Writing: Stay Focused & Get it Done

Find your point of focus

I am a big fan of the 3 month thesis website  . . .

.  . . . not only are there some great, free resources (and some excellent cheap ones) but the name just brings a smile to my face – the three month thesis, not three years, not three decades, but three months! Anyone can cope with three months right? I have written about this website in another post but after re-watching this webinar and sharing it with some PhD friends who got really excited about it, I decided it was worth putting in its own post.

Note: For those of you in the USA, the distinction between thesis (Masters) and dissertation (PhD) is not used in the UK/Australia, we use the two terms interchangably although in definition, the thesis is considered the argument of the dissertation, most people call their doctorate a thesis – so the 3 month thesis, being a UK site is not about writing a masters it is actually about doctoral writing.

One of the really great resources offered by the site is the webinar: “How to Stay Focused and Get Things Done” –  I am not kidding when I say that this is a seriously useful 30 minutes.

Topics covered include:

Channelling your Focus

Making Regular and Rapid Progress

Attention as a Resource

Writing Pitfalls


Fear & conflict in the writing process

Flow & creativity

Writer’s block

Managing the sheer number of tasks involved in writing a PhD

Boredom & challenge

Taking ideas and turning them into (dissertation) content (5 stages of the process)

The buffer system to separate rough from finished work (this is gold!)

Micro-editing (3 basic rules for editing your own work)

Breaking out of a research/writing rut

If you don’t have time to watch the webinar right now, then take this little piece of advice that can be applied the very next time you sit down to work and don’t know where to start.

  1. Take Stock: Decide what needs to be done
  2. Narrow your focus so that nothing else exists
  3. Decide what to do NOW: You need a measurable target (1000 words) and time (60 minutes) – make these achievable!

If you have 30 minutes to spare and could use some help dealing with any of the issues above, check out the webinar here.

I would love to hear any feedback you may have – did you find the video useful? Did you learn anything? Do you already apply any of these suggestions? Do you have an even better workflow? How do you maintain focus?

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