‘You have exactly one year to finish your thesis.’ This remark or any remark about time will send most PhD students into a frenzy. How come?
The main reason is uncertainty about what needs to be done to reach the end product. Often this seems an incomprehensible mountain without a clear start or finish. And the enormous amount of work that has to be done is frightening, even more, if there is no structure.
What to do?
How can you cope with this in a different way? The answer is quite simple. Chop your work up into small tasks. Tasks so small and clear that they don’t threaten you anymore. Tasks that won’t set you off in a panic. Tasks you can tick off the list once done. Tasks you know how to complete. Are you still struggling to start a task? Changes are big that it needs to be divided into smaller ones, or that you are not completely clear on how to do something. That has to be the task to put on your list to explore.
Make sure you define small, clear steps. Every single step will bring you closer to your goal. Do you remember the answer to the question of how to eat an elephant? Exactly: bite for bite. And this works the same for your thesis, step by step!