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One of the keys to working consistently on the thesis is understanding how motivation and productivity are related to each other. Many graduate students assume that motivation is necessary to work on thesis, but it is possible to work productively with little or no motivation. In fact, motivation is often the outcome of productive work rather than the cause of it. 
There are several factors that contribute to motivation for most professionals:
  • The desire to meet or exceed personal standards and expectations
  • The opportunity to make a unique contribution within a field
  • The work is experienced as interesting, challenging, or inspiring
  • There are strong incentives (e.g., financial) to work on the project
  • There are positive feelings (e.g., pride) associated with the work
  • There are negative feelings (e.g., anxiety) associated with not meeting a deadline
  • There is a desire for the recognition and approval from colleagues
There are also unique challenges associated with motivation while working on large projects like the thesis:
  • There are likely to be periods of boredom or disinterest while working on large projects 
  • The amount of motivation you have may fluctuate depending on the task or the particular day
  • There will be times when it is necessary to work when you have little or no motivation 
  • There are relatively few deadlines associated with the thesis, so it will not be possible to rely on them for motivation
  • There may be limited opportunities for collaboration, which may affect motivation
There are also opportunities to develop new time management and organizational skills that will can be applied to future projects, including the following:
  • The ability to establish a work schedule that does not rely on motivation
  • The ability to work productively whenever there are no imminent deadlines
  • The ability to identify aspects of the work that are potential sources of motivation
  • The ability to collaborate with others in ways that increase motivation

Motivation and Productivity