A structural framework for a PhD thesis such as a table of contents is only, as Umberto Eco (2015) points out, ‘a working hypothesis’. An additional element is necessary if your plan is to be of practical value – the allocation of time. One of the reasons for the growing popularity of ‘New Route’ PhDs is, I would argue, because they help PhD researchers allocate time more effectively due to their structured nature. In the more traditional model of PhD research, it is mostly the responsibility of the researcher to manage time. Nowhere is this more difficult than in the planning of writing. Goals, schedules and routines The time that you have available for writing needs to be carefully broken down so that writing tasks can be allocated to time slots. A first step might be to try the following simple quiz. There are different aspects of setting goals, and there are different aspects of planning, some of which appear to receive more attention than others. Here is an example of a question which deserves your full attention: When are you most productive? Alternatively, when are you least productive? My own answers to these questions would be early in the morning (most productive) and late at night (least productive). However, this has not always been the case: I can remember writing essays late into the night when I was in my early 20s. It seems that different people have different body rhythms which can change over a period of time.
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- Establishing Productive Writing Routines
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