To ask if anyone else self sabotages with constant procrastination when it comes to studying?

(234 Posts)
NickiFury Sat 03-May-14 16:04:25

I've two essays due in by next Thursday. They are finals, so important and yet I have just twatted around for weeks, they'll get a passing mark, they always do but probably not nearly as good as it could have been. I've exams next month, again I will pass most likely but not nearly as well as I could have done.

I love the subject and achieving a degree means a huge amount to me (no encouragement or possibility as a child or teenager), I will always regret this if I screw it up, it's my last chance really, got transitional fees with the OU. I won't be as educated as I could be even if I pass simply because I couldn't be arsed.

So WHY? WHY? Do I do this? I have two autistic children, home educating one of them and am a single parent, it's hard, once they've gone to bed, I'm so knackered I just want to veg in front of the TV, but with self discipline I could easily find the time. Is anyone else like this? and if anyone could explain the psychology behind it that might help.

TheWanderingUterus Fri 23-May-14 17:49:13

Posted too soon (dropped my scone on my ipad grin).

Some sobering thoughts there. I'm still early days in my part time Phd, but obviously I am hoping to be the exception that manages to finish!

Booboostoo Fri 23-May-14 18:06:38

If I may offer some completely unasked for advice, and assuming you are working in the humanities or social sciences: write something before every meeting with your supervisor and don't allow yourself any excuses for not doing it. It doesn't matter if it isn't strictly part of your thesis, it could be some thoughts on a paper you read, or your view on a side issue, or whatever, but it keeps you in the habit of writing. As soon as you have your chapter headings/outlines, or at least an idea of what the chapters will be like for the first third of your thesis, start writing them. Even if they are not perfect, they should be in print, as it gives you and your supervisor something concrete to work from. Write them as if they are self-contained essays with a set deadline as part of a course, don't see them as part of a 5 year degree because that way you end up at year 5 with nothing written down.

Also (continuing on my rant of unsolicited advice) ask for help from your supervisor with reading skills, like taking notes, making chapter plans, integrating notes into plans, etc. (I have some online resources on these kinds of issues that probably apply to all humanities students if you are interested but I'd better curb my enthusiasm for unwanted advice!).

headdesk Fri 23-May-14 18:12:04

I do this with the essay units of my degree. My degree is 70% practical and 30% essay. I've never been good at writing so always leave it last minute because I hate it so much (absolutely love the practical side and always get that done with weeks to spare before hand in). Though I did get a surprise when my last essay got a high 2:1 (just missed out on a first by a few marks).

TheWanderingUterus Fri 23-May-14 19:23:00

Wow, yes please, keep the advice coming!

I'd also love the resources please. I am indeed a humanities student.

My supervisor is helpful but very busy and quite disorganised so it takes quite a while to get a reply to my emails. So external advice is incredibly welcome!

daisychain01 Fri 23-May-14 19:33:11

I'm struggling big-time at the moment with procrastination - some of it is genuinely due to exhaustion, having to work F/T, and doing my PhD part-time.

I love the research area, I have all the info in my head but trying to get all the ideas down into a Word document is the biggest PITA. I just hate it.

I'm into Year 4 P/T, but don't feel I am anywhere near having enough data - that's the labour intensive bit I'm struggling with when working.

Just wondering if 4-6 years part time for a PhD is abysmally slow, or isn't it too bad? I can only do around 6-7 hours per week max due to having to work .... I'm feeling more like I'm being defeated by it, but hate myself giving up sad

Booboostoo Fri 23-May-14 20:42:44

TheWanderingUterus glad I'm not overstepping the mark!
This is a bit on essay plans but works equally well for chapter plans:
www.teachingethics.org.uk/14.html

One way to do is this:
- identify your bibliography. By PhD level you should have an idea of where to start and you can move from one resource to another.

- always take notes of what you read. Start with the bibliographical details at the top of your notes as you will need then for referencing purposes otherwise it will take ages to do them retrospectively. Note down what you think the author's main argument is, also how he differs from anyone else you may have read that you may eventually want to link to, also any direct quotes that might come in handy later and finally note down your own thoughts to what you are reading (do you agree, disagree, etc.) but label what is your contribution clearly so you don't mix it up with the author's ideas later on.

- when you finish with all your reading, put together a chapter plan.

- bring the notes and plan together by allocating all the notes to different parts of the chapter.

- then start writing but now it's easier to do as you can ignore everything but the notes relating to the first part of your chapter plan subsection 1, and move on from there. That way you are breaking up your chapter into manageable chunks and you can do still finish a little bit of work at a time even if you only have an hour or two to do it in.

This may be a bit basic for PhD level but you may find something useful there:
www.teachingethics.org.uk/13.html

TheWanderingUterus Fri 23-May-14 20:59:36

Thank you so much, I have c & p that and the links. Really helpful.

I did my MA quite a long time ago and had lower level study in between so it has been quite a leap to this level of writing. It's good to have useful guidance!

Daisychain - good to see another part timer. My husband told me that the quickest a part timer has finished a phd in any discipline at the RG university he works at is 4 years and 5 months. The average is 6 years. I know what you mean about loving the subject but hating the getting it down on paper!

usualnamechanger Thu 29-May-14 05:45:59

Just done 500 words, I need to sleep.

TheWanderingUterus Thu 29-May-14 08:56:39

500 words is excellent usual, well done!

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