Shockingly, I actually have a couple posts pre-planned for next week so I thought I’d write my Goals post early this month. My goal for June was to write first, in order to make headway on my thesis and be on track to finish the first draft in mid-July. Amazingly, despite a rather rocky month, I did manage to get my draft up to 76 pages (i.e. roughly 2/3 done) by the end of this week. Immediately after writing my June goals post 4 weeks ago, I had a little bit of a stress breakdown over the weekend, which was very discouraging. I pulled it together the following week and everything was going swimmingly until I found a bug in my code on the Friday (3 weeks ago). That sent me on another tailspin and I shifted into high gear trying to re-do some of the hours of work that the bug affected, and attempting to figure out just how bad it was. I still have some make-up work to do, but right now it mostly looks salvageable, which is immensely reassuring.
Despite the stress of discovering the bug, and all the resulting extra work, I’ve actuallyfound it highly motivating. Suddenly this event, in some senses beyond my control, made finishing on time a short-term challenge. This sense of challenge has kept me far more focused in the last three weeks than in the month prior to that. I don’t know why it affected me like that, but I’m grateful that it did. If I had fallen into apathy again even for a week it would have put me in a position where I would have had to extend another term.
If I’m going to finish on time it is crucial that I maintain this focus in July. By the end of the month, or a week or two into August at the most, I need to have my thesis done and ready for submission. There is still a ton of work left, but if I can keep up the pace of the last two weeks I should be able to pull it off. My goal for July is to stay focused, and one way I’m going to try to do that is by adding a daily, 5 minute meditation session to my schedule. It seems odd to add something to my schedule when I’m trying to stay focused on one thing, but I’m hoping this simple habit will help me to be more aware of my emotions and more in control of them. My biggest focus problems are when I get caught up in self-generated stress or anxiety, so any increase in self-awareness will be very helpful.