Academic (non)writing

Being in this PhD journey for the last nine months, I’ve learnt a lesson about writing procrastination. That’s one of these ‘everybody does it’ things among PhD students. You know that you need to write the journal, or the report, but you also know that ‘there is time for that’, as you are supposed to have more relaxed deadlines in working independently.

How helpful are the deadlines for you?


I think that I wouldn’t produce any written material without setting deadlines. Most recent, for example, is the writing of my report. I set the deadline for submitting the first draft last week, and guess what? I’ve only started my writing last week. It is so typical of me. Somehow, I simply cannot function without deadlines and I need to do things (or, at least, start doing things) in the last moment. Only when the timing is tight can I actually feel the adrenalin and get the required energy to embark on the writing process.

You might say it is a wrong approach, and I would agree with you. It is certainly not the best one. However, it is the only one I have now. Trust me, I know all about the scheduling writing times every day to keep up with writing, to approach writing as the crucial part of PhD journey, as writing is thinking, ……. I know it all. I mean, I read about it all. And realised it is a good approach. Only – doesn’t work for me.

I suppose it is because I’ve been always doing things in the last moment. Not in terms of enjoying life and being lazy before the ‘last moment’, but I was always a ‘busy bee’, doing so many things that ‘last moment’ for me was lasting continuously, as there was always something to be done.

I just wonder – is it a personality trait or only a habit that can be directed into new direction?

PhD world out there – what are your recipes for writing tasks and how you deal with it? I’d like to hear some new ideas.

In the meanwhile, find many great resources on the amazing blog by my academic hero, Pat Thomson.

2 thoughts on “Academic (non)writing

  1. I used to be the same way–doing the bulk of my writing and editing in the final days before a hard deadline. But now I have a kid, and that means I can’t make those massive pushes before deadlines because someone else needs me for large portions of each day. The only thing that works for me is setting small deadlines or tasks that MUST be completed within my working-time-window each day. Also, the Pomodoro Technique works well for me. I use 40-min cycles with 5-min rest breaks. This gets me task focused and motivated. Good luck with your writing!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience and I actually admire you doing all of that with a kid. Well, that’s another topic, I know, but very close to my heart and would like to hear more about it.

      I would definitely agree with you about the small deadlines – somehow it might even be psychological, but it is so amazing to accomplish these deadlines. For example, finish this paragraph, or section ‘before lunch’, or similar. I realised it really does work for me, even if I have long writing session, but that s how I can break it down and feel accomplished!

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