1) Save your hands. I can not tell you how many students and peers have developed RIS (repetitive injury syndrome)/ Carpel Tunnel Syndrome from typing. Use voice activated software whenever possible. On a Mac you just press the little "fn" key twice in the left corner. I highly recommend using an ergonomic split key keyboard. Start now BEFORE you develop problems. I recommend this one which has a USB port hidden inside the mouse (and a mouse).
2) You have enough reading to do but this book is a really useful and supportive tool: Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis by Joan Bolker
3) Background noise and music. Experiment with what works for you but these are two free programs that can be useful: Coffitivity simulates the sound of coffee shops. Focus@will has different music programs, including classical. Pandora Radio also has classical music stations and stations for studying.
4) Useful software: Literature and Latte has several useful features, one is called Scapple where you can make a construct map. Workflowy is also useful for making lists and organizing ideas under headings. You can use Dropbox to back up your writing. Make sure you always back everything up, even if you simply email your document to yourself.
5) Keep a journal or a blog: outside of your writing, keep a personal journal to keep track of your thoughts, grapple with your ideas, record your hopes and goals and vent your frustrations. This writing will inform your academic writing.
You may contact us if you are interested in dissertation coaching and check back here for more tips.
By Dana Blu Cohen PsyD