Master Log 05: A Time Plan

and how to screw it up.

In June I will have to hand in my Master thesis and final project. Here I keep a diary on my progress and show how certain techniques are applicable in non-academic life.

Once you have settled your topic and know approximately which direction you are headed, it is time to plan ahead and set steps. This might, as all the other posts in this series, not apply to everyone. Some people are very good in just writing when they feel like and they will get done with things just as well. But I am one of those who need to set goals in order to achieve something.

Scheduling your work has several advantages:

  • It serves as motivation.
  • It gives you structure so that you are not floating in a vacuum.
  • It shows what you already have accomplished and avoids repetition.
  • It is something you can show your supervisor as an evidence of your commitment.

You must create time, that is for sure. All we have is time and yet we tend not to use it adequately. If you want to push something extra like a thesis into your daily and weekly routine, you will have to create space. You will have to cancel something, or sleep later, or wake up earlier. Incorporating a new activity demands sacrifices.

I made a very simple plan from now to the due date, splitting it up into the months and weeks remaining. For both theory and practice I tried to involve a couple of days as a break and some buffer for corrections. Having some distance and then some time to double check everything is crucial to hand in quality work.

I always plan in extra time. Things will take longer than planned. I will not be able to do all the scheduled tasks. I will need more time which is not there. Therefore I start early and do little steps for the project to be successful.

I have a lot of fun setting up this schedule and then I tend not to meet the goals. By now so many more assignments have come up that I am not able to follow my schedule anymore. I spend a lot of time rescheduling, which I enjoy, instead of actually doing the work the schedule says I should do. However, planning shouldn’t take more time than actually fulfilling the scheduled work.

For now I have to focus on the assignments, but I will use free days for the thesis and keep you updated on my progress.

In the meantime: What have you scheduled for yourself – and how did you screw it up? Let me know in the comment section below.


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