5 Good Deadline-Meeting Habits 五個養成準時交稿的好習慣之三

Authors of academic papers have other things to do. In the general busyness of academia, the deadline for a paper to be handed in or published can get overlooked. The subsequent scramble to complete the paper on time can be painful. Painless deadline-meeting can be learned like any other habit. This series will describe some habits that not only make deadlines less threatening but can improve the quality of the papers themselves. Each of the habits will be presented on the TPS Fan page before being compiled.

Good Habit # 3 – Expect Obstacles

Good academic writers are good project managers. They must be to balance their other work with the urgent work of planning, researching, writing, and finishing an academic paper. Like all good managers, they are able to multi-task, to do the daily tasks of researching and writing at the same time they methodically complete the overview tasks, such as organizing material and keeping track of where they are in a project. Keeping these juggled balls in the air is a developed skill: the habit of looking ahead to anticipate and avoid potential obstacles to completing a paper on time.

Anyone who has ridden a bicycle or motorcycle knows the importance of a rider keeping his eyes down the road to more easily maintain balance and smoothly adjust the path of the two-wheeler to the obstacles ahead. The same is true of writers in lengthy research-and-writing projects. You must keep “pedaling” (or in the case of motorcycles, keep a hand on the throttle) while you scan ahead for obstacles. What sort of obstacles? A suspect source that proves unfruitful. A holiday schedule that blocks access to research materials. A personal agenda item that disrupts the work.

Then there are the inexplicable obstacles that can’t be anticipated—a funeral in the family or an apartment fire that engulfs research notes. Those major disruptions generally result in deadline extensions. It is the foreseeable obstacles that professors hear about most often… and discount. They tend not to sympathize with writers who simply have not built flexibility into their thinking and their schedules. Here is the truth: There will be problems in the course of an academic writing project, there will be obstacles, and the writer who plans ahead for them can still arrive on time.


Posted at 2013-05-14 10:58:52

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