Why is it So Hard to Start Working on Our Own Dissertation

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Today I felt so overwhelmed. Too many tasks have to be done here and there, constantly consuming my energy to work on my dissertation. I don’t quite understand what happens.

So I asked ChatGPT exactly using this post title, and it responded with good pieces of advice. 🙂


Starting to work on a dissertation can be difficult for several reasons:

Overwhelming scope: Dissertations are typically long, complex, and require a substantial amount of research and writing. The sheer scope of the project can be overwhelming and daunting, making it difficult to know where to start.

Lack of structure: Unlike other academic assignments, a dissertation does not come with a set structure or clear instructions. This lack of structure can make it difficult to know how to approach the project and where to begin.

Perfectionism: Many people feel a lot of pressure to produce a perfect dissertation, which can be paralyzing. This pressure can cause people to procrastinate or avoid starting altogether.

Fear of failure: A dissertation is a significant academic achievement, and the fear of failure can be a strong motivator for avoiding starting the project.

Lack of motivation: Writing a dissertation can be a long and lonely process, and it can be challenging to maintain motivation over an extended period. This lack of motivation can make it difficult to start the project.

To overcome these challenges, it can be helpful to break the dissertation down into smaller, more manageable tasks, set clear goals and deadlines, and seek support from advisors, peers, or mentors. It is also essential to recognize that a dissertation does not need to be perfect, and it is normal to make mistakes and revise the work as you go.


Breaking down the dissertation into smaller, more manageable tasks and setting clear goals and deadlines can make the project feel less overwhelming and help you make progress towards completing it. Here are some tips for breaking down your dissertation:

Start with an outline: Create an outline of your dissertation that includes all of the chapters and sections that you need to write. This will help you see the big picture and identify the smaller tasks that need to be completed.

Break it down by chapter: Once you have an outline, break each chapter down into smaller sections or subtopics. For example, for a literature review chapter, you might break it down into sections on the background of the research, previous studies, and the research gap.

Set deadlines for each task: Once you have identified the smaller tasks, set deadlines for each one. This will help you stay on track and avoid procrastination.

Prioritize tasks: Identify the tasks that are most important or urgent and prioritize them accordingly. This will help you make progress on the most critical tasks first.

Celebrate progress: When you complete a task, take a moment to celebrate your progress. This will help you stay motivated and feel good about the work you are doing.

Remember, a dissertation is a long-term project, and it is normal to encounter obstacles along the way. Be patient with yourself, take breaks when you need to, and keep moving forward one small task at a time.

I hope this insight could help you understand the root cause of this problem if you are in the same situation as me. 🙂

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