Dissertation Boot Camp Resources
How to run your own boot camp
- Recruit a few other dissertation writers.
- Commit to meeting at a regular place and time. Create a virtual meeting room if you can’t meet in the same physical space.
- Tell your colleagues that you’re absolutely unavailable during that time.
- Enlist others, if possible, to care for children and pets.
- Get a supply of healthy snacks and drinks to keep in reach.
During the boot camp
- Set SMART goals for the week (see the goal setting tips below). Interact with this goal sheet every day, crossing off the goals you’ve achieved, breaking down a goal into sub-goals, and adding new goals as you progress. If you’re meeting virtually, apps like Padlet allow you to post your goals in a common space.
- Set a timers for your writing periods if it’s helpful (see below for timer options). The Writing Center boot camp schedule is: 90 minutes with no internet, 30 minutes with internet, 60 minutes with no internet, then talking about your writing over lunch. If you’re meeting virtually, you’ll need the internet, but close your apps, turn off notifications, and limit any other use of the internet to the specified time.
- Turn off your phone, stop talking, and start writing. If you’re meeting virtually, mute your microphone and your speaker, but keep your video on. Seeing others at work helps with motivation and accountability.
- Make an occasional appointment in the Writing Center to talk about your progress, to learn new writing strategies, and to keep yourself motivated.
- Smile. You’re doing a great job!
Workshop handouts specifically for dissertation writers:
- Audience analysis
- Defeating procrastination
- Developing work habits
- Focus checklist
- Goal setting tips
- Helpful services on campus
- Managing your research
- Out of my control
- Silencing your inner critic
- Taking inventory
- Three perspectives strategy
- Using writing to digest reading
- Weekly schedule
- Writing possibilities
- Strategies for reorganizing drafts
- Formatting reference sheet
All Writing Center handouts and tips, writing strategy demos, and semester calendars:
Writing group resources
- Writing group starter kit
- Designing a work group
- Tips for a productive writing group
- Possible meeting spots for writing groups
- Doodle.com, an application that can help you schedule group meetings
- Whenisgood.net, another scheduling application
- Google docs, an application that can help you access your files from anywhere and exchange drafts
- Dropbox.com, another filesharing application
- https://getcoldturkey.com/(this one blocks certain sites for certain amounts of time-e.g. to keep self off Facebook)
- http://selfcontrolapp.com/ (for Macs, this one also blocks certain sites for amounts of time you set)
- Google calendar (allows you to color code for various deadlines)
Speech to text software:
- See this review of apps that allow you to dictate notes into various devices.
Time tracking applications (to see what you’re spending your time on):
Timers/alarms/bells you can set:
Interesting articles and tips
Formatting your dissertation
- Graduate School guidelines and resources http://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/thesis-diss/
- Mac Word 2011 http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/services/exploratory/pdfs/wordfordissmac2011.pdf
- Windows Word 2010 http://www.lib.umich.edu/files/services/exploratory/pdfs/word2010fordissertation.pdf
Inside Higher Ed series for graduate students
National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
- Free membership for UNC students https://facultydiversity.site-ym.com/page/registration
Discussion of using the internet to procrastinate:
A very helpful list of tips (intended for online/distance students, but mostly useful for anyone):