The lucky ones out there have attention spans that last hours. I am not one of those, and I would assume the majority of us don’t. Hence, working in short intervals with mini breaks in between seems like suitable way to stay focused but not overworked.
Many of us doing their doctoral studies tend to leave writing our thesis till the very end of our studies. Many will argue that it is a waste of time to write anything before you have all your results. This has some truth in it, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t write literature reviews which can be used later on for your thesis. Moreover, as explained in writing tip#1, the more often you write, the easier it will be when it’s time to write the real deal.
Another reason why it’s not wise to leave all the writing to the end is because when we do that, we tend to spend days on end just writing. Writing 16 hours a day for 8 weeks. During that time people have probably reported us missing to the police or thought that we stopped loving them.
It doesn’t have to be dramatic. In fact, it will take even less weeks when we do the following:
- Write in short intervals of 30-60 minutes
- take 5-10 minute breaks in between, where one can have a snack, chat with a friend, get some fresh air (and I don’t mean smoke a cigarette), or even go for a walk around the block.
- in total, try not to write more than 3-4 hours a day
- plan something else for that day that doesn’t involve writing, preferably not on a desk
You may think that will stretch out your allotted writing weeks, but it may also shorten them because you will be more efficient working fewer hours.
An example of that is what Scandinavian countries like Sweden do. Employees work around 6 hours a day (in comparison to average of 9 hours in developed countries). Trials have shown that people are more productive, more energetic, have more time for family or hobbies, and have therefore a better quality of life, positively impacting their job and career satisfaction.