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Honors Workshop Handout

Managing the thesis Writing Process

Time Management Strategies for a Thesis Writing Process

At the beginning your thesis project, the whole research and writing process may seem daunting and difficult to get your head around.  It is important to devote adequate time to the thesis process, stay organized, and remain on task so you can be successful. To do this I recommend you focus on three things:

1.     Plan for the Bigger Picture
In order to really get a handle on the whole thesis project it is easier to visualize the bigger picture of the project first and then drill down to define tasks to be completed. This bigger picture view will also show you all that needs to be done and in what order and you will see stronger connections between the individual thesis projects and tasks. This will help you make sure you do not miss anything along the way that might cause a delay in your thesis completion.

2.     Chunk the Larger Project into Smaller Tasks
A large writing project is always a little intimidating, but if you chunk into smaller tasks and deadlines it becomes easier to manage and succeed (see section 1 above).  Chunking out tasks and assignments into smaller pieces will help you make progress and build upon your progress as you go. So for example, you will need to find resources for your topic before you can write a review of the literature as an introduction for your paper. So don’t worry about your literature review until you have done your research – that would be a waste of time.

3.     Pace Yourself
Remember to pace yourself. It is important to stay on task on a continuous basis. Try to build in time to just reflect on your project, think about your draft, reread your drafts after taking a break so you have time to reflect. Sometimes you can be the most productive when you take a break and the pressure is off to “complete” a part of your project. Be open to thoughts popping into your head about your work; I often find I get great ideas like a few days or a week after I have written something.

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Shane Wallace
J.W. Marriott Library
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