I've gotta finish this thesis

I am in the homestretch on the ^&%*#ing dissertation. At the end of this, I get my free time back, a new lease on life, a promotion and raise, relief from the endless niggling expenses of grad school, and a piece of sheepskin.

That should be motivation enough, but it’s still hard to stay on track and enthused. Other benefits you folks can foresee? Besides the exponential increase in reverence and respect from Dopers, I mean [snort]. C’mon, Cranky needs motivation here. Creativity welcomed.

The simplest motivation is always what works best for me, so my apologies if this doesn’t do it for you.

The biggest benefit?

It. Will. Be. Done.

Or possibly more motivating phrased as

You. Will. Have. Completed. It.

And along with every other dissertation gathering dust in the school library vaults, there will be one there, with a bit less dust than the others, with your name on it.

I’ve never really gotten a huge charge out of what others will think or how others will react to my completing something to my satisfaction. It’s always been just that… done to my satisfaction.

So… Go CrankyAsAnOldMan, Go!

Cranky, I just went through this (M.A. in December). Would some short-term motivational ideas help? I certainly looked forward to being able to say I had my master’s, and to seeing my bound thesis, and to walking at graduation, but I needed something concrete to compel me to work every day.

It’s a cliche, but what helped me was to set a goal for each time I sat down to work. (“Okay, before I can go get something to eat I have to finish reading this article and write a paragraph about it.”)

Also, I had about sixty books I was using, and I tried to glean everything I needed from them one at a time. Then, as I finished with them, I started tossing them into a big pile in the corner–the “I’m never looking at these stupid books again!” pile. That was a good motivator for me.

Best of luck, Cranky!

There’s the motivator I use - a timer. I set the timer to whatever I think I can handle, then work until it goes off. Hey, I can do anything for 15 minutes, even 30 minutes. You’re supposed to get up and stretch regularly anyway. I’m often amazed how little time it takes to do things.

What got me through when I was writing mine was the thought that at that point I was closer to the end than from the beginning and if I made it “this” far I could make it just a bit further, or else all that work was for nothing.

But sometimes it does seem like you are riding a bicycle up hill into a wind storm, doesn’t it?

We are pulling for you Cranky.


The best advice I ever got was much along the same lines as has already been said: Do a little something everyday. If the ideas are flowing, write. If nothing seems to be coming, then do the little things that need to be done, such as choosing the right symbols that clarify that graph. And the clock idea is right on.

Let me just dangle this little tidbit: You think you’ll feel great after it’s done? You have no idea how fantastic it feels (well, maybe you do, but I certainly didn’t). Congratulations from others was nice but the feeling of self-satisfaction was unbeatable (at least for me).

“And down the stretch she goes…” Go Cranky!