Even though it is something that is not mentioned frequently during your dissertation process, time management is one of the most important aspects of completing your study. This is because some of the biggest hang-ups we see are the turnaround times given out by professors when students submit edited work to them. As many of you know, colleges often promise two-week turnaround times that can turn into long waiting periods. When these waiting periods stretch on and pile up, many students find themselves facing a looming deadline that seems insurmountable and intimidating. This is when good time management becomes important. Although the best strategies for time management will be different for everyone, I can offer some tips regarding certain practices that have been proven to speed up the process.
The first of these tips is: do not fight with those helping you over feedback. At the end of the day, all this will do is slow the process to a grinding halt. When your chair mentions that they do not understand a specific point in your study and want you to expand on the work, do not use this as an opportunity to engage in bloodsports with them, no matter how frustrating it may be. At the end of the day, they control whether your study makes it or not. Additionally, communication with the chair is a two-way street. If you have a question about their feedback, ask them while you are editing your document. If you wait and just attach it as a comment, there will not be any forward momentum in the meantime.
Another proven way to speed things up is to write in your off time. The last thing most people want to do when they get home from work is sit down behind a computer screen and write for hours on end. If you only devote yourself to couple of pages a day, however, the likelihood of you losing entire weekends, taking days off work, and potentially missing deadlines are significantly decreased. Remember, you chose to pursue a PhD; no one forced you to do it. It does not make sense to spend all of this money on a degree for which you are haphazardly rushing and throwing work together. Furthermore, rushed work means more edits, and more edits means more time spent going back and forth with the chair.
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