Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I'm indebted to my good friend, Gibsyn, for a very motivating phone call this morning. This is a friend who I worked with at Large Urban Southeastern University several years ago when she was completing her doctorate. She provided several tips for focusing on COMPLETION, all of which I will be likely to use in the next several months. She also shared with me that these same issues we all deal with (impostor syndrome, setting our own timelines and sticking to them) are things professors deal with on a regular basis. The difference here is that these issues are most intense during the doctoral candidacy process and they tend to become more routine the longer we do them and the more approval we receive from the academic society, as it were.

I am gearing up for having two weeks in March to focus only on the dissertation. Between now and then, I need to get the data analysis bear tamed to a point where I can get some good writing done during the time away from work.

Also between now and then I have a rather long to-do list at work that I must complete, and a class I'm teaching that I must finish.

Note my attempt in using finite timelines to structure my work? Ugh. Sometimes this constructivist bullshit of creating our own learning environments gets too exhausting. Am I actually missing having someone else write a friggin' syllabus? ACK!

Thanks again, Gibsyn.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Small Increments, Good Progress

Things with the dissertation are moving along just swimmingly. Although, I must complain for a moment.

I am a big-picture thinker. And, at the moment I am mired in data-analysis stuff that is all about the small-level details. On the one hand, this is good because frankly it's not using my brain at full speed. On the other, it's very easy for me to get distracted by, oh, just about ANYTHING ELSE I can muster because I'm just so fucking bored right now.

This shall pass.

And I think I've learned a decent way to get through it. I count everything. I count the number of codes I've smashed (my term for merging one or more open codes into one that's more usable across several participants), I count the number of minutes I've worked, I count backward the number of minutes I have to go till something fun happens, like the new episode of Lost that's on tonight. This incremental view of my time has helped a great deal with these details, and it's also helping in other things like my exercise routine (I actually tried running, instead of fast-walking, this morning...BIG mistake), certain tedious tasks at work, etc. It's helping. I start counting, and the next thing I know I'm 10% done. Then 25%. Then 50%. Then heck, I'm halfway done I may as well do the other half. It's coming together OK.

And then I try to schedule a lunch or a meeting with other fellow big-picture thinkers as a reward. I can blither on about practically nothing practical and we all get along just fine. Sort of feeds the mind and gives me energy to get back to the damn analysis at hand.

Making progress, though still a ways to go.