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How do I balance the dissertation and life?

Wise OwlFinding the right balance between your dissertation and the rest of your life is something that you must determine for yourself. Some people may prefer to do nothing else, to put their lives on hold, and to get the dissertation done as quickly as possible. Others with families and careers may prefer to slow down the dissertation process and maintain much more balance in their lives.

Should I put the dissertation first?

If you are of the "just get it done" mindset, it is important to remember the advice I received from a friend:

"If you want to race the car fast, you need to put it in the shop now and then."

Because the dissertation is such a longterm endeavor, it is important to realize that you are likely to "hit the wall" at some time during this process. So it is considered prudent to have other relationships and activities to sustain you over the long haul.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

For those of you who want a dissertation and a life too, it is important to realize that the longer you take, the greater the likelihood of not completing your dissertation. Often life events do interfere. And for most people, at a certain point, a dissertation becomes very long and exhausting, and you may eventually run out of the resources you need to complete your dissertation.

Whatever path you choose, it is important that you determine and periodically review your priorities and your commitments to areas of your life besides your dissertation. Inevitably, however, in the final push to complete your dissertation, you will have to put the dissertation first and neglect some of those other areas of your life. You should realize that if you have nurtured them sufficiently, they will still be there to sustain you through the final days. Then you can breathe and catch up on your life!

 

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