Motivation To Complete Dissertation

When I was a Ph.D. student working on my own dissertation, I went to the university writing center for help and had a revelatory experience. The person working with me sat down with the first page of my introduction and effectively dissected it to identify the problems without understanding any of my technical jargon. They did this by reading aloud as we discussed, substituting blank/nonsense words for every piece of jargon, e.g.:

Here we apply method X to determine whether adjective thingies can be made to wibble.

This type of substitution forces you to step back from the technical world that you have dedicated so much time and love to, and understand your narrative---or lack thereof.

In your motivation, you need to take a couple of steps back and ask: why does anybody care about additive-finite measure space ("frobs") and how it relates to the space of mu-integrable functions ("greebit-space") or a stochastic process ("wibbling").

You didn't pick these elements at random. There must be some reason why you picked them and how they relate to the bigger community. Are they intended to solve a puzzle that a lot of people care about? Or a small piece of such a puzzle? Do they unite two sets of concepts that people thought were different? Will they help understand string theory or give better tools for interpreting MRI imaging?

You want to be able to write something like this:

People have wondered about how to better understand frobs ever since Richard Feynman first used them to pick the locks in Los Alamos. Although X, Y, and Z attempts have been made, none of them got very far because they were all green-colored. In this dissertation, I examine an alternate path, reducing the problem of frobs to the simpler system of greebit-space by means of an innovative application of wibbling. These results bring us one step closer to solving the problem of frobs, and how they can be better used to quickly and cheaply pick locks.

Now, what I've written is pure gibberish, and your motivation will almost certainly be much longer. The point, however, is this: your goal in a motivation section is to motivate by explaining that there is a problem that people care about and that you have an approach that gives at least a piece of the solution. Explain it in a way that your jargon can just be placeholders in the reader's mind, and it will be fine to leave the complex definitions for later.

answered May 4 '15 at 14:02

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10 ways to motivate

Recently I’ve conducted a survey asking people what their most pressing question, issue or obstacle is when writing a master thesis. To my discovery, more than 25% of all the people surveyed have problems motivating themselves and focusing on their theses.

This is what just some of the people have said “to stay motivated to do a bit or work everyday”, “…keeping motivation for a long-term goal and avoiding procrastination”, and “procrastination is my killer”. Here is an interesting one: “I want to conduct a research however motivation goes down day by day. But I still like the topic. It just gets so tiring”.

Here are two more comments from people who wrote “…lack of discipline/focus (I procrastinate too much and also my job requires me to handle lots of issues which make me jump from one topic to the next so I cannot focus on one thing” and “Procrastination and to stay organized at all times (I fail to stick to the schedule that I drafted as per my progressions)”.

In attempt to help many people who struggle with the lack of motivation, here are some tips and strategies anyone can use to increase their motivation a little bit more.

To finish your master thesis on time, you need all of the following: a good topic, a good adviser, a good research design, motivation or desire to finish your thesis on time, self-discipline, and the means to execute your master thesis plan and outline. Among these, the most important are the psychological factors: your motivation or desire to finish your thesis on time and the discipline to enforce your own thesis writing schedule. You can have the greatest thesis topic plus all the tools and all the help that you can get to finish your master thesis, but if you lack the motivation and the discipline to finish your master thesis on time, there’s just no way you can do it.

Thus, before you attempt to finish your master thesis, make sure you have both the motivation and the necessary discipline to finish your master thesis. Since motivation is one of the main drivers of self-discipline, however, developing your motivation to finish your master thesis on time should be your first priority. Check out the following 10 strategies which you can use to motivate yourself to finish your thesis on time.

1. Meditate, dream and envision

To increase your desire to finish your master thesis on time, you should find yourself a quiet corner where you can mediate, dream about and envision the positive changes that will result once you finish your master thesis on time. You can dream about walking up the stage to receive your masteral diploma. You can imagine the applause that will accompany your walk to and off the stage. You can dream about applying for a new, higher paying job and getting accepted right away. Naturally, you should also envision what your life is going to be like after you landed that higher paying job. You can move into a bigger home and provide better for your family, etc. Dreaming and envisioning all the good things that will result from finishing your master thesis on time is a great way to boost your motivation.

2. Share it with others

Share your dream of finishing your master thesis with other people who are important to you. This way, there will be people who will periodically remind you and motivate you to finish your thesis. Telling other people about your goal to finish your master thesis on time can also yield indirect motivational input. There is a certain pressure that comes from the natural need to prove yourself to the people you value. This need can be positively harnessed as a motivational force so you can finish your master thesis on time.

3. See your thesis advisor as frequently as possible

Your thesis advisor is another source of external pressure which can motivate you to finish your mater thesis on time. Notice that if you are behind your schedule or have accomplished nothing worthwhile, you will tend to avoid your thesis advisor because you’re feeling ashamed. It will thus keep your motivation up if you keep your appointments with your advisor even if you have not accomplished much; this will motivate you to do better for the next meeting.

4. Benchmarking

You should treat your master thesis writing like you would a business project. Give it a definite schedule with clearly identified progress markers. Then, evaluate your progress regularly – say, twice a month.

5. Create a progress chart

Create a progress chart and display it in a prominent spot. This chart will be a visual reminder. If you flag in your efforts, your progress chart will warn you – and hopefully shame you – with a downward turn. If you remain diligent in your efforts to finish your master thesis on time, its ascending line will give you a great sense of accomplishment.

6. Talk to yourself

You should give yourself a motivational speech now and then. You can even talk to yourself everyday. Sometimes, hearing yourself say something can help you achieve it.

7. Modify your language from the passive to the active voice

How you think about things influences actual outcomes. Be sure that you believe yourself capable of finishing your master thesis on time. Furthermore, be sure you realize that finishing your master thesis on time is entirely dependent on your efforts. Thus, learn to change your language from the passive into the active voice. Instead of saying, “My thesis will be finished on time,” say “I will finish my thesis on time.”

8. Reward yourself for a job well done

You deserve a reward for finishing every thesis-related task well and on time. Treat yourself to a nice dinner or buy something you want for every task you successfully accomplish.

9. Forgive yourself

If you fail to accomplish a thesis-related task, you will naturally feel bad. However, do not stop writing your thesis because of that single failure. Forgive yourself and move on.

10. Give yourself a breather

You should relax from time to time. Watch a movie or go to the beach. Take a walk or go to the gym. These activities will help you keep your mind fresh for the next thesis-related tasks.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Get Started with Your Master Thesis – A Psychological Checklist II
  2. 10 Top Mistakes Every Student Makes When Writing a Master Thesis
  3. How To Get The Most Out Of An Academic Advisor When Writing A Thesis
  4. How To Write A Master Thesis – The Birth Of
  5. How to Get Started with Your Master Thesis – A Technical Checklist

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