Blog Column: 

I’m 75% finished with my rough draft – at least, I think I am? It’s hard to tell when you’re in the thick of it. It feels like I’m so close to reaching this goal and I want to power through. And yes, that’s a really good feeling to have at this stage – but it’s also stressful to be spending 4+ hours a day writing in addition to my class and work schedule.

 

Case in point: I was sitting in the library the other day during my scheduled thesis time, and something was off. I felt exhausted, I couldn’t focus, and I was staring blankly at the word count on Scrivener. This was coming off a weekend of drafting 15 pages, so I had felt really proud of myself. But after an hour of me struggling to stay focused, I decided it was time to take a break for the evening and find something not work-related to do.  

 

Here are some relaxing alternatives when I need time to recharge: 

  • I set aside time each week to attend a meditation session. They currently have four sessions in the Campus Center and the Rec Center. Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I find it’s great for me to dedicate a specific time to reflect on myself and my day. The 5:30 p.m. sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday are perfect – I stop working at 5, take some time to sit and ponder, and segue right into dinner time at Blue Wall.
  • After reaching my word count goal a bit later in the evening, I went back to my room and went into a whirlwind of organization. I’m always running out of my room in the morning, so it’s a bit messier than desired. Organizing my binders and papers, cleaning through my closet, and washing dishes was still being productive (so not a total break) but it felt good to do something on auto-pilot without feeling like I wasted an evening.  
  • In between thesis time and my class, I opened up Amazon Video and rewarded myself with an episode of Mozart in the Jungle. Staring at something other than a big block of text was a nice change of pace, and the 25-minutes it took to watch the episode gave me a designated amount of time so that I didn't spend too much time away from my writing. Of course, watching anything would work. (Note: watching the news, especially election coverage, is not relaxing.)

Don't get me wrong - I love my thesis and my work. But it's important to not it let it consume all my time or energy - and taking the time for myself to do other things that I enjoy makes it a lot easeir to stay focused the rest of the time. 

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