Keeping Track of my Dissertation Progress: DIY Calendar

TL;DR. I took a picture of my DIY calendar everyday for 52 days until my final dissertation presentation day.

It was the start of the second semester. It opened my eyes to the fact that six months just went by like the wind. I only have another six months to finish my dissertation.

So, I stopped and made a little QA with myself.

I’ve already had a to do list and a filled up calendar on my Google account, why do I need more? Usually, I didn’t write things down on a piece of paper. I type. But in this case, I craved the distinct feeling of tangible things. The process of writing was almost meditative for me, so why not do that?

What should I use? Gantt chart? Yeah, I’ve made that for the report anyway. Good, theoretically, but I didn’t like that layout. It would be too crowded diagonally but the corners will just be empty. Also, I was going to put this just beside my table on the wardrobe and the space was vertical. My Gantt chart spanned kinda horizontally.

Gantt chart submitted as part of the interim report

Then, I picked up some coloured printer paper and just start creating a calendar.

It was ugly. The lines didn’t even aligned and the spaces were in different sizes. Somehow, I was not distracted by those imperfections. Partly because I just needed something that works as a calendar with empty spaces so I could doodle on them. Also because I’m not the kind of person that’ll be too caught up on details; I like big picture things–and also because I believed this was me procrastinating instead of reading research papers. It ended up not as bad as I thought it would be. The colour on the paper helps a lot.

There are lines that are not parallel nor perpendicular to each other but just enough to make it feel DIY-y.

Four months went by. I updated my calendar every morning, hatching the squares with a highlighter. Until just two months left on my calendar, I felt that leaving my calendar at home was not enough. I needed to be able to see my calendar anywhere. So I took a picture of it every day and made it my phone wallpaper. 🙂

The countdown calendar

The last photo was taken in the final presentation day. There were empty squares just before the most hatched out squares. The empties were the weekend just before my presentation week. The girls decided to go on a trip to the Highlands. Following those were some of the most important days in my life. On second thought, the days preceding them are also to be treasured because the friendships live on.

Last day. So many amendments.

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