[Article] You Can't Time Manage A Dissertation

The number one question I get on my website and dissertation advice show is “How do I manage my time?” Alternatively, I’m asked, “How do I use time management to finish my dissertation?”

In previous years, like the plague, I’ve avoided answering this question as much as possible. As the answer goes through my brain, I cringe. Frankly, I don’t think people WANT to hear the answer — because it’s hard to accept one simple fact:

Most dissertation writers don’t fully accept that what they are doing is NOT the same thing as going to the gym, being more productive at work, or budgeting money well.

Writing a dissertation is like climbing Mount ‘Freakin Everest.

You can’t time manage your way into an Everest climb. You can’t dabble in the idea of doing an Everest climb a couple days a week on your spare time. You have to train: TRAIN HARD. You’re going to have to make more sacrifices than 99.9% of the people in your life — because 99.9% of people WONT write dissertations.

To finish your dissertation, you’re going to need to work harder than you probably ever have before. Here’s how to start:

  1. Collect 5 Sources Per Week
  2. Read/Annotate Them
  3. Collect at least 5 direct quotes per source into a Microsoft Excel worksheet with a full citation.
  4. Repeat, at least, weekly.

Where do you need to spend your time? Start with those four steps. That’s all that matters until you have a finished proposal in the hands of your chair.

Unless you are writing your dissertation, you are not writing your dissertation.