My dissertation defense date is set...March 28th at 1:00pm. I have been writing away on my dissertation all year, and yet I am not finished. It seems with every two steps forward, I take one step back. I finish one chapter and realize I have to edit another one, or I look at my results and find something new that has to be addressed in the discussion, or the abstract, or the literature review. I was hoping to have at least a full rough draft of my dissertation when I walked my marathon, but it is looking like that is not going to happen and I must admit that I am extremely disappointed. However, with two steps forward and one step back, I'm still one step ahead of where I was before.
One of the more difficult things about writing my dissertation is finding time to work on it. It seems like everything else pulls on my time - research assistant work, conference preparations and planning, job interviews, meetings with advisors. All of these things are important, but bottom line my dissertation has to be done by March 14th. So, I'm starting to realize I'm going to have to carve out time in my schedule and protect it. Sadly this is something I've been trying to do since I got back from the beach with little success. So, how am I going to get it done? How do I keep all these balls in the air and still finish on time? I think the first step is to give myself some grace and not be too disappointed that I didn't finish by my self-appointed deadline. The second step is to focus on my dissertation at the beginning of the week rather than the end. The past few weeks I've been marking off Thursdays and Fridays for dissertation work, but inevitably something comes up to intrude on that time. So, I'm hoping if I focus on my dissertation during the first days of the week I might be able to guard that time more effectively. Sounds silly, but it's worth a try! The third step is to just buckle down and write. I know what is left, I just need to break it down into manageable pieces and get it written.
So, the date is set, the plan is there, and all is left is to finish writing.... wish me luck.