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Almost by definition, your dissertation is the biggest work of research you’ve ever produced. By the time you submit it, you’ve been working on it for months, or possibly years. This means that simple tips and skills to speed up the dissertation-writing process can save you a considerable amount of time and stress.

So here are three tips to help you write your dissertation faster.

1) Let your ideas incubate: When people say to “sleep on it,” they’re talking about an incubation period. Stepping away from projects and problems in this way has been shown to increase recall and creativity – meaning that brief breaks help you see things you might not have otherwise noticed1. Between research and writing, between sections, or any time you’re facing a particularly difficult problem, step away from your research for a little while.

2) Separate work from relaxation: People write faster if they take short breaks every hour than if they sit down for a multi-hour stretch to write2. Focus exclusively on your writing while you’re working, and designate break times for e-mail, Facebook and relaxation. Similarly, having a dedicated working area for your dissertation can help you train your brain to focus on the task at hand.

3) Write for speed, not perfection: During your first draft, write as fast as you can. This is less stressful and helps you get thoughts and ideas down more effectively. After you’ve finished your first draft, put your dissertation aside for a couple days before editing it. Remember, too, that your dissertation doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a demonstration of your competence as a researcher, to allow you to produce truly great research later on. It’s a learning process and a test, but not the greatest work you will ever create. Maintain this perspective and work on creating a good final product – not a Nobel-worthy one.

If you’ve been using EndNote to collect references and want to learn how to quickly insert them into your dissertation and format them, Thomson Reuters is hosting a live online class to help you effectively use the Cite While You WriteTM feature. Check out our training page or register now for a live session below: