Three Lies That Are Holding You Back From Finishing Your Literature Review (Part 2)
Office Hours With Dr. Lacy
This episode is part 2 of a 3-part webinar presentation.
Transcript of Episode:
5%. I believe that me telling you how to write your literature review or knowing the difference between a conceptual and theoretical framework or trying to figure out what's the best methodology. I believe all those types of questions and things are only 5% of what you need to finish your proposal. I'm going to say that again. I believe content-based things like how to write a literature review, how to choose a methodology. What's the best topic, are these great research questions. That's just 5% of what you need to be concerned about. Now remember you said that you were going to keep an open mind.
I could tell you exactly what you needed to write. Your chair could tell you exactly what you needed to write, how to frame your questions. What's the best methodology, exactly what you need to do and what you write. I have done it for people. I can tell you and you know what? You still won't do it. I could tell you exactly what to write and you still, when you sat down to go and write it, you're going to argue. You're going to feel the need to go and research. You're going to feel the need to go back and forth about why it's not right and it's hard to make a choice and it won't matter. I can like literally your chair can sit down with you right now one-on-one until you exactly what you need to write to pass. They can guarantee if you did these things, you would pass and you still won't do it. So while this presentation is titled, How to, like do your literature review, we're not gonna to spend time on the like nuts and bolts of literature reviews because it doesn't matter.
You need it to pass into write it. But if you don't do the other 95% of stuff, it won't matter. It won't matter. If you know how to do a literature review, you'll just be like caught up in the same cycle of consuming, consuming, consuming information. You'll listen and you won't do it. It is not because you can't. It's not because you're not capable. It's because you're so busy focusing on his content and this like, what do I need to do that? You're not focusing on how to do them, like not like how to do it from like using the right words, but like who do you need to be? How do you need to think? What type of environment do you need to be in? Who do you need to have around you in order to write what you need to write. Because remember if you go back, I already said you already know everything or at the very least you know how to get to the information you need to know. You don't need me to tell you how to do a literature review because you know how to do it and the thoughts that are creeping out right now and I saying, but I don't. That's why I'm here, but I don't know. I'm still learning. That's not true. It's your doubts. It's your mindset and that's what I'm going to be talking about for the next few minutes. That is the focus, the basis of my coaching.
I am talking about all the other stuff that nobody else wants to talk about that they think doesn't matter, that they think is a waste of their time. But it's the biggest reasons why you can't, write. Biggest reasons why I failed that publishable paper defense. Biggest reasons why I was able then two and a half years later to show up in my defense ready.
The other stuff, cause nothing like as far as knowledge, yeah, I had a couple of more research classes. Sure. But if I'm being honest, I didn't really remember like I remember stuff but I didn't remember it and that was not what I leaned on and those three and a half months when I was finishing a dissertation at warped speed, that is not, I didn't go back necessarily to my classes and be like, I need to know exactly it was all the other stuff that I'm going to talk about and get it done framework. That was important.
This is why this is so important. Now listen, if this is your, like if this is your area of expertise, do not come at me. I am just explaining this next set of information and the way that works for me in best ways that works for clients in a very simplistic way. Okay. I'm sure it's more complicated. I got you, but and, let's focus on the spirit of what I'm saying. All right. Let's see. We're keeping an open mind, so your brain at its most basic forms wants you to survive above all else. It wants you to survive and it wants to make sure that you're able to survive with the least amount of effort as possible. What does the have to do with your literature review?
If your main, if the main goal is survival, right? Then the main thing that the brain is looking for is threats to that survival, like what is popping up in our environment or in our world? What are we noticing that is a potential potential threat? Potential threats are usually something that's new. It's not like regular schmegular happening every day. It's unfamiliar. We don't know, that seems real off is looking for things that are offered different and it's constantly scanning in the like in the background, even though you're not conscious of it, it's constant scanning your environment and the things that you're taking in for something that's new or unfamiliar because if it's different, new or unfamiliar, then your brain says there's a high chance that that's a threat to our survival and we're going to die. There's a higher chance because that's a threat. It's different. We are going to die and we need to figure out the best way to avoid it or to incorporate it as quickly as possible and make it normal so that it's no longer a threat. Your brain is simply just trying to save you from danger.
And any time that you come into contact with something that is a threat that's unfamiliar, doesn't feel good. Your brain is like, how do I switch to autopilot or to something that feels good? Because right now I'm feeling real scared and your brain cannot distinguish between, there's a lion, I don't know, he's a lion. You're jumping out of the bushes and about to attack you and you sitting down to write cause they both feel the same in the body, right? Cause when you sit down to write, you get, maybe you me, if you're like me, you get really anxious. You're real nervous, you get real confused. You're not sure what to write. You're not sure if it's going to come out right. The stakes are so high that if you don't do this right and you're not going to pass and you're not going to graduate and you have wasted all these years for nothing, it is very scary. Or it can be very scary to sit down and write in a blank document on your laptop, not being sure what you should say exactly. Right?
And your brain again, just wants to save you. And so what it does as you sit down to writing, you're like, but what if I said it this way, but let me go look this up. But like, like all these thoughts and you get flooded with something that you were just fine a minute ago, but now you sit down in front of his laptop and you're, and you started to get really nervous and anxious. Your brain, then says, this is a threat. We shouldn't be sitting here because when we sit down at our laptop to type, we get real nervous and that clearly means that's wrong. It clearly means we're going to die. So how do we switch to doing something else?
So then your brain begins to lie to you because it's trying to save you. It begins to tell you things or send you signals to try to get you to do something else that you enjoy more. Maybe that's social media, maybe that's TV, maybe that's eating, maybe that's sleeping. Maybe that's talking to someone. It gets you to do things so that you can stop the scary thing which is sitting in front of your laptop typing and do something that's more familiar like eating or watching TV that's more enjoyable and that feels better and we know what to expect and we don't have to think that hard when we do those things. Your brain lies to you and I'm going to talk about three major lies, especially when it comes to writing that your brain will do. Let me know if you agree with this. I want you to type yes in the comments.
Lie #1: The longer I work, the more I'll get done.
So the more, excuse me, so you know who you are. Those of you who are having these a marathon writing days, you're like, mmm, I'm going to cancel everything on my schedule. I'm going work from 12 to eight. I'm not gonna go somewhere, I'm gonna order food in so I don't have to spend time going out and I'm just going to work. I'm go to my office, I'm gonna just work. I'm gonna work and work and work at work. Because if you feel like if you can block off like eight hour days, 10 hour days, 12 hour days, and you can write more, you'll get more done because you'll be uninterrupted and you won't have to worry about anyone else or anything else and you can just write, Right?
That's a lie because if you've done it then you definitely know it doesn't work out that way. If you've blocked off, like blocked off those that time and you actually manage to show up to your office to ride for the eight hours, or you showed up to the writing group to work this 12 hours, then you know you didn't spend eight hours or 10 hours or 12 hours writing. Two hours was spent on getting set up. So making sure you had the right snack, talking to your friends another two hours. It was like rereading what you wrote the last time, maybe another two hours. It was that, oh, you forgot something at home that you need to go make a run or you needed a new notebook so you went to the store or you had a craving for something else. And then you go get a drink from like Chipotle or something and maybe you spent a good hour, two hours writing. Like if you're going to be honest about the time you spent, maybe it was two hours out of that 10 hour day or are you sat there and you just stared cause you didn't even know like okay I have everything but I don't know what to write. But so instead of trying to do these series of marathon days instead, think about your writing goals. Now most people will just say, well I'm trying to have chapter two by then and I'm a write chapter three in a week. It needs to be more simple than that.
Okay. If it needs to be more simple than that, how do you simplify our writing those so that it's more about what you could do realistically in a day instead of trying to figure out how can write a whole chapter, how can you write one section of chapter two, how can you write one to three pages in a week or a writing session? Cause I know some of you just then are like, a week?! One to three pages will never get done. That shows then we need some more work. But like how do you simplify your writing goals to think about, okay, how long is it gonna take me to write chapter two, how can I break that up? How can I make sure if I'm hitting these three main points, how long is it going to take me to hit each point and that trying to do everything in one session because you may say to yourself, I'm just saving myself time or I'm being efficient if I do more on the front end as last I had to do on the backend to editing and that's a whole other thing. Well, what also happens when you do these marathon, marathon days, then you'd have no time for yourself.
How can you set up your schedule where you can consistently make progress on your writing?
....and have time to spend with family, with loved ones going to work out watching TV and doing those things without feeling guilty? Cause I'm sure a lot of you do those things. You do go out. Especially now it's summer. At the time I'm recording this, people will go out, but you'll feel guilty. You'll feel like, oh I'm supposed to be reading something. Oh I should be writing. Oh I can. And then you really don't enjoy yourself. So you don't enjoy yourself when you're out doing what's supposed to be fun. Cause you feel like you're supposed to be writing. And then when you are writing you're feeling like, oh this sucks. I'm sitting here for 10 hours and I could be with my friends. And you're never present in the moment.
So how do you set up your life where you simplify your writing goals and you take time for yourself? Because when you're able to balance those two things, that's when you get more progress. But you're able to have simple achievable goals where your brain isn't like, we're gonna die, we're gonna die. You can then get more done cause you're spending less brain power and energy trying to fight off up quote unquote potential threat. That's not a threat. As you said, you've got at your laptop writing. When things are very small and manageable, your brain is in freaking out. So then it allows you to use that energy that you would have used on being stressed and anxious on writing so then because you're using less time to be freaked out or procrastinating. You're using more attack, like less to right. Then you have more time for yourself. You have more time to be with people that you love to be with. You have more time to do other things that you may need to do that you've been putting off, and when you have that imbalance, then you're able to accomplish so much more. Less is more. It's cliche, and it is true.
So based on that baseline, the system, your schedule, how much you write, how much of a balance that you've had between getting writing done and helping yourself. I want you to rate yourself on a scale of one to five, one being, oh, I need a lot of work who are working on my schedule and balancing my life out. And Five being like, I'm good. I got a good balance. I see who I need to see. I don't feel guilty when I go out. When it's time to write, I show up and write. I don't spend hours writing. I'm on a consistent routine and schedule. I'm good. On a scale of one to five, how would you rate yourself? I want you to write that down because it's important because we're gonna come back to these numbers. I want you to write it down. How well would you rate your system? Remember one being needed, a lot of work, five being and I'm good.Okay. You have that down.
Lie #2: If I had just had a writing plan, I could finish my proposal.
It's like all I need is somebody to help me organize like five time and help me like plan out. That's to simplifying the goals and the chapters. I be good. If they could just give it to me, I'll be good. No, no, no. Remember going back to the beginning of what I say, like I help people and I tell them this way, you need to write is how you can say it. Choose this. The same concept applies. It doesn't matter if someone, I can give you a plan right now. I'll tell you what to write. I could tell you what to do. I could tell you how you should structure your time. It won't matter. It won't. Um, because you'll feel good. You'll like go out and buy a planner. You'll put all your little like, like you little writing sessions in there and you're like, I'm good to go. And then you'll show up for the writing session and you still won't feel motivated. You're like, I just need something to get me going. What can I do? And maybe you're like being go find a video. I'm an inspirational video, a good motivational video. Find something to get me together. I'm going to get my favorite snack. And you're trying to do all this things to build up your motivation. Okay? But you have to keep doing something outside of you to get that motivation.
Instead, you need momentum, right? Because the brain comes back, the brain is like, oh my God, I can't do this. I don't, I don't feel like it. I'm tired, man. I'll just put it off until tomorrow. Oh, we'll start that on Monday. Oh, I have enough writing sessions throughout the week. I don't need to do it today. Oh, well this show came up and I forgot I was supposed to watch the show or something. So I want to go get something to eat and I haven't seen them in a long time. These things are going to start to come up and then next thing you gotta know, like, I mean, yeah, you plan a date and you have a good plan, but you didn't follow it. Instead, you need momentum. Remember, I'm about small steps every day. How can you make the habit of writing, writing your literature, review your proposal so small, so ingrained in your day that it becomes routine? Because success is in your routine.
If you could show up and do that small step and your brain doesn't even have to think about it, it's on autopilot. You're good. Think about it like you eat every day. You brush your teeth every day, right? You get dressed every day? It's these small steps. Like most of these things you do on autopilot, your brain doesn't even have to think about it. Like you go into the bathroom, you instinctively like grab for the toothbrush and toothpaste and you just do it and then you go about your business. The way that you start to write your dissertation proposal needs to be the same way. That's what I talk about. Having small steps in a writing system. That's how they needs to feel that you show up every day and you do these small steps and you do it over and over and it becomes second nature with all the, without all the stress and the headache. That's the second thing.
So I want you to rate yourself again, one being it needs a lot of work. Five being I'm good. Rate yourself on the following statement. I feel good about writing and consistently making progress on my draft. How good do you feel about your writing progress? How good do you feel about your ability to do that in a very small but building momentum way that you can sit down at your laptop right now, open up and you have a system that was take you from opening up your laptop to writing in five minutes. That in 30 minutes from now you can have a page or two of content written for your proposal. How confident are you in your ability to do that right now in this moment? If I asked you to do that on a scale of one to five, that's what I'm asking you to rate yourself on. Write that number down and let me know.
Lie #3: I can get more done when I work by myself.
Now how many of you said that I can get more done when I work by myself, I don't like working with a lot of people. They just going to distract me ain't nobody on my level. Right? And you go and you seclude yourself by yourself. You go to your favorite writing spot or whatever and you still don't get anything done. Now we all have friends where we go and then we right away and we do more talking than we do writing. Sure. Is that what's happening with you? Are you a part of writing groups but y'all spend more time socializing than writing? When you get around a good, like a, like a group of people who are serious, like who are actually about accountability and writing that people who socialize on you get around a good group of people, you will stop, have a, what I call Shiny Object Syndrome. You will stop jumping from topic to topic. You will stop, oh this methodology look good or this method looks good. Oh I can do an interview few. Oh what have I do? Action Research. You will stop that because you'll be in the company of people who are serious. That they know, like we're making a decision, we're committing to it. We're showing up every day. We'll put it in or work, so cause we're graduating. You will also get people who will give you cost of feedback. You can bounce ideas off of each other. They're going to build you up when you need it. They will getting your butt when you need it. Good. Now, for y'all who don't know that term, that just means they gonna call you out when you need it. With love though.
That's what I'm talking about in terms of being around good people because if we are, maybe we heard like we're the sum of the five people we hang out with the most. Who are you hanging out with the most? Whether that's online or in person? Who are you listening to the most? How much are they helping you become better writer? A better student? A better scholar? Do you want the results that they have in their life? Do you want to be how they are? Do you want to show up as them? Because that's what's happening when you spend all your time with them and who in your circle do you want to be more like, do you wish you had the discipline they had, the productivity that they had? How much time are you spending with them?
Okay, So this last thing I want you to rate yourself on your community. My community helps me be a stronger scholar by supporting and keeping me accountable. On a scale of one to five, how true is that statement for you? Remember being it needs a lot of work and five being I'm good. How would you rate your community, your scholar community?
Okay. Now look at your numbers. Remember I asked you to look at your systems like your schedule, your goals, how much you're writing, as to look at your ability to crank out pages. Like can you sit down at your laptop right now and write something out? How good you feel about your ability in your system for doing that. And then this third thing I asked you to rate your community. How would you rate them? Their ability to support you, keep you accountable and make you better. How are those numbers looking?
How are you feeling about your numbers? Are you like Spongebob over here? And for those of you who cannot see it, it's the gif of Spongebob trying to do all the things. He's cleaning, he's ironing. He's cooking, he's vacuuming. Do you feel like you have all these projects going on and you're just all over the place or are you like Blue over here, chill and she's at the pool is a picture of her on a yacht and pool. Had a little mocktail purse, and glasses living her life. Which one are you? Which one do you want to be? Who Do you want to be? When you're thinking about your dissertation, if you're like Sponge Bob or somewhere in between, then you know that your current strategy is not doing anything for you, but keeping you stuck, confused and overwhelmed. There's something about, like even if you don't completely feel like spongebob or you didn't completely have all ones, but you know there is a voice inside of you there like something's not right.I need to do something better.
If you're still watching this video series and you know like something is not quite right. And that's what I'm going to be talking about for the rest. I'm going to talk to you about my "Get it Done" framework...