September 1, 2010

Post Ultimatum: Week One

One week ago I received an ultimatum, I have until October 22nd to turn in my dissertation proposal (essentially, the first 4-5 chapters of a 10 chapter book). My advisor also suggested I send him a two-page summary on a new topic I was introducing ... something that changes my whole angle.

So I spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday working on this "two page summary". It ended up being more like 6 pages, which I did on my own because the research is actually related to my proposal and it will help me in the long run. After being up until 12 or 1 every night until I was finished, I sent it to my advisor at midnight on Monday. Essentially, I spent about 20 hours on this 2-page-summary that isnt even an element of my dissertation. While it makes a contribution, its maybe 1% of the work I need to do between now and 10/22. So again, I panic. If it took me that long to do something unrelated and not really contributing to the final effort, how the heck am I going to get this done? I dont mind taking all of my time and devoting it over the next few weeks. Thats not my concern. My concern is that, even with all the time I can contribute, its just not going to be enough :(

And then I worry about the fact that I have a trainer during Brooke's nap for just that one day a week, because naptime is a good 1-2 hours I can spend on my dissertation. Sure, its just an hour. But those hours are hard to find and I question if its even worth it at this point :( I'm not doing anything else in terms of exercise. How much impact does one hour of training a week do? I'm betting not much, if anything at all.


Bethany + Ryan said...

but what if you think about your dissertation while you exercise?? For me, i do my best thinking while exercising. Maybe you'll come up with something great mid workout? good luck!!

Jamie said...

even though it is an hour it may be an hour you need to get back to the dissertation and be even more productive. good luck!

Tricia said...

I agree with the other comments. That hour of working out may HELP you complete your work.

Andrew Opala said...

Something needs to give - I'm assuming you have sacrificed friends, TV, and outer circle family. You may have to drop Internet and blogging? dunno. In terms of your work, you need to give only the amount of time to something that it deserves ... but I don't know what situation you are really in.

You are bringing back some really tough memories for me! Here's something that helped me:

(1) The finished dissertation, memo, note, etc. is a good dissertation, memo, note.
(2) Finish it first, then improve on it.
(3) Improve only within the alloted time, don't worry that it is not perfect - remember rule 1.

Finishing counts trying to be perfect does not.

I only have a Masters and a B.Sc. but I can appreciate the work in a PhD from close family members.

Jess said...

Certainly, you have to prioritze your time with this ultimatum looming over you, but the exercise may help you deal with the pressure of the situation. So, there may not be the phsyical benefits you want, but you may get the mental or emotional relief of working out.

lifestudent said...

Like Andrew suggested, I've given up a lot already. I actually did give up the internet and blogging for the most part ... I only do it when Im with my daughter. Right now she is eating breakfast and I'm catching up on some e-news and responding to this post ;)

I gave up TV a while ago, except for 2 shows. I tape them and try to sneak them in small increments.

And yes the "give something the amount of time it deserves" is my big issue. Im creating an outline of my dissertation today and working on a game-plan. I spend too much time doing the little stuff and not getting into the substance. Spending a week on an analysis of one small concept is just nutty.

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