfect hidden carrel at your library, and make yourself at home.

6. Overcome your brainfreeze. Whether your brainfreeze is from an unintentional ice cream overdose or lack of creativity don’t stop writing during the time that you have set aside for your thesis that day, instead go back to a previous chapter to do some quick and simple editing. You won’t have to use too much brainpower and you’ll feel more motivated the following day.

7. Stay in close contact with your advisor. Even though it’s August, and your thesis advisor and committee are probably on holiday (lucky them, right?), you should be diligent about keeping in touch with them so you will remain committed to the evolution of your thesis. The American Psychological Association suggests continuing emailing your advisor with the work you have accomplished, even if it’s not a large quantity, so your motivation levels will not drop during a heat wave.

8. Give yourself some gold stars. Literally. Although using a schedule is very helpful, I find that utilizing progress charts, as a thesis success measurement tool, are a great way to provide an extra boost of motivation when I need it most. Invest in some colored stickers and mark how you felt about your efforts that day. “Genius-like?” “Just okay?” You’ll be able to visually see your summertime progress and triumphs.

9. Take a necessary breather. A well-deserved break is just as important as working on your thesis or final project during the dog days of summer. Indulge in some guilty pleasures, which might include a few episodes of your favorite TV series, a quick dip in the pool, or a delicious lunch with your close friends. You will certainly feel refreshed and will be able to better concentrate on pressing thesis-related assignments.

10. Dream a little. If you’re stuck in between paragraphs and start to lose morale, just think about the many great things you will be able to do after your thesis is submitted, defended, and bound. Boost your motivation with positive thoughts such as receiving your diploma, getting a higher paying job, and working in a field that you are passionate about.   Moreover, if you need a little extra motivation, take a look at the thousands of job opportunities updated everyday on INOMICS.

Which of these ten motivational tips did you find the most helpful? Please feel free to share your own advice regarding how to stay motivated when writing your thesis or working on your final project during the summer months.  

Comics: PhD Comics

Photo source: David Bennison