I need my generals draft to my committee by the 22nd. That is 11 days from this Monday. So I really need to be focusing on the draft.

Where am I at now? I have yet to land on an exact thesis statement draft, but I’m close. Glenside paper is copied in, but not yet merged in any significant way. I’ve skimmed 15 or so related work papers and taken notes, but haven’t written significant paragraphs. The section on Lakeroad is not at all drafted.

If I’m going to have a draft by the 22nd, then by the end of this

What do I want done by the end of this week?


  • Finish thesis statement
  • Integrate Glenside


  • Skim 10 of the most important papers in the remaining list, write a sentence for each


  • Skim another 10
  • Work on Lakeroad section draft


  • Skim another 10


  • Draft intro
  • Go back over most important papers

Meanwhile I also have ADA slides to be working on plus Lakeroad, plus the 3LA resubmission, Plus slides for CRISP. Those can all go on the backburner for now, though.

Quotes often don’t do it for me; I don’t think I trust something until I experience it myself. What I have experienced myself recently, though, is that plans are worthless, but planning is everything. It’s an Eisenhower quote, and Zach likes it a lot.

Planning can reduce stress. If I had to sell the idea of planning to myself, that’s how I’d do it. When I sat down and wrote out my Generals writing goals this past Sunday, I chose targets that were realistic, that had clear relevance to the larger task, and that, most importantly, I would be satisfied with, were I to hit them. This upfront effort—which, all told, took about twenty minutes on a Sunday night—forestalled a lot of stress for the rest of the week. Every day I made honest progress towards those goals, I could trust that I was making good progress towards the overall goal. Of course, this requires that I trust the planning I did on Sunday. But if I do, I can avoid a surprising amount of idle worrying about how daily tasks connect to the higher-level goal.


I haven’t quite hit the number of papers I wanted to read, but that’s okay. A lot of the ones left are the big ones I know well already. I wanted to start stitching together a story in the related work. I also need to copy in the Glenside and 3LA related work sections.

I didn’t finish the Lakeroad section, but I have some good details down. That almost feels less important to work on at the moment, because I don’t think it’ll be too hard for me to write.

The intro isn’t done either.

What are the highest-value things to have done? Abstract and intro. Then related work. Then Lakeroad section. I can’t forget the Glenside and 3LA sections, as well. They can “just” be copied in from other papers, but of course, it’s more compilicated than that!

  • Finish abstract draft.
  • Finish topic sentences for intro.
  • Add a few sentences to each intro paragraph.
  • Add topic sentences for related work.
  • Group papers under topic sentences in related work.

Reflection on Goals

I did pretty well on my writing goals for this week. It’s 6pm on Friday afternoon, and I’m pretty burnt out. I will likely work on this in the morning tomorrow, and all day Sunday. Writing is exhausting!