Yes, I have done it. I recently handed in my Master thesis. I actually can't believe how fast the last two years went by and I am more than excited, nervous and scared of what life has in store for me now. But this is something to be discussed in a different post. Today I want to talk about how I went about writing my thesis and almost finishing it two months before the deadline. 

I have to admit I was panicking a bit before starting my thesis, as it was such a huge project for me. Of course, I wrote my Bachelor Thesis before and I actually had a good experience with it. But I was still quite unsure on how to go about writing my final Thesis. Additionally, I had planned a month long trip to India for the end of my semester. So I had practically one month less than planned. Of course, this was all on me. But I just knew I can make it. 

So how to go about writing your thesis in the most efficient, and less stressful way?

It starts with the topic
Of course, we don't all have the luxury of freely choosing what we want our thesis to be about. But if you can, choose something that really interests you, not what might look easy. Because the easiest for you will be to write about something you are passionate or curious about. 

Make a gameplan and stick to it
This is the most vital part of making the process of writing your thesis the least stressful it can possibly be. Before you start to do anything else, get yourself a calendar and map out how long you have until you have to hand it your thesis. Then block out all the dates that you know you won't be working on it. Like birthdays, vacations, Christmas or even exams you have to prepare for. And be generous. If you think you'll work all the way through Christmas, you probably won't. And it's better to already factor those days in. Go back to this plan once you have an approximate idea what the structure of your thesis is going to be and then map out which chapter you have to have finished at which date in order to meet your deadline comfortably. 

Be generous with deadlines
Never ever try to cut your deadlines short. If you think you can finish 8 pages per week. Make it 5 on your plan. Yes, sometimes you will write 12 pages, sometimes only one. That not only depends on your own motivation and ability, this also factors in for the fact that every chapter required a different amount of research and preparation. Also, you should always consider that something unplanned might happen, like getting sick. It's always nice if you are ahead of your own deadlines, and if you are not there is no need to panic as you set them so generously. And don't forget to schedule in a few extra weeks to get your thesis proofread and printed. 

Schedule in your social life
As much as you want to finish your thesis as early as possible, please don't neglect your social life. This will make you burn out quickly and you won't work as efficient anymore. Having a few days off every now and then really helps. I used to make sure to have weekends off, and if I took a day off during the week, I would just work an extra day on the weekend. 

Start with the main part & finish with the introduction 
One thing I hear over and over again is that people already give up right at the beginning when they try and write their introduction. This way you only waste days and days without getting anywhere. The better approach is to dive right in with the main part. The introduction basically writes itself at the end, when you are already so deep in your research and accumulated all of this knowledge. So don't sweat the small stuff. 

Paint the bigger picture first
Similarly to the last tip, it's always best to just go for it and write, after a bit of preparation of course. Yes, it won't sound perfect in the beginning. But just paint the bigger picture first and then take a look at the details in the end. Don't overthink every single word and phrasing right away. Maybe the tone of your thesis will change completely over time. So it is much more efficient to think about the details when everything else is done. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help
Of course, we all want to seem extremely independent and professional, so we avoid asking for help at all cost. But you might be actually doing more harm than good to your work. If there is a point where you are actually stuck or confused, don't be afraid to reach out to your professor. That is not a sign of weakness, it actually shows that you really care about your thesis and its outcome. Of course, always try and solve your problem yourself first, but if you can't there is no shame in asking for help. 

I really hope this helped!

x Lisa