How to be productive during dissertation time

Are you in the middle of your dissertation time or nearly putting the final touches on your work? To be honest, it was not an easy experience for me at first. The dissertation has interfered with my social life, travel plans and other commitments. I even dreamt about it at night, woke up thinking about it again and felt guilty when I was not working on it. But then I managed to increase my productivity just by few small changes in the way I do things. Hope it might help you too.


Stop checking mobile devices every minute

Have you experienced the terrible feeling of distraction? You may not want to plan to write 500 words a day and then end up doing nothing but checking your news feed on Facebook every time you get a notification. You know, it’s like we are reading different stories of thousands of people online. The fact is that jumping constantly from one story to another completely different one might consume a lot of our brain’s energy, which should be saved for fighting with our dissertation. The same may happen to us when we use many mobile devices at the same time. The recent study by Stanford psychologist Clifford Nass shows that keeping switching between tasks may change our brain structure into a constantly distracted state. This definitely makes us less productive. So, overcome the fear of missing out something now.

Meditate at least 15 mins a day

Do you know the right way to breathe? It might sound a bit strange to you but the simplest task in the world – breathing – should be learned properly to help us to be more mentally healthy. Following the advice of my friend who loves yoga, I practise taking deep breaths 15 minutes a day and find it really works. It creates a sacred space in my mind which make me more centered and boost my productivity. The concept of “sacred space” comes from the Zen philosophy that states that the value of a thing is hinted in the blank space it can contain. To be unknown to some, this philosophy has a considerable impact on Steve Jobs and his works. I know we are not going to be another Steve Jobs. Our top-level goal at this time is just finishing our dissertation with a good grade, so first start with a simple meditation for few minutes a day. Who knows? Someday we may gradually become a person with incredible inner strength.


Music for concentration

I love Spotify – an awesome music player which always offer the right music at the right time. Yes, that’s right. No matter how I feel, partying or chilling mood, I always find the music that matches it. Of course there are many “music for concentration” playlists on Spotify for you. Just download the music player for your desktop from, click ‘play’ and enjoy good music while doing your dissertation.

Another helpful website is which provides ambient sounds of café to boost our creativity and concentration power. You even can choose the style of coffeehouse you like. An absolute quiet place may not be ideal ambience for working, but a little bit of sound like this can help. Just try!

Stop being superman

Do you remember the quote from Spiderman movie “Even a superman needs help”? So don’t sit in the room working on your dissertation alone. Keep in touch, not only with your supervisor, but also with your classmates or recent graduates from your course to ask them for suggestions. You are also welcomed to book a slot at our Centre for Academic Writing to get advice.

Now, there may not be the so-called “deadline panic” anymore. Are you ready to finish your first most important single piece of work, the dissertation, and start thinking of the graduation day? A big day of your life is coming soon.