When I was proofreading my dissertation, I felt as if I could constantly fall asleep (every now and then, I literally feel asleep above my print). I experienced the editing and proofreading stages, especially towards the end, as incredibly tedious and boring.
No coffee (even though by that time I was more or less caffeine-free), loud music or other stimulants seemed to help me get through this terrible stage of going over the same sentences for the umptieth time.
I got distracted the entire time, fiddling around with my smartphone, staring out of the window, catching up with colleagues, taking on other tasks – you name it, anything to avoid the dreaded proofreading stage was a reason for escape.
And then I remembered how I used to study courses that had a lot of text in them. Most courses forced me to sit down and take notes, work my way through exercises and basically needed me to sit behind my desk.
But for courses with a lot of text, I used a different strategy. And I discovered that this strategy worked very well for proofreading my thesis as well, and for adding those little edits here and there in the final stages.
Here is what I did:
I walked up and down while holding the text in my hands (and reading it).
Getting some movement helped to get my concentration back together, and it distracted me from wanting to do any other activity that might distract me. While walking around, I didn’t feel like picking up my smartphone, for example. I felt more energized, focused and with adding this little bit of activity, I also felt less like a constantly-sitting-lazy-bag.
If you struggle to stay awake to study a text-heavy course, or you need to proofread your dissertation for the twentieth time, then consider taking your printed copy for a walk up and down the hallway. Your concentration might thank you!
Have you tried pacing up and down while reading/studying.proofreading/editing? How is your experience?