Tools for planning towards the defense
Previously, I’ve described which system I use to keep track of what needs to be done per week and per month.
Up to now, I haven’t gone into detail of how I try to keep the ultimate goal (The Defense) in mind. In fact, only when I was 2 years into my PhD, I realized I should start planning towards the deadline for my manuscript, and ultimately the defense itself. In fact, I had to count back from when I would like to defend, to have an idea by when I should finish my manuscript. Then, I started counting back to see which chapter when should be written.
For planning over several months, making lists in Word or any other text document doesn’t really work in my opinion.
Therefore, I looked for another tool.
One possibility is Klaar in Vier Jaar, which is tailored especially for PhD students. It’s related to a book, which I must admit, I haven’t read nor even ever looked at. What I like about this tool, is that it uses nice visuals.
However, I decided I needed another tool. I made a Google Calendar for myself which I titled “Roadmap to the PhD thesis defense”. What I precisely like about this tool, is that it is integrated with all the other Google services that I use, and I can share it with people close to me, like my fiance and my mommy. I’ve used different color codes to plan for writing the chapters, holidays, conferences and slots of time for research. I didn’t schedule in there the papers I still need to write; I hope I can squeeze that into my already busy daily schedule somewhere somehow.
Do you use a special tool to plan towards finishing up your thesis?
I think this is very important; I remember writing my thesis thinking that I am plenty of time, but the truth is that I had about 90% of the thesis by the time I had to submit it to my committee. I had planned to prepare the manuscript thinking of the defense day as the deadline, but I overlooked the fact that it was due 15 days before the d-day 🙂 I had to write all the conclusions chapter (the one that the commmittee always read) in 72 hours. That was not fun.