May 8, 2012 - 4:14 PM
This is thesis crunch-time at its very most frantic. Very soon I'll be turning in my defense draft and moving on to other projects: getting ready for the thesis defense, doing thesis final edits, homework for cultural geography, preparing to move out of Eugene, etc., etc.
There's lots left to do. But the point I meant to make is that this is thesis crunch time, and I am spending most of my waking hours either working on my thesis or thinking about working on my thesis.
It's full speed ahead in Katie's thesis universe.
And after these many months of work, I have settled into the method of maximum productivity for this project.
I'm an extroverted person, although some of my favorite time is spent with just one or two other people. I don't work well in the library where everyone has to be quiet and most people don't know each other. I always feel like I'm bothering someone, or that someone is bothering me. For less intense projects (like blogs, for example), I love working in coffee shops or cafés, since it has a pleasant noisy sense, and people are friendly. But for thesis I need to be able to concentrate completely, so a café is out: too many distractions. I also don't work at my best when I'm alone at home, although that is often where I end up. I get distracted and end up on facebook or youtube, or I get into a "stuck" place where I just stare at the screen for a long, long time. I couldn't figure this out for ages, and used to get really frustrated and feel like I was just ramming my head into a wall. Then I figured it out: I was lonely.
So the secret to success is company.
Not just any kind of company. The best is my friend Kara in my CRES cohort. We get together in a study room in the Law Library, with a big table and a window. Kara is great at being super-focused and also supportive, and is friendly without being too chatty. We settle in, chat for a bit, and then set a timer (our best productivity is handled in units of 37 minutes, 12 seconds and don't even ask because that twelve seconds is absolutely vital). We work, and then we take a break. We talk through what we'll be working on, and then check in with each other when the time is up. Five minutes and a coffee break later, and we start another cycle of productivity.
These last few days of frantic thesising have shown me just how essential this strategy is. If I make it to the deadline (which is Thursday afternoon) then I will absolutely owe my sanity to Kara and our work sessions.
Full speed ahead!