Is this a good subject to start my Medium account? Who knows! What this article aims to do is firstly, to actually help me organise my thoughts and get whatever is on my mind out there and secondly to inform fellow PhD sufferers on their way of planning their thesis submission!

So, here I am two months and a half before my official submission date and eight months and a half before the date I will probably actually submit (as I am taking a thesis pending extension to make sure I am not drawn under my pile of papers, notes, post-its, word and excel documents). Let’s stick somewhere in between and say that it’s for sure my final six months before I submit. And what do I do now? Oh, well! REDEFINE MYSELF as a PhD student and academic writer. I will visually explain this to you…

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This is my office today, Monday 13 August 2018. All the pieces of different paper you see, A3, A4, A5, things to do list, etc. are supposed to be my idea of how I am planning my thesis writing. You can see the absolute chaos that is going on. In my mind, all this time this was thought to be “thorough planning”. I considered myself to be a planning freak with all my to do lists and my colorful pens and my multiple digital notes on my laptop and smartphone. Today, I realised planning and me need to have a discussion about our relationship! Here is the detailed list of steps I followed to pull my self together and be proud of my thesis planning eventually!

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My desk is ready for some awesome work-from-home semester! All my notes filled the pages of this little notebook which will be used solely for the Design chapter I am now writing up!

Here you are, this is still work in progress but I am so happy with what I achieved today! In the beginning it looked like a total waste of time, like “oh look how nicely I procrastinate again today”! But eventually it was such a fruitful, productive process! I just feel all the motivation in the world now to start writing with a fresh attitude!

Don’t let PhD thesis writing get you down. Make the most of it! If one day seems not to be really productive just do something that will motivate you! I found how I will recharge batteries after I was writing a long chapter for the last three months! I was out of energy but now I just feel super hopeful and positive! I can’t actually wait to start shaping the next chapter!

Think how you can take advantage of low moments to reinvent yourself and start over, doing all the things you wish you had done in the previous PhD years! It is never too late! I said I was going to start a blog since day 1 of my PhD. I did it today after almost 4 years have passed and just 6 months before submitting. I am sure it will help me, and others in a similar situation!

Good luck, and don’t forget: you can do this!

Tatiana

If I wasn’t a user researcher, I would be a professional planner. IG: @ phdreflections

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