Dr. Denise Gobert
(Ph.D. Kinesiology, 2000); Lawrence D. Abraham,
Assistant Professor and Research Scientist
Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences
Kansas City VA Medical Center and University of Kansas Medical Center
The best thing that I can suggest is to "widely publicize" the time table that you set for yourself in terms of when you want to meet deadlines along the way, i.e. get chapters written, data analyzed or even provide your committee chair with updates. In addition, I would make sure the persons "close to you" know about these deadlines. Relying just on self discipline and inner commitments just does not always work. Use your personal ties and connections to help boost you along.
The wrong thing that I did....now that I am using my "20/20 hind-sight vision" ... was keep all my personal deadlines primarily to myself on my "personal" computer calendar. Human nature is very self-serving and forgiving... so I forgave myself for procrastinating and allowed too many excuses for not sticking with specific small deadlines to keep my progress going in a timely manner. I allowed personal distractions to interfere and therefore really took longer than I should have.
Family can be both a good and a bad influence. They really want you to excel in your studies. However, they watch you going through all the academic rigor and they worry about you not "taking care of yourself," need to "doing your share of family obligations," "taking time off," "having some fun," visiting the relatives etc., etc. They unknowingly have a way of making you feel guilty so you delay, take time off when you should not or sometimes even more than enough time off.... Therefore, finding balance between personal commitments and the academic commitment becomes a challenge and therefore can put up "road blocks".
So tell your family, friends and colleagues about the time deadlines, and they can help you find the balance in your life and still act like voices of your inner conscious telling you to "finish" each step of the way. ... and to spur you forward towards that illustrious "PhD"!!