Keeping things in order during thesis writing is relative. People who keep things in order are only too lazy to search... Only a genius can control the chaos...

You can tell yourself a lot of things about controlled chaos but organization also has advantages: a better overview, a clear conscience, less potential for distraction, fewer arguments with fellow peers and don’t forget hygiene. So, clean up once in a while, even your thesis. Here are some tips to avoid excuses.

1. Empty your email inbox three times per week

The best case scenario would be receiving emails from your supervisor saying everything is great while you’re working on your thesis... All other emails are just a distraction. Why not set up a filter that moves all other emails to the trash...

A more sensible approach, however, is to empty your inbox three times a week down to the last email, on Tuesday, Thursday and in any case on Saturday morning.

2. Sort reference files for the thesis

Many of the findings from online searches are of course positive. But if dozens of articles with cryptic file names are lying around on your computer, you can get lost in them. Articles must be assigned to chapters. Chapter folders help sort the articles. The article names should start with the author and the year. Then you can also sort the articles according to the list of references.

3. Assign article copies to chapters or trash them

You copy everything that seems useful, especially at the beginning of the thesis.  At the end you’re stuck with piles of articles, which can cause a guilty conscience if they are not processed.

Therefore, it is a good idea to clean from time to time. Tidying up means either assigning the articles to chapters or putting them aside and thus out of sight. After all, the most important filing storage is the garbage bin. Keep this wisdom for life...

4. Keep your writing files in order

Writing the thesis is a huge challenge. One is happy about every new page and does not pay attention to formalities. Each chapter gets its own file... However, it is better to write in a pre-formatted writing template from the beginning according to the formal requirements of the university. This means that the file you start with will also be the file you print.

5. Empty your desk three times a week

A good sign that you have your thesis project under control is an empty desk. Basically, the desk should be empty every evening and the books and folders should be filed properly. But it’s easier said than done. Clean up the open books and notes lying around everywhere.

If you break your project down into individual tasks following the chapters of the outline, you can clean up after each completion. This is also a way of celebrating the milestone.

6. Clean the kitchen, bathroom and rooms

It’s also a good idea to clean the kitchen and room(s) because the intensive occupation with the thesis makes you forget pretty much everything else around you. Of course, as a civilized person, you know that disorder is not productive and can also be unhygienic.

On the other hand, cleaning serves as a distraction from the thesis. The best thing is to clean the surrounding area every two days and build this task into the thesis project as a break. Then you’re also getting some physical exercise and you’re left with a feeling of satisfaction.

7. Turn in books to the library

Once a week, you need to check which books need to be turned in to the library. We recommend copying the relevant pages immediately and then returning the books. This avoids mess, the possibility of forgetting the deadline and is nice for the fellow students, who also need the books.

8. Sort notes for the thesis

Paperwork is typical for studying. Sheets are lying around. This quickly leads to chaos and muddled thoughts if you’re working on your thesis.

Sorting notes can be combined with tidying your desk. Twice a week, all your notes should be where they belong.

Good luck keeping things in order while writing a great thesis!

Silvio and the Aristolo Team

PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.