8 Resolutions for ’08

  1. Resolve to treat yourself after achieving major dissertation milestones. A weekend trip, a new pair of jeans, or (for the financially struggling) a day in bed will help you keep working toward your goals.
  2. Stop procrastinating on contacting committee members.
  3. Write a list of reasons you want to complete this project. Read it over at the start of every workday.
  4. Resolve to stretch, have a mini-dance party, or take a short walk when you get stiff from desk or lab work. Your mind and body will function better.
  5. Write in a dissertation journal. Writing daily, or even a couple times a week will help keep work anxiety under control.
  6. Resolve not to let your students dominate your life. Tell your students you can only answer e-mail before 6 P.M., for instance, to prevent flurries of late night e-mails the night before a paper is due. Don’t make promises about when you will grade their tests—they may not like to wait for grades, but they can handle it.
  7. Shake up your routine. If you usually check e-mail before writing, try to write first thing in the morning. If you normally work 9-3, try sitting at your desk from 2-6 instead.
  8. Resolve to stop grousing with your fellow graduate students about how much work you have, how behind you are, or how little you’ve gotten done. Force yourself to start with something positive whenever anyone asks about your work. If nothing else, you’ll be able to speak more convincingly about the merits of your work when you go on the job market.

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