Dissertation Learning Research Thesis

5 ways to write more productively

Writing up can be a long and stressful process, but how do you stay productive day after day? We know it can be frustrating keeping up your writing momentum, so here are a few tips to help:

 

1.   Pomodoro anyone?

No, not the pasta – but the time management technique. The Pomodoro technique is designed to help you focus on a single task and take regular breaks. Although not for everyone, it’s worth looking into as a way of increasing you’re productivity when it comes to writing.

Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, the process is simple. You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes. Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. (Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer!)

After four 25 minute sessions (or pomodori) you take a 25 – 30 minute break. Then repeat the whole process for as long as you want to work that day.

If you can use it, not only does it have benefits to your word count, but the fact that structured breaks are built in means it’s good for your stress levels!

The technique has inspired popular Shut up and Write sessions – and sessions are held regularly on campus by the Humanities Researcher Development team, but the beauty of the technique is that you don’t need anything other than space and a timer! Or why not set up your own session?

 

2.   Step away from your desk:

Even the most dedicated students need breaks to help focus and preserve sanity. So, make sure you try to take regular and significant breaks throughout the writing process to collect your thoughts and refresh your brain. Whether you’re going for a run, meditating, getting lunch with friends or just making yourself a cup of tea, getting away from your workspace can reset your motivation and allow you to come back to your work with a new perspective and a lot more motivation.

 

3.   Have a clear working space:

A chaotic workspace can quickly become a distraction and by decluttering you’ll be keeping disruptions at bay. Our advice would be to write at a desk or table (not on your bed!) – you’ll feel much more productive and won’t be tempted to nap or get distracted. Having a designated box or file for all your paperwork can also be handy, as you can keep everything you need in one place and won’t be wasting time searching for something you need for that day.

 

4.   Don’t be afraid to stop:

At the end of the day, don’t work till into the night just because you’re on a roll; you need plenty of rest in order to stay consistently productive! Your concentration and brain-power is going to be significantly reduced by working through the night and your work is likely to suffer – plus the next morning you’ll end up too tired to carry on working. By keeping writing sessions short and sweet, having regular breaks throughout the day and getting an early night, you’ll soon see your productivity skyrocket and your thesis take shape nicely.

 

Further information

Blogs such as the Thesis Whisperer are full of tips about writing and for more practical help around structure and referencing My Learning Essentials offer workshops online resources.