Writing your master's thesis at home - motivation tips
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Imagine the following scenario – you are done with all of your exams and can already imagine holding a diploma in your hands. There is only one small task to be completed – the thesis. While writing it is usually not a piece of cake for anyone, writing it while maintaining the quarantine lifestyle can be a little bit more stressful. But do not worry - we are coming to your rescue. Follow these simple tips and doing your big project can become almost fun!
1. Don’t be scared to start
Usually the hardest thing is to start, especially if you are dreading the amount of work awaiting. Remember to divide your work into smaller tasks and complete them one step at a time.
2. Find an interesting topic
If you are one of the lucky once who immediately know the topic for your research, congratulations (!!), you can skip this step. If not - Spending six months having to only do the research on the topic for which you do not have any interest can be exhausting. Think of the courses and topics you were enthusiastic about. Read scientific papers on anything and everything that interests you related to your studies and go from there. Valuable resources are https://papers.ssrn.com and a whole bunch of financial and other journals you have access to through your University login. Ultimately, some departments offer a list of Professors and the topic suggestions (for the Banking and Finance students find the list here)
3. Find a supervisor
Once you found your topic (or you are on the verge of finding one) contact the professors who you think would be suitable and interested to supervise you. Do not be afraid to schedule a meeting and ask them for the feedback for the topic you though of. Maybe they can provide you with further materials and guidelines and nudge you towards the right direction.
4. Create a realistic timeline
On a University website there is a template with a thesis proposal where you will find a timeline which you can follow to complete your tasks on time. You will probably have the urge to copy and paste it to your proposal as it truly does seem realistic. However, if you already know that it will take you longer to get to know the programming language and feel comfortable using it or to gather the relevant literature work around the template timeline and fit it around your needs. Be realistic and you lower your chances to panic if you are behind your schedule.
5. Be consistent – work every day and stick to the schedule
You are the one who best knows which time of the day you are the most productive, whether you are an early riser or a night owl. Create a routine and stick to it every day. Some days you might feel like you have not achieved a lot but cumulative work pays off. Every day you are closer to achieving your goal.
6. Create a working atmosphere at home and cut down on the distractions
Create a working space with as little distractions as possible. Consider turning off notifications on your phone for social media and dedicate time slots for efficient work.
7. Take breaks
It is important to take time to relax, take a walk, stretch your legs or do sports. Plan your breaks carefully and find activities you enjoy which will take your mind off of work. Sometimes best ideas and solutions come to our minds when we are not at all thinking about work.
8. Change the place of work
If you notice that you are not as productive at home as you are in a library, check out which libraries are open, schedule a seat at University and decide where you are the most productive. If you don’t feel safe going outside every day, set a day in week when you know you will be working outside your home.
9. Work with friends
If your friends are writing their theses too, try to meet up, work together and encourage each other. If not, schedule a virtual lunch or coffee where you can enjoy time with friends and relax.
10. Create a solid proposal
Before you schedule a starting date for your thesis, create a solid proposal with as much details as possible for literature review and methodology. If you have a clear picture what you have to do, the work will flow easier after the 6 months countdown starts.
11. Read, read, read
Gather ideas from other scientific papers. If you do not have a clear idea how to conduct the research on the topic you have chosen, you can probably find inspiration in the papers written about similar topics.
12. Consult your supervisor and ask him for the feedback
If you get stuck, do not be afraid to contact your supervisor for assistance. If you feel like you are doing great work, it is good to ask for a feedback every once in a while.
13. Don’t stress
If you start to feel stressed and like you do not have enough time, just think that almost everybody feels that way. It is completely normal; all you have to do is learn and progress every day and everything will fall in the right place in the end.
14. Do sports or take a long walk in nature
Never underestimate the power of sports and long walks. Whether it’s an early morning yoga, evening meditation class or really intense cardio, it will immediately work as a stress relief.
15. Motivate yourself
Increase your self-motivations by watching the videos of people who inspire you and you look up to or watch something funny to lift your spirits - find some great material on our website!
16. Figure out what you look forward to after finishing the thesis
Whatever it is you look forward to, plan it to the last detail and think of it when you can't find enough motivation to work.
17. Drink plenty of water!
As in every good advice blog, the most important thing is to hydrate yourself and drink 8 glasses of water daily! :)