- Sprint Planner (PDF)
The idea of ‘writing a thesis’ suggests you sit at your computer, then all those ideas are disgorged onto the screen in a continuous stream. Instead of ‘writing a thesis’, I want you to think in terms of a series of sprints that finally produce a thesis. It’s only by breaking it down that it becomes manageable.
We’re going to break down your completion plan into 12-week sprints. Don’t worry if this sounds athletic, it’s not. The idea is that you keep moving. Consider for a moment: what sounds longer, three months or twelve weeks? When we have the illusion of time, we tend to dawdle. Even saying something is happening next month suggests it’s far in the future.
Thinking in sprints, rather than years, means the deadline is always near enough that you can’t lose sight of it. We’re going to make every day, week, and month count.
Take the first three months on your completion planner. We’re going to focus on what needs to happen during this period. Don’t think about the rest of it at the moment. Another advantage of the 12-week sprint is that we don’t allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the entire project, we only concern ourselves with what’s happening during this sprint.
Ideally, we’re looking for three headline goals for this sprint. Depending on your stage, they could be:
- Finish reading for chapter 3.
- Draft chapter 3.
- Revise chapter 3.
- Check thesis structure.
- Improve flow.
- Check references.
These goals are big but also specific. It shouldn’t say “write some stuff”.
Now we’re going to break it down further. What’s going to happen each week?
- Completing specific readings?
- Drafting, revising, editing specific sections.
- Completing specific activities, e.g. proofreading.
There’s bound to be some slippage with this plan, but mapping your weeks in this way gives you a sense of how everything needs to fit into the sprint. If you’re mostly hitting these weekly goals, you’ll know you’re on track.
Don’t go into any more detail now. In later videos, I’ll help you find time in your week to accomplish these goals.
Now think more specifically about hurdles that might arise during this first sprint.
Looking at your 12-week sprint, consider:
- What hurdles can you anticipate?
- How could you avoid those obstacles through advance planning?
- If there’s nothing you can do in advance, how might you deal with these obstacles when they pop up?
In the next video, we’ll reassess your priorities to create some space for that sprint.