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Thanks, this is great advice. Often I get overwhelmed by big tasks (i.e. the diss.) and don't do anything at all! I have to remember just to do the next small thing. I like the lily pad metaphor. Hop hop.


Hi there. Thanks for your blog.

How do I figure out what the baby steps are? How do I break down big projects into smaller lilypads?

Dissertation Diva

Hi abd,

Visualize what you need to do in order to complete a bigger task. You are visualizing -- imagining, figuring out -- the smaller steps. Then write down these steps.

For example: if your big goal is to complete a section of a chapter, your smaller steps might be:

1. Assess how finished the section is.
2. Spend 30 minutes making list of things to be done in order to finish the section.
3. Find advisor's comments from last year about this section.
4. Locate research article x, y, and z that I need to argue the point I'm arguing in this section.
5. Print out section. (breaking this down even more might include 5a: put toner cartridge in printer. 5b: buy more printer paper. 5c: print.)
6. Read through section and edit it with a red pen.
7. Incorporate written edits and advisor's edits into computer document.

Get the idea? Be specific. First, you would do ONE thing on this list. Then, move on to the next thing.

Dissertation Diva

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