The One Thing That Will Doom Your Dissertation and What To Do About It

Today’s post is the single most helpful piece of advice I have received since I wrote page one of my dissertation.  The only person who could ultimately give it to me was me.  I offer it to you as a reflection and to share about what is possible.  It sounds dramatic, but so are the results. 

Get off Facebook.  

Do not return until you have your degree.  If you are on Facebook, your productivity and your writing skills are suffering.  I checked it out about the productivity.  Forbes reported that Facebook sucked $1.4 trillion (with a T) out of the US GDP in 2012.  We could have skipped the bailout!


In terms of time, the article notes that building an atomic bomb post WWII, the famed and gigantic Manhattan Project, took 150 million workdays… which is 0.5% of the time that Americans spend on Facebook in one year.

TechJournal reported a survey that 87% of people admitted they have no work related reason to use Facebook.   We can do the math of how many hours it trickles down into each organization and affected the number of jobs that were squandered, but all this data really supported what I cared about:


Three months ago, I was struggling with an APA formatting issue.  Naturally, I went on Facebook after trying for five minutes to solve my problem.  Twenty minutes later, I returned to my dissertation.  The five minutes felt like twenty, and vice versa.  But the clock doesn’t lie. 

I believe, but do not know, that reading the wrong use of “they’re, their, and there” repeatedly on Facebook instead of peer-reviewed journals may have a trickle down affect/effect in one’s writing.  

I called my husband in and told him to change my password to something I couldn’t guess and add himself as a user to my account.  If I go back to Facebook with a new password, he will know via a Facebook generated email, and I have too much pride for that.

So if you are serious about changing your productivity habits and leaving Facebook, there you have a serious strategy.  Get some accountability.  Post your email address and let people know to call or text you.  I figured if someone doesn’t already have my number, it’s not important or they can email me and ask for it. 

Since then, I have written 56 pages and made progress every week.  My chair has given me the best feedback I’ve received, and a serious bonus is I don’t have to look at other people’s vacation meals.   Let me know if you make the break!     




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2 Responses to The One Thing That Will Doom Your Dissertation and What To Do About It

  1. Colleen Sosnicki says:

    I have stayed away from social media, however I am in LinkedIn…it is where professionals should be and not wasting time on Facebook…can we really have 1000 friends? And why give a minute by minute account of your activities?
    We should be doing well and working on our writing..that is why we are here, isn’t it?

  2. Jill Craddock says:

    Hi, Colleen. I completely agree about LinkedIn. The groups for Doctoral students and Academic Coaching have been helpful for me. Thanks!

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