With the dissertation deadline getting closer for many final year students, we (Ryan & Naomi) offer our tips for avoiding procrastination during dissertation season.
Waking up knowing that the entire day ahead of you should be designated to powering through your dissertation is a daunting prospect psychologically. Likelihood is, you’re going to procrastinate. One thing I found that worked, especially when trying to work at home and in my own environment, was to procrastinate early. Get it out of the way. I’d engage in an hour of FIFA before starting any work, so that I’ve had my play. Then, I’d try and knuckle down and get my work done. (^Ryan)
Mini Deadlines and Monthly Goals
Setting mini deadlines and goals can help make you feel more on the ball and less overwhelmed. Some people choose to set goals such as doing 500 words a day or a chapter a month. Whatever you do, make sure your deadlines and goals are sensible and realistic otherwise this will lead to frustration if you don’t meet them. Remember to add these deadlines to your calendar so you don’t forget! (^Naomi)
Music (Classical and Instrumental) and No TV
Aside from being in the library headphone-less, most students aren’t going to work in silence at home. But putting the TV on, maybe watching re-runs of Friends or Superbad for the fifteenth time, is a grave mistake because you’re just gonna get drawn into Seth, Evan and Fogell’s antics. Music is the key, but to avoid you singing entire albums, instrumentals work best. Classical music is well documented to improve concentration and alleviate stress. It’s a great technique you can apply to revision too. (^Ryan)
The Pomodoro Technique is known as a time management hack, so if you struggle to knuckle down with writing your dissertation then this technique will help you to get started. You set your timer to 25 minutes and you work solidly without procrastinating or being distracted for the entire 25 minutes. Following this, you have a 5 minute break and then repeat, changing the break time to 10 and 15 minutes after each 25 minute block. After you’ve done one round, you the restart the technique.
If that sounds a little too tricky for you to keep track of, then you can even download an extension for Chrome or Firefox or an app for your iPhone/Android device! (^Naomi)
Make use of the 24-hour library
Trying to work in your own space, with all types of distractions at arm’s reach, is kinda like trying to write a description of the Marvel Avengers movie fight scenes whilst juggling Rubix cubes that you’re simultaneously trying to solve. It’s hard. And procrastination is so strong that you’ll even find yourself cleaning. Yeah – wiping down surfaces and dusting shelves. Basing yourself in the library, an area dedicated to work, with resources at hand rather than countless distractions is a great plan. The CU library is open 24 hours a day, meaning if you’re suddenly inspired to write at midnight you can. (^Ryan)
Any of this help? Let us know!
Want to see more? Have a read of Ben’s blog: The Technical (and emotional) Stages of Writing a Dissertation.