100 Days of Dissertation – a motivational experiment

Today I want to talk about motivation and the last long days of corrections, revisions and re-writing of your thesis or dissertation.

When I first stumbled on the #100daysofdissertationchallenge on Instagram, I thought about it as a very good idea, but I could not quite stick to it. When I finished my thesis in its first complete version in December (read about it here and here) I figured that for the last run of corrections and revisions I will be in desperate need of motivation – after three long years full of writing, doing research and growing with a topic, there was no motivation left. I spent my Christmas break doing nothing, reading a lot of novels, watching TV and sleeping, just to re-start my brain. But this very needed break did not help with my motivation problem.

Again, I lost myself on Instagram and again I came across the hashtag #100daysofdissertation – and at this time, when my advisors had handed in their recommendatins and opinions on my thesis text, I just picked it up and thought just about 100 days left – I thought about the silver lining, about coming to the end of my PhD journey. I thought about my LAST 100 days of dissertation.

I was inspired by the acount of @academeology, because of the very honest and intelligent postings – and because of the 100 days of dissertation.

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Calling all #dissertation and #thesis writers! The 100 days of dissertation challenge begins Thursday, March 14, 2019! Some of you might remember, in February I said I was starting my personal #100daysofdissertation challenge during which I would work on my dissertation every single day for 100 days. Then many of you reached out letting me know that you’d like to join in on the 100-day journey, either in part or in full, as you work on your dissertation/thesis. Given the amount of interest many of you expressed in joining me, I decided to re-start the 100 days of dissertation challenge later this week. The significance of March 14 is personal. March 13 marks my 33rd trip around the sun, and I refuse to spend more of my 30s in grad school. The day following my 33rd birthday marks when I will put a stop to my productive(ish) procrastination and finally work on getting this damn dissertation done. Beginning on March 14, I will update Instagram daily with my progress, but I’m also starting a Facebook group (private) for anyone who wants to join me on this journey so we can hold each other accountable and provide much needed support along the way. I’ll also create a shared Google doc / spreadsheet where we can input our daily progress. If you’d like to be a part of the 100 days of dissertation challenge, all you need to do is: 1) DM me with your preferred name and e-mail address, and I will add you to the Facebook group and Google doc. • 2) Decide if you want to participate in the challenge in full (i.e., 100 days) or in part (e.g., 30 days, 60 days, or whatever works for you). • 3) Set reasonable daily goals for yourself, as well as how much you aim to accomplish during the challenge (e.g., finish your proposal, write certain chapters, get the whole thing done). Remember, there will be days that you don’t have much time to work on your dissertation/thesis, so account for busier days by adding small tasks you can tend to when you don’t have a lot of time. • 4) If you feel comfortable, I encourage you to use the Facebook group to check-in/seek support and post your progress to Instagram with the tag #100daysofdissertation.

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So, what do these 100 days actually mean? For 100 days you will try to work constantly on your thesis – finishing a certain chapter, doing research for one experiment, analyse some data for your work – whatever you want, it’s your goal. The first rpund startet back in March 2019, but I think it is still a thing going on out there somewhere, for there are many people in the same situation as I am currently.

So, I decided that I would like to work for 100 days on my final revisions – this does not just mean any corrections or the re-writing of some passages, it means taking my time to overthink some advices, to get a feeling for my written text, to use this amount of time to prepare for my thesis defence. And there are a lot of other challenges too – I wrote some applications, I got invited to job interviews, I am about to teach my first course at another university, I am a participant of the well-known three minute thesis competition, … Actually, I will not get bored these 100 days. 😉 But, then, again, this is me we are talking about. I am never without any work to do…

I am actually at 25 from 100, and I am quite good with my goals. And it is not easy. But somehow, it keeps me going. If you want to follow my story and the last 75 days of my dissertations journey, check on my Instagram profile (@labyrinth_bewohner).

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Wow, I have to admit, time passes really fast… Today it's DAY 25 out of my #100daysofdissertationchallenge and I think, I am doing good so far… I am getting along with my corrections and revisions and I have some really good news: – I got accepted for the #3minutethesiscompetition at @universityofgraz – I was invited to a job interview – I am officially teaching a course at @uniinnsbruck – for the winter term this year I am giving a course together with my @epigrammetry buddy and dear #latexninja – I was asked to give a workshop on #SFM and #3dmodelling So, there is a lot to do. 💪 Stay fierce, dear #warriorsofacademia. It's always hard to belief in ouselves. But just give it a try. Promise me! #100daysofdissertation #motivation #sundayvibes #teamphd #academicwriting #academicfightingspirit #laracroft #bulletjournal #february #coffee #thesiswriting #progress #workharder

A post shared by Astrid (@labyrinth_bewohner) on

I will not post regularly every day, because there is every day the same view on my desk – my laptop, lots of sheets with corrections, books and coffee. 😉 Who can relate?
I wanted to share this with you – if you are in desperate need of motivation, inspiration, if you are feeling completely isolated and alone, sitting at your desk and writing your own thesis – you are not alone. The struggle is real – and there is this thing I like to call academic fighting spirit.

Shoutout to all fierce warriors of academia! I hope this post can provide some help and inspiration – I wish you very good writing, may your cup of coffee never be empty! 🙂

All the best – Astrid


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