Sometimes, we have deadlines to meet—defense dates, submission deadlines, departmental review dates. At those times, we simply have to force ourselves to sit down and write. There are other times in the writing process, however, when we have the time and space to give ourselves a break. Refueling is all about waking our brains up again, and simply walking away from our computers may not be enough. In those moments, try one of the follow suggestions:
- Do something fresh and exciting. Try a new restaurant or take the afternoon to go to a baseball game. Head to the zoo or the park. Take a drive down a road you’ve never traveled on before. Anything that is new and exciting will take your mind off the stress of having a dissertation to finish or an article to write.
- Be active. You don’t have to take up marathon running, a nice long walk will do. Or, go to the gym. Ride your bike. Physical exhaustion can force your brain to switch off, so when you clock back in, you’re refreshed and ready to refocus.
- Try something artistic. You don’t have to produce a masterpiece, but dig out a pencil and a piece of paper or buy some crayons and coloring book. Spend an afternoon cooking something special. Anything that gets your brain to think in different ways can help.
Every dissertator will need different things to recharge, but it’s important to give ourselves permission to refuel so we can sit down to work more productively tomorrow.