This post was originally published in May last year as an introduction to a live webinar. The recording from the webinar is now included at the bottom of this post.
Anything is possible, given enough time.
Unfortunately, time is a limited resource and you don’t want to wait around for things to just happen.
So the alternative is a focussed action to get you where you want to be.
Focus: how to burn through your thesis, fast
You know you could write that next section, if only you could find the focus.
Maybe you feel like there’s too much to do, but that’s just not true. Of course there’s a lot to do, and if you think of everything then you can’t possibly take it all on at the same time.
It’s all a question of focus.
Take a magnifying glass on a sunny day, and you can easily set fire to a piece of paper or burn into a piece of wood by focusing sunlight down onto a single point. The magnifying glass collects energy from the Sun over an area of a few square centimeters and concentrates it down onto a much smaller one.
At the point of focus, it’s as if the sun is 100 times more intense. The paper doesn’t stand a chance.
How does that help with writing a thesis?
Reduce the area over which you spread your effort and attention, and you’ll make faster progress.
Got more than three browser tabs open right now? Where is your attention? When you decide you need to to start writing, what’s stopping you from checking email again?
The tab is right there: Inbox (5)
But you have to close the tab and leave those emails unread. If you can do that one simple thing, there’s some hope that you can write a fast thesis. Do it now. Nothing is going to happen unless you start to take action.
But there’s more to it than that, surely?
Indeed there is, but the principle is simple.
Rather than spending a long time each day with your attention divided over countless things, spend a short time focusing intently on just one thing. Stay focussed on it until it’s finished.
It’s actually a far more relaxed way to work, because you only have one thing to worry about at a time.
It’s more effective, because all your energy is concentrated on getting that one thing done.
And you’ll be happier, because your effort will produce results.
Cut down on the number of things you’re trying to do at the same time, relax, and give yourself a chance.
It’s easy to avoid distraction in the short term, but how can you stay focussed?
How to stay focussed and get things done
- The classic obstacles all writers face (and the mistakes they make)
- Finding your FLOW
- The 10 minute exercise that will help you focus better for longer
- From to-do to DONE: The Process
- Writing, editing, perfecting your thesis
The following webinar was recorded about a year ago, and is one of many available in the Inner Circle section of the site.
Hit play, and if you like this one, there are plenty more available by joining here
[flowplayer src='http://d1n3bwf83h4x61.cloudfront.net/focuswebinar-1.mp4' width=400 autoplay=false]
Video tutorials plus 1:1 support
When you join, you also get a 45-minute consultation via Skype, so you can talk directly to me and get personalised advice on how to finish your thesis.
It is not free, but it’s not expensive either. The membership scheme and one to one coaching support the running of the site, and without charging for some services, well the 3 month thesis would cease to exist. But that’s not important. What matters is how it can help you succeed.
Click here to find out more: The complete thesis writing and PhD support program