Having trouble knowing where to start? Or just having trouble getting things done, even though you have to do lists and whatnots?

Your problem might be prioritization.

The ability to prioritize tasks is crucial for time-management. As a doctoral student, you are probably constantly bombarded by requests and assignments. On top of that you have a dissertation to write.

It can sometimes be difficult to figure out what’s important and what’s not. The main thing is, though, that everything can’t be equally important – you’ll have to learn how to distinguish what matters right now and what doesn’t.

The first step is to figure out what your tasks are. You could write them down for the sake of clarity. Once you’ve written them down, you can start to think about their importance. Not all tasks are equal and not all tasks have to be perfectly executed.

The most important tasks are the ones that help you succeed.

Think about your goals – what is the most important goal to reach right now and what can wait? What do you need to do well and what can you do with less effort? If you had to choose only five things to focus on, what would they be?

Use these questions and the ABC method or the Urgency vs. Importance method to prioritize your tasks. Once you’ve done this, the only thing left is to get to work. If you’re still having trouble getting started, the problem might lie in your motivation. Take some time to think about what might be standing in your way and how you could encourage yourself to get started.

Prioritize yourself, work will follow.