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How to plan your time when writing a doctoral dissertation

Anyone involved in a doctoral dissertation will know that planning is essential. You can go further than that. You can develop a very strong argument to say that people who write a successful doctoral dissertation are those who are very successful at planning. And of the many aspects of planning which are involved, planning your time is arguably the most important.

You're not going to finish your dissertation in a short amount of time. So rather than waste time, rather than spend unnecessary time doing tasks ineffectively, learn how to manage your time. There are a number of things you can do to become better at this basic operation.

  • Be doubly sure of your topic and a thesis statement.
  • Remain in constant contact with your supervisor.
  • Draw up a timetable which charts your progress for the foreseeable future.
  • Consider travel time, work environment and possible interruptions.

Setting goals and tasks

Before you can create goals and set tasks to achieve the writing of your doctoral dissertation, you must be rock solid in your knowledge of the topic you have chosen and its thesis statement. Once you have perfected the skill of writing a comprehensive yet sparse thesis statement, you are in a much better position to plan your time in research and writing activities. Everything flows from the topic you have chosen and its thesis statement. Get those things precisely correct and go from there.

Your supervisor is someone who is able to do their task with ease. The best supervisor for your doctoral dissertation is someone who knows the problems you are going to be going through and who is accessible. This latter point is essential. The best supervisor in the world is not someone who is so busy they do not have time to see you on a regular basis. Choose your supervisor wisely.

You almost need to become the equivalent of someone who is running a major railway. You need to be able to create a timetable which sets goals for the next few hours, weeks and months. Within this timetable you will chart your progress throughout the writing of your dissertation. This is the blueprint on how to plan your time. Be precise, be practical and make it possible.

When planning your time in writing your dissertation, there will be problems along the way. You need to prepare to handle such things as falling ill, losing digital connection, having to travel to places to do research and finding a workspace which is friendly and conducive to serious study. All of these things need to be taken into account when you plan your time.