From Dr. Wendy Carter of TA-DA! Thesis and Dissertation Accomplished

A Good Thesis or Dissertation Is a Done Thesis or Dissertation

Monday, December 31, 2007

No More Excuses — TA-DA! Winter Break Challenge Jan 14-18, 2008

Happy New Year. Our theme in 2008 is "No More Excuses." Even if you did very little on your thesis or dissertation last year or never joined any of the TA-DA challenges before, it's a new year and it's a new you.

Our Winter Break Challenge starts on Monday and ends on Friday (January 14 -18).

2008We created TA-DA! for busy people; working moms, working dads, single-parents, part-time students, full-time, unorganized, frustrated, isolated, lonely graduate students. It's time to stop wallowing and start writing; if you have time for self-pity, your schedule is not tight enough. Organize your time better, schedule every 15 minutes of your day if you have to. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect it just has to be done.

Our motto is: A Good Dissertation is a Done Dissertation.

Start the New Year off right by setting deadline for when you want to complete writing your thesis or dissertation. Fill in, printout, and post in a public space the TA-DA! Online Certificate to help you remember your contract with yourself.

http://www.tadafinallyfinished.com/ready/index.html

We are building on our summer success of the "Dissertation House on Campus." Another group of doctoral students at the University of Maryland will be participating in "Dissertation House on Campus" for one week. Some will be participating on-line and others will meet daily from 9:00am-5:00 pm. Join us again, as we work on our proposals, theses, or dissertations.

Many graduate students use the TA-DA! Winter Break Challenge to take a step on getting one thing accomplished and setting a schedule to get that one thing done. They get that one thing done and then are able to enjoy their break without the sense of guilt looming in the background.

Other people set out to see how much they can accomplish in 5 days. Many of you already work with deadlines. If you're joining this challenge, your deadline is January 18, 2008.

Let's see how much can you get done in one week! Are you ready?

Steps to participate

  1. Set up your FREE Google account at http://www.gmail.com/

  2. Post the answers to these questions
  • What will you work on? What is your one thing?
  • How much time will you spend daily working on it?
  • Tell us how much progress you are making, or problems you are having.
  • At the end of everyday plan what you want to accomplish the following day

Here are some helpful tips:

Breakdown your tasks into bite-size manageable chunks and make a list and post that list in a public space.

Make a daily commitment to work on your thesis or dissertation. Set aside a reasonable amount of time each day to work on your thesis or dissertation. You can get a lot done in 15 minutes a day.

Work within your limitations . . . if you are a morning person by all means make yourself some coffee and spend 15 minutes with your dissertation before everyone else rises . . . if you are a night owl . . . turn the TV off 15 minutes earlier and write for 15 minutes.

Celebrate small victories when you accomplish your tasks for the day. Spend the rest of the day guilt-free enjoying your Winter Break knowing that you have done something (no matter how small) on your dissertation.

Whatever you do, don't spend the week constantly worrying and saying to yourself 'I really should be working'. Above all, enjoy your Winter Break.

At TA-DA! we wish you all the best in the New Year and hope that you can experience joy, laughter and peace during the Winter Break and in the coming year.

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52 Comments:

  • At Friday, January 04, 2008, Blogger Vickylandys said…

    The 15-minutes tip is working for me. I have enteded it to 30.
    Victor Massaquoi, BGSU

     
  • At Friday, January 04, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Good For you Victor...15 minutes can always turn into 30 min and then into 45 min then into 60 min.... a lot sooner than "I will spend 3 hours working on my thesis/dissertation."

    It's so difficult finding 3 hour blocks of free time...you can always find one 15 min block or in your case 2 15 min blocks of time

     
  • At Monday, January 14, 2008, Blogger Marcella said…

    Hi, Dr. Carter!

    My goal for this week is to create blog graphs for my topology results chapter. I hope to create structure and topology graphs. I don't know how ambitious that is but after today, I will re-evaluate and see what I can reasonably do. I will spend at least 2 hours today doing that.

    Marcella

     
  • At Monday, January 14, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Well today is the start of our Winter
    Break Challenge.

    No more excuses!!! Graduate in '08.

    Thanks Marcella for checking in. The
    students at the Dissertation House will login on Tuesday.

    It's never too early to get started.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger selena said…

    Hi - Selena here. I am hoping to finish my discussion section today. Well at least almost finish it today!

    Super good luck to everyone!

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Blazej said…

    Hi everybody,

    I am planning to work today on the "related work" sections of my thesis (mostly by rewriting the material I included in my proposal).

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Hello we're all here in the Dissertation Houuse waiting for you to log in.

    Welcome to the start of the Winter Break Challenge.


    Hello to Marcella from all of us.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Adrienne said…

    Good morning!
    Coming back to the Dissertation workshop for a second time around.
    I have one basic goal for the week-- complete data analysis!
    Adrienne Starks, UMBC

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger fireextinguisher said…

    hello,Dr. Carter, I am Nengan Zheng and I am planing to finish one section of the chapter III today.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Raghu said…

    Hello..
    I am Raghu
    I am planning to work on the motivation and introduction part of the dissertation work.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger danuk75 said…

    Today is for the background chapter.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger don said…

    Hello Marcella!

    This is Don Dimitroff!

    Good luck to you!

    I am here working on my proposal.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger don said…

    Marcella!

    Hello!

    This is Don.

    I am at the workshop on campus.

    I hope all is well with you!

    I hope to get my proposal together this week.

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger don said…

    Hello Marcella!

    This is my third try at writing this blog!

    I am on campus trying to write my proposal.

    I hope all is well with you

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Geriel said…

    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Geriel Ettienne-Modeste. My goals for today are to compelete my chapter 3 &4 introductions.

    -Geriel

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Marcella said…

    Hi, everyone!

    I am going to create the topological blog charts needed for my results section. I want to do a month's worth today. I plan to have 3 months of blog charts done by Friday.

    Marcella

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Today's Mini Lecture

    What can I do when I don't feel like writing?

    Things to work on when you don't feel like writing:
    Cover page
    Acknowledgement Page
    Dedication page
    Transfer deadlines to PDA or calender
    Make Tables and or Figures uniform throughout the document
    Create an Abstract
    Revisons from the committee
    Write Table of Contents
    Bibliography
    Make sure that I have written about every table/figure that is listed in the document
    List of Figures
    List of Tables
    Create an Outline
    Create Powerpoint for the Defense
    Here is my newsletter on the same issue

    http://www.tadafinallyfinished.com/newsletter/news1005b.htm

     
  • At Tuesday, January 15, 2008, Blogger Renetta Garrison Tull said…

    Hello everyone,

    Welcome to the Winter Challenge. Congratulations to all of you on your commitment to this process. Today's mini-lecture part II provided participants with the RAW DRAFTING technique. This technique was introduced to us by Dr. Ben Dean.

    In raw drafting, remember to give yourself a specific timeframe (e.g. 30 minutes) and write without stopping for the full length of that session. Best wishes as you continue on this journey.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Good Morning Everyone...

    Anyone who knows me know that I am not a morning person. Yesterday,I woke up at 5:00 am to get ready for the Dissertation House on the campus of UMBC. We're here again today; this morning I got out of bed at 6:00. I know what your thinking one more hour yeah!!!!!

    I met with 7 students one-on-one. Today I will meet with 7 more.

    This morning's lecture will deal with Overcoming Writer's Block.

    At the end of the yesterday we wrote what we will be doing tomorrow. I expect to hear what you will be doing today.

    What are your goals for today?

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Yvette said…

    Hi everyone,
    I hope everyone is well. Best wishes for day 2. I'm going to do some literature review reading today...

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Katherine said…

    Good Morning- Today I plan to crank out parts of my second chapter. I brought some key articles to review and inspire me. In the afternoon I may work on Ch. 3 and crunch some numbers.

    Katherine

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger xiaoli said…

    Hi, I am Julia again. This is my second day of Dissertation House

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Blaz said…

    Good Morning everybody on Wednesday!

    My background section looks like it is mostly finished. Today, I plan to work on one of my related-work sections, which also explains the standard methodology in my field.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Raghu said…

    Yesterday, I cd put together the Motivation part and today, I will do more background work on the subject.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger David said…

    Hello

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Dale said…

    Made some significant progress yesterday and feel more focused. From my notes at the end of the day, will work on background and significance section of proposal and incorporate this and other text already written into electronic version of dissertation guidelines.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Marcella said…

    Hi, All!

    Yesterday, I got a lot more done than I expected. I was able to extract several months of blog data into Excel spreadsheets so I can create graphs and analyze their structures. Today, I will try to complete the year (2007) of blog data I am trying to extract.

    Marcella

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Geriel said…

    Hello Dr. Carter,

    My goals for today are to complete introductions to Ch3-5 from the outlines I created yesterday.

    For 15min items, I will update my references, finish my acknowledgements and add more tables.

    Best of luck to everyone else.

    -Geriel

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger DrMike said…

    Good morning everyone,
    Today I plan to revise the methods section that I wrote yesterday. In addition, I will outline and begin writing the introdcution section to chapter 3 of the dissertation. Good writing to you all.
    Michael

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger DrMike said…

    Good morning everyone,
    Today I plan to revise the 'methods' section that I wrote yesterday. In addition, I will outline and begin writing the introduction to chapter 3 of the dissertation. Good writing to you all.
    Michael

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger xiaoli said…

    Hi, I am julia again. I couldn't see the posts for today.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger DrMike said…

    Today I accomplished everything I set out to do, which is surprising since I found myself off task numerous times throughout the day. For tomorrow, I plan to have the first draft of the introdution for chapter 3 completed for revision on Friday.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Claire said…

    Hi,

    My goal today was to finish a rough draft on the technological deterministic section of my analysis - yes, its a very rough draft, but its done.

    I was stuck for a while on the data analysis. I had so much data and I wasn't sure where to start. Dr. Carter's idea of looking at my proposed contribution and draw it out graphically was great. I could actually visualize where I was going, and I had a starting point.

     
  • At Wednesday, January 16, 2008, Blogger Marcella said…

    Hi, Don! Good to hear from you! Glad to see you are progressing on your dissertation! Let's finish this! Anyway, I extracted content from a year's worth of blog data from one forum. Tomorrow, I will tackle another one.

    Marcella

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Claire said…

    Good Morning!

    Okay, Call me whatever, but I will be working from home today... But,
    I'm ready to go. That list I made yesterday before I left has helped me get started much more quickly this morning.

    I hope to finish (in rough)the section on technology resistance theories today.

    I'll check in later to see how things are going.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Raghu said…

    Good Morning
    Been good so far..
    My today's task is fixing my experimental verification part of work.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Yvette said…

    Hi everyone,
    Hopefully the snow won't be too bad!It's good we'll be nice and warm indoors and writing... Today, more literature review for me!
    Yvette

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Blaz said…

    Good Morning,

    Yesterday, I have been able to complete most of my chapter 3 (one of "related work" chapters, which describes standard evaluation methodology in the field). I am still looking for some of the missing information. After I finish this, I plan to move to chapter 6 (another chapter dealing with related work).

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Good Morning Everyone

    Snow snow snow? here in MD? We're here in the Dissertation House.

    Claire and Marcella you all got a jump on me this morning. Glad you have gotten started. Keep going.

    We continue to work hard here in the DHouse.

    This morning we will be talking about Preparing for your defense.

    Wishing you all the best

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger David said…

    I will be working on my methods today.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger xiaoli said…

    Hi everyone,

    I am Julia to learn how to do my dessertation defence today. I wish I could finish that soon.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Adrienne said…

    Afternoon. Even though I'm home, I'm working on data analysis. Hopefully everyone is getting lots of work done. See you tomorrow.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Well done Adrienne...thanks for blogging in

    Be sure to take 1.5 hours to input a day's worth of data.

    Dr. Carlton in here in the Dissertation House talking about "Self Care."

    He wants you to know that you need to take of yourself in order for you to finish your degree and to keep yourself centered.

    When you are at your most busy moments you have to take time to refuel, so that you can get the many things done. You need to say to yourself "I need to carve out time to do the things that I need to refuel me."

    Have people that you trust monitor you. Be sure to tell them how to remind you by saying "Here is how I want you to remind me or How you let me know that I am not doing what I say I am supposed to be doing." Without telling them how you might feel that they are judging you.

    Some people even need to schedule time to take care of yourself.

    Dr. Carlton also says that you don't need to be "hearing voices" or "hallucinating" to visit the counseling center. The stress alone of finishing a dissertation or just attending graduate school is enough to walk in the door.

    R asked what if you can't sleep because you are into your research what can you do?

    If you are in bed for 1/2 hour and not asleep get up and do something. Or develop a transition process that goes from writing to sleep... like, movie, watching tv, reading a fun book, warm milk, shower, bath.

    Dr. R what about 5 deep breaths?
    A: That's like breathing exercises concentrating on the breathing itself...takes your focus off your mind to things that are less stressful to make you go to sleep.

    What is the best way of self care is very personal.

    The snow is coming down here in MD.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Geriel said…

    Hello Dr. Carter,

    I am working today from 10-5pm at the DH. I have completed my intros for Ch3-5 and working on finishing my methods today for Ch3-5.

    I also got to accomplish 3- 15mins items. Those are really effective.

    -Geriel

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Claire said…

    Hi Dr. Carter,
    I have worked most of the day, though it is not as focused as at the 'dissertation house'. I was not able to finish the section I said I would, as it was a much more difficult section than I thought.

    See you all tomorrow.

     
  • At Thursday, January 17, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Hello All

    You know I am the night owl of the bunch. Tonight is the first night that I am able to stay up after being in the DH all day.

    The snow came down so we left a 1/2early. I hope that everyone made it home ok.

    Claire we welcome you back to the DH. Hopefully the roads will be clear and safe to drive.

    Marcella one more day....

    Today in the DH we talked about
    Preparing for Your Dissertation Defense...

    For those of you on line...Here is TA-DA's newsletter on Preparing for Your Defense

    http://www.tadafinallyfinished.com/newsletter/news1105b.htm

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger Raghu said…

    Hello all
    Luckily today looks better thru the window.. I plan to spend most of the day to put together some material for my Literature Review.
    Regards
    Raghu

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger David said…

    I will be working on my methods.

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    Good Morning All

    I was running late today; I got out of bed at 6:52. The snow is still outside but the weather is bright and sunny here in MD.

    It's been hectic because being late sets the tone for the day. I have to repeat the mantra "That was then this is now" and let it go. Otherwise I will be playing catch up all day.

    Today in the dissertation house we talked about how to deal with, and manage your relationship with your advisor and how to work within your limitations.

    We also worked on giving a 2 minute elevator pitch. You need to be able to tell someone about your research in 2 min, 5 min or 10 min. You should practice giving that talk because you will be asked about your research over and over again in many different circumstances.

    Adrienne, Marcella, What's up? are you still with us?

    Work hard and reward yourself for working on your thesis or dissertation.

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger Geriel said…

    Hello Dr. Carter,

    I worked at home this morning and will join the group for the afternoon.

    I will work on completing my methods for Ch5 since Ch3&4 are done and I will start a draft for my journal paper. I plan to give you a print out of Ch 3 intro today.

    -Geriel

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger Marcella said…

    Hey, Dr. Carter!

    I am still here. Just checking in late. I had a mini-computer emergency that I was able to resolve quickly. Just a reminder to everyone, be sure to back up your files on a weekly, monthly basis because computers can fail! Yesterday, I got a lot done as far as extracting content from the blogs. Today, I plan to continue and finish all my content extractions If I don't finish today, then I'll finish tommorrow. This week has been rough but I did get a LOT done!

    M.

     
  • At Friday, January 18, 2008, Blogger Dr. Carter said…

    And to all a good night!!!! Dissertation House is over.

    We worked up until the last minute. It's always good to see students making progress.

    Have a good holiday weekend. I will be spending my weekend entertaining my family who is here visiting from Atlanta. My daughter is also here from LA.

    Remember do something everyday to move the document forward.

    A Good Dissertation is a Done Dissertation.

     

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