One of the most difficult things about doing a project like an essay, a paper, thesis or dissertation,  is when you return to it after a day, a week, or maybe even a year of rest.  How do you remember where you left off?

I have tested this simple method over the last 5 years and I am thankful that I stuck to it, or I may have given up years ago.  Life interruption after interruption, and I always knew where I left off.  So I thought I’d offer it to you.  I don’t remember how I learned about the method otherwise I would give credit to the source.

THE STEPS

Step 1:  Buy a Journal for this purpose and this purpose only.

Step 2:  Everytime you work, make your journal entry before you begin and after you are finished for that period of work.

Step 3:  You should notice an increase in productivity with this method which will inspire you to stick to it!

THE PROGRESS JOURNAL (EXAMPLE FROM TODAY’S ENTRY)

Today’s Date:  11/8/10

Thought for the Day:  Rest is important, so i took the day yesterday from working and blogging, but i became restLESS today because it took so long before I could begin my work again!

Personal Goals:  Now that we’ve redone the study room, I should think about getting my paints out and making a place for them.

Professional Goals:  Begin organizng F4 data

Reflection & Review:  Ended off at line 100.  Not so bad since there are just over 400 lines.  If I look at it this way, I can break down each interview into quarters based on the number of lines.

THAT’S IT!  Of course, I have had very reflective entries and very down-to-business kind of entries.  I pump up the music while I write the date, thought, personal & professional goals and it’s like a ritual everytime before I get my work started.  At the end, I log in the Reflection & Review so I know where I left off next time.  I’ve used this to help develop my ideas for a class paper, an independent project, and especially a master’s thesis. 

I couldn’t have done it without my journal.

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