1. Don’t wait for the one big research idea. Try something out. The best ideas evolve out of failed ones.
2. Eat well, get enough sleep.
3. The internet doesn’t count as a break. Get away from the desk.
4. You have a life outside the lab or library. Decide what’s important to you and make time for it.
5. Decide what you’re doing to work on before you turn on the computer.
6. Be interested in other people’s work.
7. Get to know the people who can make things happen.
8. You’ll probably get most of your result near the end, because you’ll be better at what you do than you used to be.
9. Hours at the desk don’t count as work. Set targets, achieve them, go home.
10. Don’t worry about you don’t know. You just need to be good at what you’re doing.
11. Downloading papers, printing them, then leaving them on your desk doesn’t count as reviewing the literature.
12. When you just can’t get going, turn everything off, and think about what needs to be done.
13. Simplify it all to a to-do list of just one thing.
14. It is much easier to write a chapter once you know how it ends.
15. If it is not working, do it differently.
16. Don’t use perfection as an excuse. A competently finished thesis beats an imaginary perfect one.
17. Writing your thesis is not the hardest thing you’ll ever do.