The kick up the backside thread


======= Date Modified 05 May 2011 16:14:20 =======

None of this gentle encouragement or mutual accountability business - I need tough love. ;-)

I've been faffing around with my literature review for too long. Not helped by the fact that my supervisor is uber relaxed about when I finish it, and I'm rubbish at sticking to self imposed deadlines. At the moment my only motivation to finish it is that then I won't be doing it anymore (although we all know you're never really done with a lit review...)

So I hereby invite you to give me a kick up the backside. In a nice way :-)

(Gold stars may be awarded for helpfulness)


Ok Hazyjane, here's a ''gentle'' kick up your backside as you requested - now will you kindly vote me as a ''helpful user" for complying with your request ;-)?


Same here. What a slug. I try to finish my corrections before submission.


Both duly rewarded. But I think maybe I need something tougher. Maybe I should find me an academic boot camp or something...


Ok here's a tough one. If you can't stick to deadlines now, how will you manage to complete the rest of your thesis in a timely fashion? The literature review is in many ways the easy bit. You have a huge body of literature to grapply with, admittedly, but it is there already, and all you have to do is make sense of it. Writing up your own research effectively can be much harder.

Honestly though you need to start sticking to deadlines. Otherwise you will drift very badly later on.



Oh and I completed my literature review, as a part-time student as well, within 3 months of starting my PhD. I didn't want to waste any more time on it than necessary, and wanted to get on with the proper part of my PhD. This was also a result of my learning from bitter experience, as a previous full-timer who had to leave a PhD due to falling seriously ill. My supervisor then encouraged his students to spend a year during their reading and literature review. But it meant that when I fell seriously ill, and really needed to have made good progress to be able to continue, I had made virtually none.


Well if it helps any, my project became a lot clearer to me after I had thoroughly reviewed the literature and made enough sense of it to write a literature review! I was kind of in a muddle at the start of my PhD, but after my first literature review I started to get a better idea of what I needed to do and why, and after a further two literature reviews (yeah, a bit excessive maybe but I got carried away lol) I was also able to work out the most appropriate theoretical framework and understand more about the practical implications of my project. I think it really does help to clear your head and focus your ideas, so I would definitely try to get to the end of it, it'll benefit you in the long run. And it will be nice when you get to writing up and all you have to do is update it a bit, as opposed to starting from scratch! Hope that's enough to begin to motivate you! Good luck, KB


I give you 10 days to finish your literature review. For every day over that, i will kill a kitten.

Actually, i need similar motivation. I have to submit my Qualifying Dissertation by the end of June, this is essentially a 15-20000 word literature review with a proposal for the rest of the PhD included. I am going on holiday the last week of June so have to submit early. I haven't started writing yet. You would think this was motivation enough. But apparently not.

Perhaps you could kill kittens on my behalf as well?

(Tough enough?)


Thanks Hazyjane, appreciate regarding your literature review - the sooner you get it done with, the clearer perspective you will have regarding which direction to take/aspect(s) to focus on in your PhD. That in itself should (hopefully) serve as a strong incentive to get the literature review out of the way. Good luck with it!


Quote From hazyjane:

At the moment my only motivation to finish it is that then I won't be doing it anymore

the best motivation of all; provided you get it done to high standard you will only have to revisit with a view to possibly updating. Think of how virtuous you will feel when others are angsting over still having their to do; yours will be in the bag :-)


You want "kick up the back side" tough love. Right then.

1. You are (probably) being paid public money to do your research, so you need to get it done or you are wasting it much like the MPs everyone complains about.

2. When you get to the end of your PhD and you are saying "I need more time to write up" you will think of all the time you wasted now.

3. If you don't get it in soon you're supervisor may quickly change from a laid back easy going type to an absolute monster.

Just to reiterate, you wanted a kick up the arse so I tried to think of some nastier things to motivate you. I'm not actually a b*st*rd I promise.


How about a holiday?

Book something just expensive enough to be a royal pita if you have to cancel, just far enough away to be away from familiarity, just outside of a WIFI area and perhaps even some major fun activities that you'd really want to do.

BUT you can only go if you finish your review. Figure out how long you think your lit review shoudl take, add a week and then book this holiday. Its sort of tough love because if you don't do the work you can't go and play. I am a fan of reward based enterprise rather than @rse kicking. Oh and invite some friends too, so if you don't go you'll be letting them down too. In my case I've promised my baby girl a trip to Wales and I cannot go it I am not up to speed on my research!


I seriously need a kick up the backside too... you really should just get on with it. I am 5 months to the end of my forth year and I do think of the time I wasted earlier in the PhD. I also am rubbish with self appointed deadlines and my supervisors never imposed any on me. Maybe you could go to them and ask them to give you a deadline that you then have to work towards. The go out and have a nice treat!


Thank you to everyone who replied. Compelling reasons, all of them, though if there were a prize I think it would go to annabd.

I got it finished in the end. I made a big breakthrough when I decided to change the focus from my supervisor's suggestion (for which there wasn't enough literature to form a comprehensive narrative, to a slightly broader remit. It came a lot quicker after that.

For others who have trouble getting on with tasks, I came across this article which I found very interesting:
'The cognitive costs of doing things'

Tallies a lot with some of my experiences of procrastinating. Any thoughts?