For the overwhelming majority of postgraduate researchers, the dissertation process is associated with a nightmarish couple of years during which you don’t belong to yourself, have to put aside your career, personal and family life, and sacrifice everything for relentless research and writing. relax, it does not look that bad, if you don’t spoil your life with your own hands! Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day is absolutely possible, but to make that happen, you have to follow a set of steps and tips. There is no secret recipe – organization and thorough planning is key, and we are sharing that simple wisdom with you in this guide on how to write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day only.
Some Simple Calculations
Let’s first dispel the myth about the extreme hardship of dissertation writing. a dissertation 15 minutes a day may save your degree – impossible, you might think? Let’s then make some simple calculations. With an average term for dissertation writing of two years, which is 730 days, you get almost 11,000 minutes for work on the dissertation. This is 183 hours, or seven full days (if we count 24 hours a day, which is not a realistic schedule of work). Making some more simple counting, you get three weeks of full-time work for 8 hours on your dissertation – that’s more than enough for completing a good dissertation, believe us! Taking into account that you will not work every day for full 8 hours and will mostly dedicate 5-6 hours to the actual research and writing, we get over one month of regular dedicated work – that’s more than sufficient for an award-winning dissertation! So, let’s go with the planning process to make that accomplishable.
How to Start the Dissertation Process?
The worst thing you can make when starting your dissertation process is to start writing. sounds weird, right? But that’s a fact nobody can doubt – preliminary preparation of the dissertation work saves you from many troubles, unexpected delays, and problematic challenges in the course of thesis completion. Thus, if you are really determined to write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day and successfully publish it afterwards, first take care of these major steps:
- Choose the topic and verify it with your committee. That’s a vital step to take, since you will hardly be able to change the topic as soon as the research process starts, even if you find it hard to complete the work. Hence, before contacting your committee with a topic and a formulated research problem, conduct some preliminary research to determine whether the topic is realistic and whether you will really be able to collect the needed data from the intended population sample. Another vital moment to consider is your personal interest: let’s face the truth, it is much easier to write a brilliant work if you are personally concerned with it and are avidly involved in the research. After this is complete, you may be sure in seeing not only the start of work but also its finish, and it’s high time to go to the committee with your suggestions.
- Choose an advisor and the committee for the research process. These are key people who will guide you throughout these two years, and if they don’t like what you write, you will never get the dissertation completed. To avoid the human-factor trouble, talk to other postgraduate students and ask them for feedback about advisors and committee members; definitely, you will not be able to compile an ideal dissertation team to your liking, but at least the wise choice of a supervisor may save you from much stress and trouble not associated with the actual writing process.
- Get ready for the process in psychological terms. There is a widespread illness that many dissertation writers face – the so-called ‘dissertation paranoia’, which affects many researchers getting up to their necks into the dissertation writing process. Things happen, and you should not expect that everything will be ideal, but being paranoid about lengthy silence of supervisors, negative comments and feedback of the committee, and other technical stuff may ruin your psyche without bringing any benefit for dissertation’s progression.
Beginning the Actual Writing
After the initial preparations are completed, you may seriously tackle the actual writing process of your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day. Each research is different and unique, so we won’t give any specific advice on what to look for and how to write, as it doesn’t work with all writing alike. Here are some universal tips for beginning the writing without fear, in a highly organized way:
- First set some specific daily writing goal. Let’s not include research and thinking into these 15 minutes, since we deal with actual writing issues. Once your topic is formulated and you have a general idea of what you want to examine and how to move towards the kernel – make a very specific schedule. Indicate how many pages and which chapters you will compose during those 15 minutes allocated for a specific day. In case you have failed by any means to accomplish today’s target, make sure to allocate 30 minutes the next day not to fall out of the schedule. Starting to postpone the work and dealing with two hours of writing once a week may also work out, but that betrays the overall idea to write a 15-minutes-a-day dissertation, and during the week, you may forget all you composed last time, and will need some additional time for recollecting details.
- During the first couple of days, involve in freewriting. This method may seem messy, but it will give you some amount of initial material for further organization and sorting out. You can understand what is good and what is bad only by looking at both, right? So, make some first messy draft for further elicitation of valuable points and adding coherence and referential support to your ideas – you won’t even notice how some messy and unappealing writing mass will turn into a decent first draft.
- Don’t be too critical about your first draft. Remember: the committee will decide whether you are on the right way or not, and to give these recommendations, these people have to see what you have done. So, don’t be afraid to show your drafts and what is more vital, don’t be scared of asking questions! Your advisor is the one who should help you, and there is nothing strange or offensive in asking for that help.
Fast Dissertation Writing Tips
We surely understand that 15 minutes a day is too little; however, it is a very realistic minimum for writing a dissertation if you possess some fast writing skills and techniques. The basic premise to make that happen is to structure your work perfectly, and to involve a number of supportive techniques helping in your organization. Here are some of them:
- Create visual assistance in the forms of diagrams, maps, and timelines for conceptualizing the entire dissertation and organizing your models and thoughts on it. Place them on the wall in front of your working space so that they were always visible, and these models will soon become a part of your unconscious.
- Keep important references at hand; you will waste much time trying to find them afterwards.
- Arrange the work area with minimal distractions and associate some specific place with dissertation work to keep all your materials in one place.
- Use some handy Microsoft Word tools and other apps (like transcription technology) for simplifying the text entry at least in the draft form.
- Even when you feel stuck, write something. Brainstorming and freewriting may be employed at all stages of your dissertation progress, so don’t waste any minute and use time to your value.
- Separate writing from editing; it is much more time-effective to conduct these activities separately.
- Include dates in the names of all versions to avoid ambiguity and not to waste time finding the latest ones.
- Work with no more than 3-5 sources at the same time; efforts to synthesize too many sources in one effort may be a failure.
- Search for literature in parts, focusing on some narrow sections – it will guarantee that you complete one section in 1-2 days, without delays trying to embrace the entire body of literature.
- Create an outline for every piece for guidance and quick completion of writing tasks in parts.
Managing Interruptions and Procrastination
Still not sure how to write a dissertation in 15 minutes a day? Our final secret life hack is – remove all interruptions, both external and internal, from your way to achieve best results within such short timespans. A quarter of an hour is not that much, so try to stay totally focused during this period; turn off the phone, remove all gadgets except for the ones you need for completion of the writing process, and never turn on the TV or radio. Arrange a comfortable zone in your place of work, life, or studies, and select the timing in such a way that nobody can distract you. In such a way, your 15 minutes a day will be highly productive. Another thing to deal with is procrastination – that’s an internal interruption very hard to fight with. Staying focused and not yielding to procrastination is possible if you have strong time management skills, a very clear schedule of work, and writing goals for every day. Even in the times of hardest writing crisis, brainstorm ideas or edit what you have already completed – that’s surely much more productive than postponing the writing process to someday in future.