Preparing for writing my dissertation: five most important things

Keep in mind that several areas require preparation before you can even begin writing: attitude, planning and setting goals.

Realize that your dissertation is not the same as any other old paper. How can you prepare for this if you’ve never created a work like this before?

The first is to prepare yourself mentally because your internal environment is just as, if not more, important than the external one. You want to make sure that you look at your dissertation like any other paper – tedious but doable. Don’t think of it as thousands of words to be written.

Break your dissertation up into smaller pieces to make the task less daunting as a whole.

You have to break it down into smaller and easier tasks so that way when you put it all together it won’t seem like such an insurmountable feat. Think of it as laying small stepping-stones, one at a time, in a journey to your final destination.

Allow yourself to focus on your dissertation in a vacuum, and do not let your personal life stand in the way of your work.

Every time you sit down to begin adding one more piece to the puzzle, that will eventually yield a splendid picture, you have to take a moment to take a deep breath and actively clear your mind of potential distractions. Focus on what’s right in front of you and not the laundry that you have to do or the eggs you forgot to pick up at the store. If you know that this will block you and you won’t be able to bounce back from it make sure to have set aside time beforehand where you can get menial chores out of the way so that they don’t form barriers between you and your success. When you’ve pushed those pesky distractions from the forefront of your mind make sure to fill that space with positive thoughts to get you through your writing for the day.

Set your goals for time management ahead of time in order to avoid misjudgement of deadlines

Don’t be afraid to overestimate your abilities on paper as long as it doesn’t threaten your swift completion of the dissertation. You’ll want to think about what you want to tackle that day, maybe even think how much you want to get done that week, but never think farther ahead than that. If your goals are too broad and you’re looking too far ahead it will put you off your work. Once you get into the swing of writing try and keep that writing streak going for five to seven hours, enough to get a good chunk of work done but not to overwork yourself. Try alternating between writing days and days dedicated to everything else. This will allow you to take a well-deserved break, effectively giving your brain a chance to rest and refresh itself. Mental exhaustion is no joke and it will make for greater output. And who knows? You might get your next big idea when you least expect it.

No matter how daunting the task seems, sit down and start writing.

Using any combination of these tips should get you ready enough to start tackling that dissertation!

Your dissertation may be the most daunting academic task on the journey to earning your degree. It stretches out as far as the mind’s eye can see and the deadline looms fearsomely on the horizon – but fear not! In preparation for this huge milestone in your academic career here are some tips you can apply to make it smooth sailing, or at least as smooth as can be given the task at hand.