11 weeks until Thesis submission

This is my second blog in a series of posts leading up to my Thesis submission!

So 11 weeks to go. Still awhile yet. Still enough time *slight hyperventilation*

Current Thesis word count is 69,700 words of varying quality…

Targets and Timetables

I have been setting myself targets the whole way through my writing up period. This was working quite well, until 1 month back in the lab turned in to 2.

I modified my writing timetable to try and get back on track and gain back some of the writing time I lost.

I can see now that I was never going to regain that month!

For the second week in a row I am not where my (self inflicted) writing timetable suggests I should be.

This weeks aim was to have ‘finished’ off all my results chapters- which basically means ‘to have added in all my extra data and produced a good discussion.’

Missing the targets I am setting myself at this point of the PhD is pretty panic inducing. I am working flat out at the moment, I can’t put this inability to keep up with the timetable down to anything social! And I know I cannot work any harder than I am currently.

So I decided to go and look at the facts. As I save all my modified chapters with the date in the title and I only work on 1 chapter a day I could look back and see how long the writing process has really been taking me.

Status of Chapters

  • Results Chapter 1: This chapter is almost finished- supervisor has commented that this chapter has ‘turned a corner’ : Time spent on this chapter: 33 days
  • Results Chapter 2: I feel like all the data is in this chapter and all that is left is polishing up the prose and perhaps a touch more discussion. Time spent on this chapter: 31 days
  • Results Chapter 3: This chapter is the weakest at the moment and has a large portion of data still to be added. Time spent on this chapter: 15 days
  • Results Chapter 4: I started on this chapter first got as far as I could with it and now need to add in some final data. Time spent on this chapter: 24 days

So a total of 103 days writing

We can now see results chapters are taking me about 30 days to get to a ‘nearly finished’ standard. (though I’m not sure really how you quantify that- I guess its just a feeling you get).

So setting myself to finished Chapter 3 and 4 to the same standard as Chapters 1 and 2 in 7 days was unreasonable!

Its obvious from looking at this that I most likely required 21 days to do this! So to reflect this- the next 2 weeks of my plan will be finishing off results chapters. Which takes me to the 5th August.

Leaving 56 days until submission, in this time the Introduction, Methods, Abstract, and Overall Conclusions have to be written.

I would like the final week to be a proof reading and printing week, so 49 days of writing remaining.

Lets assume that the Introduction will take the same time as a results chapter, 33 days.

That leaves 16 days for the Methods chapter, Abstract, Conclusions, and any other tidying up- which is a push, because of this I am going to start writing the methods when I am too tired to do proper writing.

So my advice is:

Do not set yourself unachievable goals.

Work out the writing time you need and protect this time from other factors. 

Write up the Methods chapter while you are in the earlier stages of your PhD- as Methods don’t change much

So lets see how my new plan goes! I will be typing away until next week..






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