Recently, my diss committee has imposed some strict deadlines on me and my dissertation. I readily admit that it has taken a back burner for quite some time, but these new deadlines are forcing me to refocus. Which, in all honesty, is what I need. I've never been good at self-directed study. I lack the discipline. So, I have my first chapter due at the end of this month, the second chapter and revisions of the first due 45 days later, the third chapter and revisions of 1 and 2 45 after that ... and so on and so on. So now I need to get back in gear.
Starting tomorrow (because Mondays are ALWAYS the best day to start things), I'm going back to my strict evening schedule. It all boils down to eliminating the distractions at home and setting mini-goals for myself.
First, I exercise immediately after work. Whether it is a run with The Beast or going to classes at the gym, it happens immediately after work. If I run, I'm usually done by 5:30. If I go to the gym, I'm usually home by 6pm. Of course, I need to shower and eat afterwards. So, depending on the day, my at-home work-period should begin between 6 and 6:30pm.
Second, the TV is OFF until 9pm (except for a 30-minute window during dinner). Thankfully, I now have DVR so I have already set all of my favorite shows for recording. That time restriction should give me 2+ hours of work time at home before relaxing. Most of this time should be focused on dissertating, but some of it will definitely require grading and planning and such. Two hours a night should be sufficient.
Third, no more than two social events during the school week. Last week I had functions and get-togethers every night of the week, and, while I loved hanging out with people, I got nothing done. I can't do that anymore if I'm ever going to finish this thing. I've already got plans for Monday night and some tentative plans for Wednesday night, so that's it for this week. The rest of my evenings will be working evenings.
Fourth, going out on weekends is going to be limited to just one night (I think. This one is going to be harder to stick to, but I'm going to give it a good shot.) I generally tend to stay out too late when I go out on weekends which means my day doesn't start until later in the day the next day. My going out night will most likely be Saturdays, so Fridays should be a work night and Saturday morning should be a exercise and work day. Hopefully.
Fifth, I'm not going to be drinking during the week (with the obvious occasional exceptions). Most importantly, my waistline doesn't need it. Secondarily, it's just unnecessary. I feel like garbage the next morning (even after one drink ... what is wrong with me?!), and it makes me sleepy so I don't get as much done in the evening.
So, that's my plan for the next few months. The committee wants a solid draft by the end of the summer, and I've got a lot of work to do. I've got 30 rough pages of one chapter, but that's about it. Which is horrible. So time to get me ass a tappin' and make something happen!