The thesis writing process is a long one – the process itself is more like a triathlon than a quick sprint. It’s long, arduous, and a test of perseverance. It is an endurance event, and in order to reach the finish line, setting smaller goals along the way is crucial. Short-term goals can help keep you on track, maintain motivation, and improve your focus. It’s important, however, to make sure these goals are SMART goals. Not intellectually astute, but rather:

    • Specific: clearly outlined, detailed, with no ambiguity


    • Measurable: able to be measured or quantified


    • Attainable: can be achieved with the resources and the time you have


    • Realistic: not too idealistic; realistically achievable


    • Time-bound: with a specific deadline in place for the goal to be met

Creating SMART goals for yourself will build your confidence and improve your time management. You’ll be able to see the clearly outlined SMART goals and develop a schedule/timeline from there.

For instance, instead of simply stating “I want to complete my thesis in a year,” a SMART goal would be “I want to finish a rough draft of my Literature Review and send it for editing by September 20th.” In the latter, you’ve broken a large, potentially unattainable goal down to a specific and realistic goal with an established deadline. You can then make another goal for the next chunk of work – and plan your schedule and timeline accordingly.

In addition to setting SMART goals, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

    • Incorporate down time into your schedule. Life happens and we all need breaks sometimes. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to work 24/7. It isn't realistic or healthy.


    • If you fall behind, don’t give up. Just do some recalibrating. One delay or slip-up doesn’t mean the end of your progress. Just shift things a little bit, and keep moving forward.


    • Set a schedule/routine and stick to it. If you need to, block off time in your planner/calendar for everything (writing time, transportation time to and from work, dinner break, exercise), as silly as it might seem it's important to be realistic about how many hours in a day you are actually working with.


    • When writing your goals, use positive language and focus on what you want to achieve, not things you want to avoid. 


    • It’s okay to ask for help. We don’t mean help in the sense of having someone else write for you – that’s a big no-no. If you need extra guidance in developing a work plan, or if you need research assistance or editing/formatting help, Thesis Editor can help! We offer a range of professional services to help you get you where you want to be! Contact us today to learn more.


< Dealing with Feedback

Tagged under: Thesis Writing Tips  

I wish to thank Thesis Editor Ltd and its staff for providing editorial and formatting services in support of finalising my doctoral thesis. These services were provided consistent with an agreed upon scope of work and timeframe. The quality of the work was excellent and the attention to detail was much appreciated. Without hesitation, I recommend anyone seeking support with their academic manuscript or other types of work products that require editorial review and formatting to speak with Dawn Leach, Director of Operations, Thesis Editor Ltd. I found Dawn to be very responsive and extremely helpful.

- Kevin G. Rattue , University of Oxford, January 2021

Read More Client Testimonials