For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Thursday 3 May 2012

Dissertation Survival #1: dissertation den

Running out of places to study?

The procrastinator's guide to building your very own study fort

I was really struggling to concentrate on work in my tiny (very messy!) room, and not enjoying lugging stacks of books around to various libraries.  A little birdie suggested I should build a fort to work in; my own little secluded space.  I thought about it.  I wasn't convinced right away.  Six cups of tea later and I was merrily wedging a broom against my wardrobe and crawling into my own snug study zone.  Words were written.  I met the deadline.  The dissertation den works.       

You will need:
 Two or three big cosy blankets
Two or three comfy cushions
Your stack of books (the heavy ones work well as weights)
Your laptop (or typewriter/scrolls/whatever you write on these days)
Miscellaneous furniture to prop and wedge 

To construct:
1. Lay the blanket and cushions on the floor.
2. Make a canopy above your cushion zone with the other blankets.  To secure, blanket ends can be shut in drawers or tied in knots.  Get creative.
3. The den should be difficult to get in and out of.  This means you will be somewhat trapped and therefore have no choice but to do work.  I botched together a tunnel entrance for mine with a clothes horse.
3.  If your den is too dark to work in, add some fairy lights or a nifty torch.
4.  Make sure you spend no longer than 15 minutes crafting your fort, it  is supposed to help you be productive!

Et voilà. 

If you can lay your hands on a motivational sock monkey, then do.  They are great conversationalists.   

Sooner or later you too will be admiring your shiny shiny, freshly bound thesis.  Celebratory chilli optional.  Add mug of tea to taste.  

What are your coping methods/ study secrets?  Please share, I still have one module to go!
If you make a den, write a post and link me in - I wanna see!


  1. What do you sit on to avoid back ache in there? I'm a computer scientist so I'm *always* on my laptop, and most of my resources are on the internet so I can't even turn the wi-fi off. ARGH.
    I like to get up early (7am, probably nothing to real people with jobs) and take myself to a coffee shop. Preferably one on the other side of town where I can't just nip home. I think the cost of the coffee is more than balanced out by the increase in productivity. Plus I get to discover new places. (Bristol is awesome for independent cafés and coffee shops)

  2. Hi! I was wedged up against some pillows, and definitely got back ache - study back! I admire your early starts - brave! Yup, I find venturing out is good if I'm note taking or reading. :) x

  3. So cute! I had a semi-permanent fort up in my old dorm room. Now most of my school work necessitates a torch or a desktop computer, so a study fort hasn't been necessary! I am taking one online class though, and I always have to remove myself to the dining room to do my timed exams. It's the only way I can concentrate!

  4. Having a specific area to complete your work is ideal, especially when its time to write your thesis. Great tips!


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