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Taking stock as a motivational strategy: Sum up what you’ve accomplished, not what you haven’t done

My students often come to me frustrated to my office and tell me “Professor Pacheco-Vega, I am making such slow progress with my dissertation/thesis/paper. I feel like I need to read faster, or read more”. I know this feeling. I often feel like I haven’t done enough. What I always tell them is what I try to live by as well: “take stock of what you’ve read, learned, digested, comprehended, understood. THAT should be your measuring yardstick”. And for me, visually taking stock (seeing in print, in handwriting, electronically) of all I have done is quite important.

Taking stock

One article read and highlighted produced 3 pages of quotations in Cornell Notes, plus one row in a Conceptual Synthesis Excel Dump.

Note-taking techniques

I think the biggest challenge is to not let the mountain of work looming in the horizon beat you down. Little by little, you can get things done. I survived 2018, I should know.

For me, taking stock is a key strategy to keep myself motivated. Yes, I have four bazillion things to do, but this year I accomplished a lot and that is what I am reminding myself, over and over.

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