"I have been researching and scanning sources for the master's thesis for three weeks now. And I still haven't written a page..." The student thinks as she looks at the book in front of her. She can't even remember why she opened it...
This is a typical beginning to the bachelor's or master's thesis. A lot of work, but little to show. The end is typical too! As the deadline approaches, your thesis is being written in rush, using all available sources, hoping that your work will be enough. When you’re frantically trying to put words on the page to just turn something in, the final outcome will not be a great event of your studies. It will spoil the memories of your career as a student.
Plan your bachelor's or master's thesis from the very beginning. That way it will progress quickly, be more fun, and you will receive a better grade. Here are 13 tips.
1. Plan your Bachelor's or Master's Thesis by following a master plan, like a project, with milestones and sprints.
Your bachelor's or master's thesis is a real project with intermediate goals and tasks. Just stick to a proven plan. We have a master plan with concrete milestones and sprints. Take them on, run the sprints, and your text immediately takes shape. You won't have to chew on that pen because you'll always know what's next.
2. Plan to work in shifts of 1.5 to 2 hours each.
Have you ever planned to work for an entire day non-stop at the library, focused and motivated? It works in rare cases because our brain needs a break now and then. Step out for a breath of fresh air and a short walk. Your body needs a bit of exercise.
Instead of working straight for eight hours, you should work in shifts of about two hours. You deserve a break after that. Then comes the next shift. This way your work remains manageable and every two hours you can celebrate and feel a sense of achievement. In addition, one or two tasks can be combined. Always work in sprints, and you’ll get ahead.
3. Plan breaks at fixed times.
Breaks are important. When you’re in the middle of something, you can completely forget about them so set the timer on your smartphone or work towards a fixed time, until 10:00 or 11:30. Breaks should be between 5 and 15 minutes long. Try our Power-Sleeping-Power-Working technique: 2 hours of concentrated work followed by a 15-minute break. Afterwards we'll start all over again!
4. Plan sprints of two to five days to complete the chapters for your Bachelor's or Master's Thesis
Every student feels a sense of achievement when they finish a chapter or subchapter. That brings motivation. Therefore, plan fixed deadlines, depending on the sprint. Such goals make the work more manageable, so it won’t seem like such a big mountain anymore. When you're done, check it off the list.
5. Use tools and checklists for your Bachelor's or Master Thesis.
Use our thesis timetable, so you already have the most important goals and deadlines planned for your work. Further, tools or aids for planning include:
- Timer on your smartphone that reminds you of breaks
- Thesis-weekly planner in Excel, in which you can enter your working hours (available in the Thesis-Guide)
- A consistent and meaningful outline that shows your progress, which again brings a feeling of success…
- Fixed appointments in the evening, which you look forward to and motivate you
- Fixed dates on the weekend, which reward and encourage you
6. Vary your days with different activities.
You can choose between many activities when writing your Bachelor's or Master's Thesis:
- Search for sources or data
- Obtain sources or data
- Read articles
- Evaluate sources
- Communicate with supervisors
- Learn turbo writing technique (to write five pages a day)
- Write a chapter (your best reward!)
- Tidying up (clean your working area once a week... this provides resilience)
- No-brainer like making illustrations, creating attachments etc.
7. Follow the guide by Aristolo for the Bachelor's Thesis or Master's Thesis, so you can check off tasks.
If only there was a guide with detailed instructions on how to finish your work faster... Now there is ;) You don't have to start from scratch - we have a manual for you, the Thesis Guide
8. Establish routines when working on your Bachelor's or Master's Thesis.
We humans are creatures of habit. Routines make life easier, including writing the bachelor's or master's thesis. Here are a few examples of routines:
- "Every day from 8:00 to 12:30, I will write..."
- I will stop at 6:00 p.m.
- Working out is part of the lunch break
- Once a week I can meet with my supervisor or friends
And these are just a few examples…
9. Reward yourself for achieving your goals
Think of something nice to reward yourself with after each stage. There are no limits to your creativity. That shouldn't be hard since you know yourself the best. The chocolate tastes so much richer and the movie is so much funnier when you know that you have written three pages today – I promise!
10. Finish it now, no matter how long the night shift is going to last...
Of course, we are not recommending you to plow through to complete exhaustion. At this point it is important to listen to yourself: What does the body say? Do I still have energy? Am I in control?
But sometimes an intensive night shift can also give you new energy - not just because you will have completed an incredible amount of work in one day. Maybe try it once then decide if it works for you or not. After that you can adjust your planning or technique. Use our turbo writing technique for your thesis.
11. Create urgency right from the start
The pressure at the end comes from the proximity of the due date. But you can also increase the pressure on yourself and plan better. That is called time sovereignty. This can be remedied by working on another project that must be finished urgently. Or going on a weekend trip that you have already booked or something else....
Play a trick on yourself, so to speak, that will make you finish your work before the deadline.
12. Leave yourself one “free” day per week for rest and relaxation
You might feel guilty, but you must allow yourself some rest, otherwise your body will go on strike. However, in order to keep your guilty conscience within limits, you should ask yourself the following three questions before your day off:
1) Do I have a good plan? With regard to content? With milestones?
2.) Am I using the right techniques for researching, reading, evaluating, analyzing and writing? (see our method check) and
3.) Are my goals realistic?
If you can answer all three questions with a yes, you are entitled to one day of freedom which you can now enjoy to the fullest! Afterwards you’ll have the energy to continue working.
13. Try it out
You can only adopt a set schedule, goal and phase, no matter how small, as effective and successful once you have tried it. So take a chance and just get started. One week later you can check to see if it went the way you planned.
Good luck writing your text!
Silvio and the Team Aristolo
PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.