Top tips for finishing thesis (while working full time)


Hello all,

I am in the latter stages of my thesis (quite a bit of writing is required for the final chapters but the research is done and written up) and have recently taken on a full time job. I was surprised at how exhausted I was this weekend - which was when I had thought I would be working on my thesis (maybe I will be more recovered tomorrow, or maybe this week was draining because it was my first week and things'll improve). Basically, I wondered if anyone had any tips who had perhaps been in a similar situation before. I think I have quite a few options...

It's a research job and the hours although basically 9-5 are quite flexible (i.e., I could come in earlier or later if I wanted and no one would mind as long as I did the hours and work). So possibly I could come in earlier and so some thesis work, or come in early and leave later to do some thesis work... or maybe even work longer every day and then take a half day to work on the thesis (or recover from the working week in time for the weekend!). I am thinking that little and often could work better maybe than waiting till the weekend when I am knackered.

Any advice / idea / shared experiences welcome!



I was worki ft during my phd. Added to this, my work was in a completely different field, in anothe language and in another country!
What really helped was programm. I had everything programmed for every day. Of course, I had almost no social life during the week but I had my weekendd free. I was coming home from work at 2 p.m., had lunch and rest till 2:45 and then worked on my thesis till around 9 p.m. Sometimes, when I needed a break I was going to the gym.

If I could do it, then you can!!!!!


Hmm, thanks... so maybe I could come in earlier so that I finish earlier, can have a break and then come home and work. I have no doubt I can do it - just brainstorming some ways to make it work (after this week which turned out to be a total write off!).

Avatar for rewt

I did a year of distance learning during a placement year where I wrote my masters dissertation. It was awful getting time to write until I found a neutral space where I could blaze any music. At my work there was an old office that had been converted to storage that was empty (of people). I could go there and play my music as loud as I wanted and only thing I ever did in that room was disseration work. I would go there for an hour after work each day with a laptop that only had my disseration stuff and music, to reduce temptation. But I had a space and a time dedicated to it, which signifcantly improved my concentration

Maybe come in an hour early every day aand go to a coffee shop? If you keep to that routine you might get more consitent results.


Thanks Rewt. I don't get on well with coffee shops, but since I have my own office more or less, I could come in and do thesis work for an hour in the morning with my headphones (I do feel the need for something to kind of separate it from my other work - and that could be achieved by listening to a particular album while I work on the thesis). Thanks for the tip. I'll hopefully try something like this out this week.


I also worked full time. For me it was important to get a routine. I had a to do pad which I broke down into very small tasks per day and set a word limit. I also find trains great to edit on. Music on a head down:)


Thanks Athena30! It's coming on alright. Working during the week is a no no as my RA job is full on. So its weekends - and I am getting a lot of headaches from the workload. I don't recommend this to anyone by the way! Try to finish writing up before funding ends if you're in that privileged position to begin with. I could have easily done it but lacked motivation due to discontent with the whole PhD experience, supervision etc. It doesn't go away though so might as well get it finished asap if you ever intend to! :-/ You live, you learn!


Tudor queen it sounds like we could have had the same experience. I had an awful first year experienced a real nasty side to academia. Completely demotivated me. My funding ran out after 3 years. I got a full time post as an RA and suspended my studies for a year.

I asked my boss if I could switched to a compressed working week so I worked full time hours over 4 days giving me a day to work on thesis. They also allowed for me to work at home where possible so if I completed something quick enough I would switch to my thesis.

I then returned as a part time student as was working full time still.

I would also say look after yourself. Spend time with people who can make you laugh and have some chill time. It's slow and painful doing it this way but you get there. My viva is soon so I'm now on to a different cycle of stress.

If you ever want to vent feel free to pm me!


Doing a PhD is important for a researcher’s career. However, it may get tedious and monotonous at some point of time. To overcome this, you need to take a break from your writing and come back to it after some time. If you are working part-time besides your PhD, time management becomes a big issue. Planning effectively is one of the important points to be kept in mind, besides using project management software. There are other time management skills that will be helpful in your research. -
Besides these, there are a few tips that you can follow to earn money besides doing your PhD.


Thank you for the encouragement Athena - I only just saw your message! When is your viva? The 4 day a week thing sounds good. My work environment is pretty laid back so I actually have found myself doing something a bit like that once or twice (without asking... oops). I figure as long as I do the hours and get the job done... All the best and yes I may pm you at some stage!