Having an amorphous blob of time makes you lose focus, because you get tricked into thinking that you have the whole day to work.
The problem is that no matter how many hours you have in the day, you only have a limited amount of focus.
Paradoxically, you will be more productive if you have fewer hours because your brain knows it has limited time, so you will be able to resist distractions more easily.
Instead of committing to writing for a “whole day”, structure your time by having morning and afternoon thesis writing sessions.
Set specific writing goals for the morning and the afternoon, and take a 30-60 minute break between sessions for lunch or exercise.
Decision making is tiring for your brain, and the more decisions you need to make the less energy you will have to work on your thesis.
You make hundreds of decisions a day, and most of them are probably do not have a significant impact on your life.
If you can minimize the number of decisions you have to make such as what to wear or what to eat you will be able to focus better on your thesis.
While it is important to eat well and wear clean clothes you can make these processes more efficient with just a few tweaks.
For example, decide in advance what type of breakfast you would like to eat, and then modify it only slightly so you have some variety.
If you like breakfast shakes, have a “standard shake” that you drink almost every day, but have a few shake ingredients on hand so you can spice it up once in a while.
You can use the same type of strategy to make sure you have clean clothes.
Blocking out specific days of the week for laundry, and then decide the night before what you will wear.
These small changes in your habits can save you hours of time, and more importantly. help you to channel your energy towards your highest priorities.
What’s a microgoal?
A microgoal is a goal that can be achieved in 15 miutes or less.
This may be an unusual way of planning if your tendency is to be too ambitious.
You may want to write 20 pages a day, so writing just 3 paragraphs may not seem like a goal worth noting.
But, microgoals can be help you gain momentum with writing or experiments on days when you feel like “blah” (i.e. not motivated at all).
Microgoals can also help you realize how much you can accomplish in just a small amount of time.
If you are focused, 15 minutes is enough to write a half a page or an entire page, or to analyze a portion of your data.
When you set a goal that is achievable is in 15 minutes and you complete it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.
This will help you to feel more confident, and when you feel more confident you will be more motivated you be to keep working.
Once you get into the habit of setting microgoals, you will notice small “pockets of time” (15 -20 minutes) throughout the day and you will be able to use this time to make progress on thesis writing.