Staying longer does not equal to getting more done
You will actually get more done this way.
You have to accomplish MORE to graduate faster than that to graduate slower.
If you don't accomplish MORE than others you will not have a good case for graduating.
You have to demonstrate that you have done enough stuff.
You will know you have done enough only when it is MORE than enough, so do more than enough.
Do the work. But also learn to be your own lawyer and demonstrate that you have made accomplishments.
FOCUS is your best friend if you want to finish up ASAP.
Take initiative, be productive, and write papers.
Of course, now the 'problem' is you will become invaluable to the group. Your advisor may not want to let you graduate as you are so darned useful!
Learn to say NO.
When you are trying to wrap up your Ph.D., it is NOT the time to take on new group duties.
Do things that will directly translate to contents in your thesis. And, only those things.
Block off time to write every day.
So, what do you need to do to finish?
The FOUR things you need to accomplish to graduate are:
- Finish your projects
- Finish writing your thesis
- Find/train your replacement graduate student(s)
- Find a job that your advisor/committee will approve of (postdoc or top industry job)
I tried to combine the first three deliverables as much as possible.
For my last project, I would do work and write it directly into my thesis every day.
This was very time-saving.
Why is it important to train your replacement?
It is important for the work you have been doing to continue on.
But also, if you don't train them, who will?
Your advisor will be much less freaked out about you graduating (leaving) if they are convinced there won't be a giant vacuum when you are gone.
Their group needs to keep running after you leave so make an effort to help with this.
I wrote appendices in my thesis specifically to train new students.
These appendices were like manuals that they could read and directly apply.
This saved a lot of time.
I still met with the new students once a week or so to go over everything but it cut down how much I had to email them.
Writing things over and over by frequently answering emails takes so much more time than writing something well ONCE.
I knew some of the training the new students needed had to be in the form of detailed instructions so why not write that as appendices in my thesis.
This way the material would always be there for them.
I ended up having four appendices and they are all considered very useful.
Link to a summary of my thesis as well as the full text is here - check it out!
The last thing in the list - find a job - is a tough one to complete during a Ph.D.
It's a whole another job by itself.
However, it may prove very critical to actually finishing your Ph.D.
It is important for graduate programs to show that their students get placed into good jobs.
It is important for your advisor to report in their CV, in grant applications, etc, where you ended up after your Ph.D.
You might be like - what do they care if I become a cashier at Costco after grad school?
(I actually thought about doing this for a while - I'd be making significantly more than in grad school!)
But getting a job that your department/committee/advisor will approve of IS important.
They do care about this and you need to factor that in.
Read this to find out how I got help with my job search.
If you are having advisor problems, and your advisor won't graduate you...
Armed with your thesis draft and job offer, you must approach your committee, the administration, whoever it takes, and present your case.