A conversation with my sister on the tram tonight got me thinking about the similarity between doing a thesis and an exercise program.
I was trying (as I usually do) to convince said sister that she should do a Ph D.
I learnt that there was no point to even try to write – or even read – while the crunch was on.
But I still made sure I had a stock of routine tasks – filing, image cleaning, copy editing – which could be done without too much thinking during this period.
We can think about motivation being intrinsic (coming from within us) and extrinsic (coming from those around us). How might you use this insight to increase your motivation?
If you are extrinsically motivated you might tell others you are going to finish a chapter by a certain date to keep you honest.
Let your hand lead your brain for awhile and see what happens.
You might find this is enough to get you over the mini slump – if not, go and do the laundry. Periodical task setting: Writing a thesis happens in fits and starts.
Simply read two from the ‘on topic’ pile before you think about reading one from the interesting pile.
This way you are not denying yourself the pleasure and potential benefit of diversion, while keeping it under control. Lance Armstrong didn’t spend the whole day training.