Dr. Marvette Lacy Ph.D., (she/her) is the founder and CEO of Qual Scholars where she helps higher education folks finish their dissertations and start a profitable consulting business.
In this episode, Marvette goes over some tips you can use to finish your doctorate faster without suffering from burnout or stress.
Hey friend, the time has come to finish your dissertation, graduate and become doctor. Welcome to office hours with Dr. Lacy where we talk about how to finally master this time management thing so you can stay on top of it without losing your mind. Every Wednesday you can find a new episode wherever you listen to podcasts, make sure you hit the subscribe button to make sure you never miss an episode. I’m Dr. Marvette Lacy, your dissertation writing strategist here to be with you along every step of the way. I would like to thank you for coming to today’s office hours. Let’s get started on today’s episode. Hey, how’s writing going? I know you don’t like the question, but let me tell you, when you join the finish your dissertation program, you will love that question. Clients often report feeling excited and joyful to go into their process even before they even get to the dissertation process, and that’s what I’m inviting you to do. I’m inviting you to come inside the group and join us so that you can get the structure you need and the tools that will help you to show up consistent and disciplined in your process. All you need to do is come on over to Marvette lacy.com/apply and sign up for the wait list and you will be the first notified when doors are open. See you soon.
Hm. Hello everyone. Welcome back to a new week. We are in the middle of December and we are rounding off the 90 day challenge. Have you been with us the whole time? Because so many people have been able to do amazing things, including make it to the end of this year, this semester, and still show up and take a shower and eat food every day. That’s an amazing accomplishment. And I know what I’m saying at like, and kind of like jokingly, but I’m also very serious. Y’all we we’re in the middle of a whole ass pandemic. And a lot of you are at schools, programs, institutions, jobs, et cetera, with people who are acting like we are not in a pandemic and they are still expecting you to show up and produce, like we not all experiencing the same thing. So I just hope that you can take a moment Pat yourself on the back and be extremely proud of yourself for making it to this moment. No matter how the rest of this year went, you made it here, you made it here. And so it was definitely something to congratulate yourself about.
Client Spotlight: Cindy
This week’s client spotlight is Cindy, Cindy, y’all Cindy came to an August, we had our, um, our live event. Then it was called, finish your dissertation. Now it’s called write your dissertation. But Cindy came to the one in August and I think she was just getting her life. I think, I think she really was looking for like more support in the process. Now she got a home girl, she got her friends, right? So it wasn’t so much about necessarily being the only in her program or like, or not having that type of peer support. And because we’re, you know, we all have life, we all have things going on. I think Cindy realized that it was important for her to get some additional support to get to the finish line. And what’s so amazing about Cindy’s story is that she is working on, you know, collecting, analyzing data and finishing up her dissertation. And she was, she has also been very instrumental in helping and supporting her mom do the exact same thing. Like let’s just take a pause for a minute. Think about all the things you have going on in your dissertation process. And then think about adding that additional layer of helping a parent or someone else go through it.
Right. And in a lot of ways. Cool. Right. Cause you always have those memories and be there to like hype each other up and support each other when having low moments and like also going through the rollercoaster with each other, uh, just, just going through this process. Um, and so Cindy came to The live event and just was talking about that and wanting to make sure she can get done and go into the job search process, like all the things. Right. Um, but she was really nervous about the investment amount to come into the finish your dissertation program. And we talked about, Um, and it wasn’t necessarily like, What I heard, and maybe she has a different perspective. But what I heard from our one-on-one conversation is that she wanted to make sure that she was being responsible with her money and that she wasn’t just going to invest in something that she hadn’t clearly thought about. And then she wanted to make sure that it, the program provided what she needed, even beyond the community. Right. Because she got a good sense of that weekend, just how great the community is and FYD and listen, I am willing to go against anybody. You will not, you will not find another community like the one we have and finish your dissertation.
So I think she was sold on the community part, but she wants to make sure for the more technical pieces about getting the support she needed for the dissertation and finishing that and having that support, she was, she was going to be able to have. Um, and so we talked through that as well as she talked to current students in the program because I invite people yes talk to the current students, right. Talk to the people who are in it, just like you and see what they’re, what they’re able to say. Um, and she did that and she just took the leap and she signed up and she has definitely hit the ground running, working on publications, working on job applications, working on her mom, her mom just successfully defended her dissertation. And now Cindy is transitioning to finishing hers up and all around good news. And she is a joy to have in a group. Um, we love that Um, you know, at least for me, I’ll speak for me. I love when Cindy is on a call and you see her family in the background. Cause it just makes my heart sing because it’s a reminder its a visual reminder that just because you decide to go into something like a doctoral program or decide to do another goal, like life still happens.
You still have people you love and who love you and you get to still enjoy them. And like sometimes they’ll walk across the camera and say things and it’s just fun. It just reminds me of my family and it’s all good feelings. Um, but yeah, Cindy, Um, I laugh because Cindy shows up, listen, Cindy said, I put my money down. I am showing up to every single call to every single I’m going to get every single benefit that this program has to offer. And I love That. I love it even to things that wasn’t what she needed in the moment. Like, well maybe we were talking about literature reviews or whatnot, but she showed up and she engaged
And it helped even the other students in the program and be like, Oh, how am I showing up for myself? Because Cindy is on top of it. And so definitely Cindy is an example of what happens when you show up for yourself and you go all in on yourself to get what you want. And not only, Only is her mom doctor, but Cindy is about to be Dr. very shortly and she has made phenomenal progress. And it just has been an example for other students in our program, examples to her homegirls, examples to people in her program. And I just wanted to take this moment to celebrate her. So thank you Cindy, for being Awesome.
Today’s Topic: Finish Your Doctoral Program Faster
Now, today We are talking about how to finish your doctoral program Faster. And let me just say, If you joined this episode or you’re listening to this for the first time like this, this podcast, because of the title, listen, Friend, You may not like what comes out of my mouth next. Well, what I say when people are asking this question about how do I finish faster? You are usually in an energy of like, I need, I needed this degree to be done yesterday. You feel like it’s almost coming from this energy of desperation and grasping. And like, if you don’t Do it fast, then the whole rail is going to fall apart. Then you might as well not do it at all. And we do this throughout life in terms of different Goals. But I noticed That the students who are like, I need to finish fast, I need to finish fast. First of all, they’re already in an accelerated program and they’re like, I need to finish this tomorrow. And I’m always curious as to why do you need to finish so fast? Right? One of the most common reasons is Money and Usually people will just stop there. Well, I won’t have money for the next semester.
And one of my favorite questions to ask in anything and especially in coaching is okay, Is that true? Is it true that you won’t have money? You might be like, well, yeah. That’s why, I mean, I’m looking at my bank account. That’s why I said it, but slow yourself down and ask, is it true? Or are You saying that you don’t have the money because you don’t want to take the loans out Or you don’t want to work a particular job or you don’t want to ask for the money. And I’m saying that to say Like a lot of people don’t ask themselves that question, and I’m not saying that you need to go take out loans or anything like that. I’m just saying, you need to tell yourself the truth. You need to slow it down a little bit and tell yourself the truth, right? Because if it really is about money and you’re going to make the decision that, and for you, the circumstances it’s like, no legit, I don’t have any funding or there’s no way to get more funding after this year or whatever, if that’s really the case, right? Then you’re able to make decisions, decisions from that place. It becomes very clear. You’re on a clock and you have to show up accordingly. If you don’t get yourself out of this loop of grasping this and desperation, you’re just gonna keep spinning yourself in this loop. And you’re going to burn out and you’re not going to finish anything because you didn’t tell yourself the truth.
Like your brain is still trying to figure out like, do we have the money? I don’t know if we don’t have the money. We could have the money. Maybe we can have the money. I’m not really sure. But when you sit down and you slow down and ask yourself, is it true that I don’t have the money? Are there other places I could get the money? Even if I don’t like those options, do I have other options? And if it still comes down to no, I don’t have any options. Now, you know, now your brain has an answer and it doesn’t have to spin out about like, but do I have the money? I don’t know. Can I go ask someone? It doesn’t have to do that because it’s clear, you sit down, you have a, you did it on paper. You have a good, clear answer. This is our only option. We got this amount of time to finish this degree.
The other big thing that I see when it comes to people who want to finish really quickly is they’re like, well, I already wasted so much time. I already wasted so much time. My clock is coming to an end. They’re going to tell me to leave the program. I need to do this now. And usually what happens is people are like, okay, I’m going to make a plan to make sure I finish so I can, can meet the deadline before the clock runs out and you spend weeks and weeks or days, you go to you go to the staples. You go to the office Depot, you get the big post-it papers and the big wall calendars and 20-11 planners. And you sit down and you write out all these elaborate plans of I’m going to read this article at this point, I’ve got a code this interview on that day.
And you have a very detailed and it’s pretty and it’s color coded. And then you hit the like Monday comes, you hit the ground running and you’re doing all the things like, yup. I’m checking off all the things on my list. I’m going here. I’m doing that. I’m the, I’m the, and you feel real good on Monday, Tuesday come, you like, I’m a little tired, but I’m doing it. I’m doing it. And then by Wednesday, you like, you know, I did so good on Monday and Tuesday, I could just take a break today. And then Wednesday turns into a Thursday, Thursday turns into Friday, Friday turns into a month, a month, turns into like three months. Right? And it’s cause you burned yourself out. And then at the end of that three month period, you’re like, Oh, you pick your head up out the sand. And you’re like, Oh, I need to get back on it. Let me go make another plan. And the process starts all over again. And then you’re you beat yourself up even more because you’re like, I already didn’t have enough time? And then I just wasted even more time. They’re definitely going to kick me out. Now I need to finish fast. Right? So I’m not saying there are not other reasons beyond money and the clock ticking. But usually that’s what I hear from people they’re like in general, the two biggest reasons.
Dr. Lacy’s Advice:
Here’s what I’m going to suggest for you. And even if you’re someone who’s like not interested in necessarily finishing the program faster, I still feel like these things will be helpful.
Slow Down to Speed Up:
So number one, you need to slow down to speed up. When I say you need to slow down, go back to the basics, right? Look at your overall. Look at your overall timeline. Look at your overall program requirements and look at what have you accomplished so far. Like let’s just get a very, like a baseline, accurate snapshot of where are you? What have you accomplished so far? Whether that’s, what have you accomplished as far as your program requirements? What have you accomplished as far as your dissertation goes, like, where are you? What have you done? And you may think that’s a very easy question to answer, but a lot of people struggle to answer it because we’re not used to our brains are not programmed to think about the things that we have done already. Our brains are usually programmed to think about all the things we still need to do or that we didn’t do correctly. So slow down. What have you done now? Once you have a good baseline, what still needs to be completed? What do you still need to complete? As far as program requirements and dissertation goes, make a list, right? And then from that list, choose three things that you can focus on right now and get done in the next 30 days or so. And so when I was saying slow down, it’s get out of your head, take out some paper. What did I do? What do I still have to go? What are three things I can focus on right now? Slow down to speed up because your brain will try to tell you, well, if I do that, if I’m only focusing on three things, I’ll never get done. But to go back to what I was saying earlier, when you’re trying to focus on all the things you get, nothing done. Three is a whole lot better than zero. So slow down to speed up is number one.
Find You Some People:
Number two, you find you, some people, you need people. People we are not meant to do life alone and say to us a lot on the podcast, we are not meant to do life alone. You need some people. It don’t got to be a lot of people, especially my introverted friends. Listen, I feel you I’m highly introverted. You don’t need a lot of people. One or two. Sometimes it might be a pet. I talk to my dog all the time like he’s a human okay. But you Need some people who are doing this process, you need some people who are in this dissertation, struggle with you. You don’t have to be a struggle, but its just what came out, find you one or two people. And these people are who you go to to vent, who you go to for support, who you look at as possibility models. Because when your homegirl over here has defended and got IRB approval, and you’re still on chapter two, that gives you an, a real life person who has similar circumstances as you of like, if they can do it, I can do it. And when you’re watching this person day in, day out, you avoid the trap of, well, they must have something special that I don’t have, or they must have a more supportive chair that I don’t have, or they must know more.
They don’t, they just got to work. They went to what I talked about in step one. But when you can see a person day in and day out of, you know, your own eyes, like no y’all were working together, you saw what they did. You could do the same thing. Right? But a lot of times we use that against ourselves. But if you can get you a, a group of people that you, that you like, or for the most part can see what they’re doing, it could help you with your brain. Plus they can be there to support you. And support goes a long way. And I know a lot of people are like, I don’t need friends. I got friends. Yeah. But you’re trying to do something like we are in the pros of higher education. Like we are professional athletes in a sense of using that analogy of higher education. Right. LeBron, when I think about LeBron’s not going to go back to his high school in Ohio and be like, yeah, let me hang around the students. And it’s cool. Cause they’re my friends. Like he might go back to like, you know, hype them up and like give back to the school, but he’s not leaning on them for his support to figure out what to do on the Lakers and how to, how to win another championship. No, he gotta go to people who are also professional athletes or people who’ve been a professional athletes and who can talk about what it means to play at that level.
No shade to the people back in high school, but they’re not at the level of a professional athlete. So yeah, they can relate it. They’re all playing the same sport of basketball, but you don’t know what it’s like to play at a professional level after winning multiple championships and people are arguing constantly, if you’re the best player in the world, right? You need to go find other people who have been in that similar situation or who currently are in that situation to give you that type of support and possibility that you need. Right. So I hope that analogy was random and that’s, what came out, but I hope that it like helped makes my point clear.
Focus on Writing Over Content:
Um, and then number three, focus on writing over reading content or learning new content, focus on writing over content. You may be like, but I don’t know enough to write, but I’m still confused about this thing. But I had to read to know what to write. You have read enough hope that was too, not too loud in your ears, but you have read enough. You know what? You haven’t done written anything because the people I’m talking to for the most part, like I need to finish fast. There’s no words on the page. How are you going to finish something? Ain’t no words on the page. Put some words on the page. At this point, I don’t really care what the words are. Just put them on a page. People can move mountains in the editing process. But if there is nothing to edit, chile what are we going to do? What’d you going to defend? You ain’t got nothing. Write! I get it. It’s scary. There’s a lot of things going on, right? Constantly questioning if what you’re writing even makes sense. Constantly questioning, like who am I to write about this topic? When there’s the greats out there who have been writing about this for years and decades, I get it. It’s it’s nerve wracking to send your writing to anybody because of the feedback. Cause it’s going to, they’re going to confirm for you what you know, to be true all along that you are the worst writer ever that’s ever walked the earth. But none of that is true. None of it’s true. Everyone is learning how to do this whole academic writing. Some people just have more practice than others. And the more you allow yourself to practice, the more you allow yourself to be a student, which you are, the more you allow that the better writer you will become the quicker you will finish your dissertation, dissertation, the quicker you’ll be able to graduate.
Take a deep breath, put on some ratchet music or whatever music you like and just let yourself write what comes out because you constantly reading and consuming and watching webinars and YouTube videos and auditing classes and going back over notes and books, your brain can only hold so much at a time. You’re going to have to release that pressure you’re building up with all the consuming and write. And nobody has to see the first, second, third 50th draft. Now I’m not saying go into hoarding because people do need to see it. But my point is a lot of you just need to get to the point where you can just write out the words without judgment, Just write. And then Spend time editing and moving things around. But it’s okay to allow yourself to just write. Even if you think you’re not making sense, even if you’re like, I don’t know enough about this topic to write. Even if you’re like there’s other people who have said this better than I can, let me put all the quotes. It doesn’t matter. Allow yourself to write, allow yourself to be a student in this process, allow yourself to make mistakes, allow yourself to learn. Write over consuming content.
Those are the three things I have for you. In terms of finishing your program faster. Number one was slow down to speed up. Number two was find your crew of people. And number three was focused on writing over content.
Now The reflection questions I have for you as you move forward, um, after this episode and you want to continue this conversation in the qualitative dissertation made simple Facebook group. The first question is what have I accomplished so far this year? What still needs to be completed? And what are my top three priorities to finish this year strong? That will give you your starting place.
Sign Up for Write Your Dissertation Live Event:
And if you are looking to take this work deeper, then I invite you to sign up for the Write Your Dissertation live event. It is happening January 8th through the 10th. We’re going to talk about all things, academic writing, dissertation writing, and all the tips and tricks that you would need to do and resources you will need to write your dissertation as 12 months or less. You can hit the link in the show notes to sign up. We are still in early bird pricing and there’s even a little discount code for 50% off. Listen, we are trying to make this as easy as possible for you to join and get your life for 2021. And we hope to see you there. That is going to be all for me this week. Hope y’all have a great week and I will talk to you next week. Bye for now.
Join Finish Your Dissertation!:
Hey, you ready to take this work further? Then it’s time for you to join the finish your dissertation program. Finally get the tools, resources, and structure. You need to show up consistent and disciplined in your process. All you need to do is come on over to MarvetteLacy.com/apply and join the finish your dissertation wait list. I’ll see you there. Bye for now. Thanks. Thank you for joining in for today’s office hours. Make sure you come on Instagram and tag me at Marvette Lacy. Let me know what your thoughts were on today’s episode until next time. Do something to show yourself some love. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye for now.