Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Procrastinating a PhD

Last 5 blog entries seem to have a subtext occurring, being: topic
2.despondent up
5.mistaken for a dummy well as being stuck in a conundrum
My last exercise in 'writing in the style of' is an article on researcher responsibility and is still on my laptop, albeit a shiny new one :)
but the article is not writing itself :(
Seems to have got waylaid.

Today i have
...synched the phone camera to the laptop
...moved photos into my iphoto library
...been to starbucks and read the newspaper, opened the laptop, edited a paragraph and got distracted by a friend
...tidied the study a bit more
...done the washing
...checked the emails several times
And avoided the phd
I have surfed the net looking at PhD procrastination and been advised:
Look at the small picture rather than the big one; Make the steps smaller and visible
ok I can list several useful tasks on the way rather than staying with nebulous stuff like waiting on immersion in data, or writing a whole article. I could split the time a bit more creatively eg read one article, put it in endnote, watch or listen to a Latour audio, spend x mins on the writing, put the last interview from ipod onto laptop, make notes from it ... (I aim to do all of these by...I now think of a reasonable timeframe and double it)

Rethink the priorities: Could have said look at the big picture rather than the small one... i could be stuck/avoidant because what I am up to is not really needed (its a possibility). Separating wheat from chaff. I'm cool with the PhD, the article/chapter could be a distraction. Maybe shelve it for the moment and move on/ maybe blog whats there and move on without requiring completion.

If you have a writers block, write about it.
So write about being blocked...mmmm...not very successful so far.
Write intention statements
What am i going to do today? mmm And then I get to feel guilty or like a failure for not getting there? I dont think so.

Seek psychological help for perfectionism and fear of failure. I am really not in this space, at least not at the moment, I'll revisit this one when i dont want to part with what I've written.

So; I think its about not liking what I bit into with the current writing.
And maybe its about not finding it so easy to pick it up and put it down on a weekly basis as a part time student
Or maybe I'm getting a bit fudged in my thinking- crystalised vs fluid where multitasking isnt what it was, i seem stuck on completion even when its not helping me.

Back to outlining the small steps needed to complete the large one.
Finish the PhD is a bit nebulous. Andthere is also no requirement to start at the beginning. Latour advocates starting in the middle, so again I will try this (notice that, that was an intention word).
The tasks may be organized as follows: Open the colloquium document again, redate, save to the desktop.
Parts: Summary, intro, ch1:contextualising the problem, ch2 lit review; Ch3 Research methodology, ch4 Research design, ch5 Data analysis= workstories of change , incl sensitive research and my own workstory
all in less than 80,000 words, current count 24,000 words

Each tasks entails smaller tasks.
ch 2. The literature review requires annotating with whats in , out, needing additions.
ch 5. requires data immersion (in the too hard box with picking up and putting down).
But also could be added to, I think i need more artefact data analysis at YL, again, picking up and putting down frustrates this.

Overcoming Procrastination: Getting Organized to Complete the Dissertation

Tara L. Kuther, at the APA website gives some of the more useful advice: "In terms of completing tasks, it is not necessary to start at the beginning of the list, in fact, believing that one starts the dissertation proposal by writing his or her introduction and thesis and ends with the plan for analyses will detain progress. Begin where you feel comfortable and fill in the gaps. You will find that you gain momentum with the completion of each small task. Feeling overwhelmed by any particular task is a sign that you have not broken it down into small enough pieces."

Or it might be that I'm just off task;A need then to realign.

My friend Barbara Grant always said Write, write about writing...
Me, I blog it.
Being pragmatic, the thoughts are not enough, someone somewhere has to see them, they dont happen without being put out there...
William Makepeace: a thousand thoughts lay unknown until we take up a pen to write them...

Ok, i feel a bit more on task now :)


  1. I feel you. I am at the same stage myself. Read the chapter I am trying to finish last evening, found that it did not make as much sense as I would like it to. Worried quite a lot but went to bed thinking of how hard I would hit it in the morning. Now, I just got up, made coffee and picked up my laptop. I hope today is better than last evening.

    Btw, this is still native anthropologist, albeit under a different name.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and talking Loomie, it helps!
    I have managed to feel like i have worked productively today, I am reading Cynthia Tananis:
    Tananis, C. A. 2007. Imagining in the Forest Dark: The Journey of an Epistemorph in the Land of Ologies. In N. B. Garman & M. Piantanida (Eds.), The Authority to Imagine: The Struggle toward Representation in Dissertation Writing, New York ; Oxford: P. Lang, pp. 139 - 54.
    Her writing also describes the difficulties with not being sure of one's way. Best wishes, and please do drop by anytime,

  3. Sorry, that was Loomnie, didnt mean to do the misspelling.

    And a catchup;
    Today I read an article, put it into my endnote library, reviewed it it as a reading on a group PhD plot site instigated by my friend Heather, and considered yet again researcher responsibility.... for today, i feel like I did progress, not fully, but enough.

  4. go back and re-acquaint with the passion for this...