Dissertation writing-overwhelmed and distracted! Conflicted about writing dissertation vs. How do you research and write and care for baby too? Dissertation writing-overwhelmed and distracted! Once upon a time I was able to organize and self motivate, but currently after many ”opportunities for personal growth” including caring for my 3 year old with cancer, my mind isn’t what/where it used to be. I need advice to help me with organizing my time and writing, and keeping me on task. I have ADD, and a lot of stress in my life but I’ve got to get it together and FOCUS! I need to get a writing plan and tools for focusing but I’m so distracted I don’t known where to start. Really, it’s getting ridiculous. Don’t let me become another ABT chump. Here is a suggestion about how to get going on your dissertation. Find 15 minutes during the day every day that you can call you own. Get your notes, your calculator, your computer, and anything else you may need and sit down and stare at it.

Sit there for 15 minutes, even if you can’t seem to get started with it. Do not look at your email, talk to anyone, or otherwise distract yourself. Just sit there. In most cases, people get bored in about two minutes and get to work. Hire a dissertation coach. I got mine from the all-but-dissertation survival guide years ago. I had a weekly appt with my coach once a week on the phone, and email support. Conflicted about writing dissertation vs. I have a question for those of you who have written / are writing / plan to write a dissertation while having babies. I have a 4 month old daughter and at some point in the next few months I plan to hire a part time nanny so I can work on my dissertation. I figure it will take me anywhere from 15-20 months to write the dissertation. However, I am enjoying my time so-o-o much with my daughter that I know I’ll be so jealous of the babysitter who gets to spend time with her!

I feel very very strongly that I want to finish the dissertation so I can move forward with teaching, as I hope to find a part-time teaching position. However, I am really really conflicted since she will be this snuggly and little for such a short period of time. I have my whole life to write the dissertation, but only this little bit of time to be with her as a baby. On the other hand, it really is only a few hours of each day that she wouldn’t be with me so I can write and do research, and ”inch by inch,” as it were, finish the dissertation. How did you come to terms with a similar decision? Congrats on both the baby and having the motivation to finish the dissertation! 1. Enrolled our child in the UCB childcare program open to graduate students. This provided me with a built-in support system – others trying to write a dissertation while parenting. What was also wonderful is that the program required parent participation, so I got to know the other children and parents.

2. When the baby was as young as yours, we hired a babysitter to take care of her in our (small) apartment while I wrote in the morning. This way, I could see/hear what was going on, and also get some work done. This took a bit of discipline, but worked really well. In the afternoon, I would take my daughter to the campus program. At the time, the infant care program was half-day only. It was a nice balance for me. As our child got older, and progressed to full day care, we had her in the program all day on the days I needed it, and took her home early when I did not. I was in a similar situation, though I had more of my dissertation written when the baby was born. Didn’t get any writing done the first 9 months–naps weren’t long enough, and I didn’t feel ready to hire a sitter. By the time baby was nine months old, I was ready.

We used college students, 12-15 hours a week, and by then baby was more mobile and active, personable with the sitters. I was starting to feel a little isolated at home, and I was eager to start to have a mental life of my own. Remember, too: you don’t actually have your whole life to write the dissertation. There are timelines for the university that you have to follow. And beyond that, I think there are emotional barriers likely to arise the longer you wait. A tricky situation and a difficult decision to make. I can 100% empathize with your wanting to spend all your time with your baby. However, taking a break finishing the dissertation, might result in more years than you ever planned for or anticipated. Taking care of your child will just get more demanding over the next years. And you will be more removed from the ‘career’ path than you might imagine now, not even wanting to finish the dissertation anymore, because you might consider your role as a caretaker more important.

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