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I seriously lost my groove this week. After plugging along rather productively at my dissertation I was side-tracked for several days last week working on my manuscript again. Now that the manuscript has been sent off to my advisor for resubmission I should be back at work on my dissertation, and double time at that to make up for the lost days. And yet… I couldn’t get myself to focus. All motivation was out the window. Until now…

Chickadee and Titmouse

It’s only taken me nearly three decades to discover what plenty of other people have apparently known all along and have termed the “10-minute Rule”. When you can’t get yourself to get started on a project, set yourself a timer for ten minutes and get to it. No distractions, no emails, no bathroom breaks, no quick google searches for something or another. For ten minutes. Even I have enough willpower and pride to stick with a task for ten minutes without interruption.

Activation Energy

Turns out that those ten minutes are all you need to get over that initial hump of inertia and suddenly by the end of ten minutes the words are flowing and hello, look who’s being productive. Commit yourself to another ten minutes and suddenly you’re twenty minutes into your project. If you want to take a break at any point, that’s fine. You just have to wait until the end of one of your ten minute segments.


I’m really digging this. I can do this! Dissertation, you’re going down!