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When Your Brain Tries to Talk You OUT of Writing

Apr 14, 2021

Have you ever really wanted to sit down to write your dissertation, but find that you talk yourself out of it?

You say to yourself, "Well, I only have a half hour, so maybe I will just check email instead..." or "I'm not sure what to write in this section yet... I'll try again tomorrow." Only to find that tomorrow you don’t take action either?

Does this cycle continue day in and day out without you making the commitment to write through the confusion?

If this resonates with you, I have a strategy that is so simple (yet effective) that it will blow your mind. 

If you have participated in any of my writing challenges, you KNOW I love me some Mel Robbins. The concept she teaches in, The Five Second Rule has been instrumental in getting me to take action on tasks I’ve been resistant to doing in my daily life.

In the winter of 2017, I was having a tough time getting myself motivated to walk every morning. While I've been a member of the 5:00 am...

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Everything you have been told is wrong with Procrastination is a lie.

Apr 08, 2021

One of my favorite things to do is to wake up really early on the weekends when the rest of my family is still sleeping. I walk down to the kitchen, take our dogs Murph and Cooper out, pour my coffee, and tiptoe up to my office.

Early mornings are my sacred time to do deep thought work while the house is quiet and still, and before my loves wake up excited for their day to begin. "MOM... will you make me pancakes?"... "Can I invite a friend over?" or "Babe, what time do you want to go for our walk?" Being able to ease into a busy family day with a full cup and some time to think, reflect, and write is important to me, a daily practice that I established as a doc student years ago. 

My morning ritual keeps me centered and I start every day feeling like I have accomplished something.

Every morning I do a thought download and write my goals out while quietly sipping my coffee, and remind myself of all that I am grateful for as I write in my...

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How to Herd a Recalcitrant Octopus (the literature review)

Apr 06, 2021
 
Hello Future Doctor Friends!
 
Years ago when I started my own literature review, I read a metaphor on a doc student’s blog that really resonated with me, and it may with you too. The author said something to the effect that the process of writing the literature review can feel similar to herding a recalcitrant octopus, which then transitions into having a turangawaewae moment… finding a place where you belong, and of having a place to stand on and to speak from.
 
I loved this metaphor because the process of conducting the literature review is an exhaustive step in the dissertation journey. It can’t be rushed, is very time consuming, but once you have “herded” it, you have a solid foundation from which to build the case for your research. It’s a labor of love.
 
The literature review is a lot like telling a story about how every other researcher has made progress, but you are identifying a gap in the knowledge base and...
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Admit it. You're DOPE.

Apr 06, 2021
My tweenage son would be utterly mortified if he knew that I used the word "dope" in a sentence. "DOPE" meaning "of the VERY BEST KIND"... (marvelous, awesome, fabulous, first-rate, out-of-sight, splendid, stellar, splendid, superior, etc.)... so DOPE in a good way.
 
This blog post is inspired by the women in my “Stuck to Unstoppable” program. We have weekly Live sessions in Zoom and Facebook and a few weeks ago, one of the amazing women in a coaching hot seat shared that she tends to hide her accomplishments because she doesn't want them to seem so big.
 
Once she shared this, the other ladies chimed in about the fact that many of them were also hiding or downplaying their accomplishments as well. Can you relate? Are your degrees or certificates of accomplishments hanging with pride in your office? If not, why not?
 
WHY do we do this?
 
We downplay our accomplishments because we don’t want others to feel...
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Would you stand your Bestie up at the Coffee Shop?

Mar 26, 2021
Hello, Beautiful.
 
Are you a person of your word? Would you ever consider telling your bestie that you will meet her at the coffee shop, but then never show up? Would you tell a colleague you will meet for drinks but leave her there sitting alone while you are finishing up a task at the office? Or tell your partner you are going to meet them at a restaurant and never show up? 
 
OF COURSE NOT! 
 
But then how many times do we tell ourselves “I'm going to get up early and write in the morning", "I’m going to the gym tomorrow” and then never do it? If we keep telling ourselves that we are going to do something and never do it, then we are telling ourselves that we don’t even believe in our own word
 
Let me be clear… I am OFTEN out of integrity with myself. I’ve been working hard to identify when I am doing it, and then clean myself up, dust myself off, and get right back into integrity. We all slip...
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Dissertation Truth Bomb - Don't let PERFECTION paralyze you.

Mar 25, 2021
I had to reach out to you today because this is a topic bubbling up with doc students right now. I'm about to get real with you, so lean in.
 
I get it… writing the dissertation can seem like an overwhelming task, and let’s face it. Many of us are here because we are overachievers in life. We set HIGH standards for ourselves, and we REACH them. Sometimes though, those high standards can be toxic when writing the dissertation.
 
I’ve seen the desire for PERFECTION paralyze students. I am begging you… do not let PERFECTION keep you from making progress. Just WRITE... even if it is messy, even if it doesn't make perfect sense, even if it isn't in the order you like, and take comfort in the fact that you can always go back and fine tune later. The first few drafts will feel like they are crap and that is perfectly normal. 
 
I’ve seen perfection stifle the students I work with. They come to me because they are stuck, and...
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Manage Your Time Like a Dissertation BOSS!

Feb 21, 2020
Is the thought of writing your dissertation starting to feel like you are standing at the base of Mount Everest wondering how on earth you are going to climb to the top and finish this thing? Sometimes looking at the whole project can cause overwhelm, and is then used as an excuse not to take action. Not to worry though... I’m here to share the single most important strategy that helped me gain momentum and plow forward when I was floundering while writing my own dissertation. The key to time management and preventing overwhelm is scheduling out your dissertation tasks step by step.
 
First, download a Gantt chart template, and format it to suit your needs. I found a blank template online, after three years of floundering through my dissertation, and the Gantt chart alone was instrumental in my making forward movement to finish.  
 
Start backward with your defense celebration and outline each step it will take to get there. I...
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The Most Important Dissertation Decision You Will Make

Feb 05, 2020

Hello Dissertation Friends!

In this blog post, I am going to tell you that the single most important decision you will make in your doctoral journey, is finding your dissertation chair/advisor. 

The two most important decisions you will make as a doctoral student are 1) the selection of your research area, and 2) the selection of your dissertation chair/advisor. Before you make a final decision of your advisor and approach someone to serve in that role, you should have a good idea about what topic you are interested in pursuing, and what kind of study you want to do.

While both decisions are important, the single most important research you will do as a doctoral student will be in selecting your chair/advisor. With the right chair/advisor, you can make steady progress, completing your dissertation on time and graduate on schedule. With the wrong advisor, you will spend time in the abyss known as the "drift", fail to make progress, and face the risk of ultimately not finishing,...

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The Secret to Finding Great Research Questions - Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Finish Your Dissertation 6 Months Faster

Nov 19, 2019

Want to finish your dissertation 6 months faster? An easy way to get the ball rolling is to start with this secret to finding GREAT research questions.

The Secret

Dissertation research often generates more questions than it answers. There are little golden nuggets hidden in the final pages of published dissertations. One of these questions from a former doc student may very well provide a basis for your thesis or dissertation proposal. 

Once you have a general idea of what your topic will be, a primary source for discovering your own research questions is by reading other doctoral dissertations. Existing literature, particularly recent literature, is an excellent source of research questions. Start researching Dissertation Abstracts Online, or go to ProQuest and select “Dissertations and Thesis”. Do a search for your general topic. Most published dissertations will include an area called, “Recommendations for Further Research”. This section of each...

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