Like most days, I typed away in front of my computer today trying to progress with my work as much as possible.

With at least 5 windows open at a time, I tried to multi-task between making the numbers and equations tally on an excel worksheet, referencing at least 3 academic articles on PDFs and trying to make sense of it all in a word file which somehow has to emerge as something “brilliant”. Somehow.

So many aspects to report, so many technical complications to explain and so much to solve, I begin to wonder how I could manage to link all ideas and concepts in a systematic manner. At the moment, I have so many  different word documents written on different days on various topics related to my work and I fear at the thought of trying to compile them all nicely in one continuous document, with good structure, flow and formatting. And sound brilliant too.

Oh and not to mention, it must have a complete reference list and proper citations within the text too. This is the part I drag the most when it comes to technical writing. It is not enough to know what you write about, you must also remember where you first read about it and give due credit by citing it. Otherwise, you’ll get penalised for plagiarism, very serious offense.

This slows me down a lot, spending time trying to dig through hundreds of journal papers in my “collection” and pin point the exact piece for every few lines of text I wrote. Making sure formatting is consistent and up to standard throughout is quite a headache too. I get quite put off by the task of writing my thesis because of these.

Which then procrastination comes into the picture. And then I complain. And I whine.

Sometimes I just sit there wondering why I wanted to do this in the first place. Questioning if this will ever get done.

Then I thought, at least I have a powerful word processing software that is Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel to speed up calculations and Endnote as my efficient citation management sidekick.

Imagine having to do ALL this using only a typewriter….with no delete or backspacing function. Or formatting tools. How did people do anything without a computer? How was it done 30 years ago??

I am fortunate to be in the 21st century.

With that, I snapped out of it and got back to work.


12 comments on “Lament

  1. vixter2010 says:

    Sounds painful! But you’re right, at least we have computers to think for us sometiems now 🙂 Good luck, keep going!

  2. analyfe says:

    I’ve though a lot about that, as well…working with a typewriter would have been quite frustrating. However, on the other hand we’re so overwhelmed with distractions now that we might not get too much more done than in the past.

  3. Margie says:

    We just updated MS Office 2003 to Office 2010. It has a program called OneNote. I’m going to try it out as a tool for compiling bits of this and that into a virtual notebook. Maybe it will make me feel as organized as you sound!

  4. D... says:

    When I was working on my final report for my thesis I barely slept. I was so obsessed I just couldn’t sleep at all. I would lie there and then need to get up and work on it. In the end it was worth it and I finished it all on time, but I still can’t sleep properly, my sleep pattern is so off that I don’t know how I am going to get back to normal.

    • Tien says:

      Danielle, aren’t you glad that its over somehow? When I get stressed writing my thesis, I eat. I am going to get so fat after finishing I don’t know if I can get my normal weight back then haha!

      • D... says:

        I’m glad it’s over in a way, but I sort of miss it. That makes me sound nuts. I guess I like the work, and with the things the way they are I miss it. Sigh…

  5. Patti says:

    I think back on my college days almost with horror – no internet; all research done in the library, all papers typed on a noisy typewriter. How did I ever manage?

  6. Tien says:

    Patti, it must be so tiresome. But you did it somehow!! *Salute*!!

  7. […] to challenge myself. My progress in my studies have been terrible because of procrastination. And excuses. So I decided to set a serious target in my thesis writing and before its done and ready for my […]

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