Before reading thispost please note: it took three and a half years of full-time research to gather the data for my PhD thesis; the three months refers only to the writing, which I did quickly at the end. I do not claim that everybody can write that fast, and if you have not done the research it will be impossible.You might not write as fast as I did, but you might gain some useful insightsfrom the way I approached it.在开始攻读博士学位近3年后的2006年夏天，我想到要放弃。原来，当时我的成果远远不够，我所使用的设备在大部分时间都不起作用，我几乎无法在早晨唤起起床的动力。In the summer of 2006,almost 3years after starting my PhD, I was ready to quit.I had nowhere nearenough results, the equipment I was using didn't work most of the time, and I could barely summon the motivation to get up in the morning.
一年多以后有了转机，我扭转了局面，获得了一些可发表少数几篇论文的结果，在3个月内从零开始完成我的博士论文，无争议地通过我的口头答辩。而且，最重要的是，我居然开始享受这个过程。我是怎么做到这一切的？Cut to just over a year later and I'd managed toturn things around and get the data for a few publications，write my entire PhD thesis from scratch in just 3 months andpass my viva defence with zero corrections.And, on top of all that, I actually started to enjoy the process.How did I do all this?在经历了一次近乎崩溃的经历后，当我在研究中遇到问题或者发现自己压力大的时候，我就会开始在校园里散步。我花时间思考自己需要做什么，让自己有一个正确的心态回过头来处理问题。以前我发现我自己会处于一种为了熬过一天而在网上浪费时间的境地。这一个习惯的改变可能挽救了我的博士生涯。After a near-breakdown, I started taking walks around the campus when I faced a problem in my research or found myself getting stressed.I took the time tothink about what I needed to do and get myself in the right frame of mind to come back and deal with the problem.Previously I would have found myself killing time on the internet just to get through to the end of the day. This one change in habit probably saved my PhD.这似乎有悖于直觉，但放慢速度有助于我走得更快。通过在实验上多花点时间，尽可能仔细地做事情，我消除了很多耗时的错误。This may seemcounter intuitive, but slowing down helped me to go faster. By taking more time over my experiments and doing things as carefully as I could, I eliminated a lot of time-consuming mistakes.Limiting thetime available虽然我想明白了如何应对压力之后，我的工作效率就提高了，但进入第四年我还在做实验。我有了提交论文的截止日期（在我第四年的年底），但我的研究仍然有点混乱。并没有集中精力去发现什么。我的导师（杰出的Moriarty教授）就告诉我，2007年3月底以后不再允许我进入实验室，我必须写出我的所有东西。Though my productivity increased once I figured out how to deal with stress, I was still doing experiments well into my fourth year.I had a final submission date (at the end of my 4th year), but my research was still a bitchaotic. It wasn'tfocused on finishing.My supervisor (the brilliantProfessor Moriarty) then told me thatI would no longer be allowed into the lab after the end of March 2007, and that Iwould have to write whatever I had.Adapting and acting decisively因为时间有限，我不得不做出一些艰难的决定。我所做的任何事情，要么完成，要么放手。会有一些枝节，但这没关系，只要我把其他的事情处理好。我必须决定不做某些事情，而用精力和决心专注于其他事情。不过，论文还是会有些单薄。于是，我在另一名学生研究的基础上，接了一个副项目，这样可以很快地产生一些成果。这个副项目产生了我科研生涯中最有趣的成果。Because of thelimited time, I had to make some tough decisions. Anything I did, I wouldeither have to finish or let go.There would be some loose ends, but that wasOK as long as I tied up others.I had to decidenot to docertain things, and focus with energy and determination on others.Still, though, thethesis would be a little thin. So I took on a side project based on another student's research, which could produce some results quickly.This side project produced themost interesting result of my scientific career.Finishing research before writing等到我不再做实验的时候，我知道我已经有足够的能力面对博士学位了。不是最好的博士，也不是改变世界的博士，但有了两篇论文和足够的数据，我觉得已经足够了。因为我不被允许回到实验室，我只需要专注于写作。困难的部分已经过去了。结果是不会改变的，所以我只需要确保自己在写作的时候是有效率的。当你知道原始材料不会再改变的时候，写起来就容易多了。提示：如果还有研究或分析要做，就把这个放在比写作更优先的位置上。By the time Istopped doing experiments, I knew I had enough for a PhD. Not the best PhDever, and not world-changing, but with two publications and enough data foranother, I felt it was good enough. Because I wasn't allowed back in the lab, I just had to focus on writing. The hard part was behind me. The results weren't going to change, so it was just a matter of making sure I was productive when writing.It is much, mucheasier to write when you know the raw material isn't going to change.Tip: If there'sresearch or analysis still to do, prioritize this over writing我决定在家里工作，而不是在办公室，因为这样可以减少干扰。我扔掉了电视，电脑上也没有网络连接。没有网络意味着我必须事先收集所有需要的文件，迫使我思考我需要的东西。我还设置了一个专门的空间（2张大桌子连在一起，还有一张非常舒适的椅子，旁边有一扇大窗户，自然光充足），专门用来写论文。I decided to workat home, not at the office, because there would be fewer distractions.I got rid of theTV, and had no internet connection on my computer. The lack of internet meant Ihad to gather all the papers I would need beforehand, forcing me to think aboutwhat I would need.I also set up a dedicatedspace (2 large desks joined together and a very comfortable chair, next to alarge window for plenty of natural light), just for thesis writing.我给自己设定了3个月的目标，分解到每一章的目标。这将使我在最后的绝对截止日期前有3个月的储备时间。我每天的目标是500字，我知道即使在效率最低的日子里我也能达到这个目标。这意味着，由于我在大多数日子里都突破了目标，所以我每天完成后都会对自己的进展感到满意，这反过来又意味着我在第二天开始时感到自信。提示: 把你的目标设定为你知道你每天都能完成的事情，然后完成它。不要把它设得你能想象的那么高。I set myself atarget of 3 months, broken down into targets for each chapter. This would giveme about 3 months in reserve before the final absolute deadline.I had adaily minimum target of 500 words, which I knew I could meet even on the least productive days.This meant that because I smashed the target most days, I finished every day feeling good about my progress, which in turn meant I started the next day feeling confident.Tip: Set your target as something you know you can achieve daily, then beat it. Don't set itas high as you can possibly imagine.一天中最重要的两个部分是开始和结束。尽早建立动力很重要，结束一天的工作也要有一个规律。在每天结束时，我总是给自己留下一些容易做的事情，以便第二天开始工作，所以我醒来时知道自己要做什么。我还在每天结束的时候收拾桌子，这也有助于结束一天的心理状态，也让我的大脑不再在晚上反复地看论文。The two most important parts of the day are the beginning and end. It's important to build momentum early, and have a routine for ending the day too.At the end of eachday I always left myself something easy to do to get started with the next day,so I woke up knowing what I was going to do.I also tidied thedesk at the end of every day, which also helped close the day mentally and stopped my brain going over and over the thesis at night.Applyingruthless standards to what I included不管是研究综述，还是我自己的工作，只要是不合格的，我都会删掉。我只关注最好的文献，为自己节省了大量的时间。这样做的结果也是让我的工作与该领域最优秀的工作联系在一起。我只写我所知道的东西，这使得论文比我把所有的东西都包括进去（不管我是否理解）都要短、快、容易写，质量也更高。提示：你选择的是评判，而不是考试。只包括你能从容答辩的内容。Whether it was the lit review, or my own work, I cut anything sub-standard.I focused only onthe very best literature, saving myself a huge amount of time. It also had theresult of associating my work with the very best in the field.I only wrote about what I knew about, which made the thesis shorter, faster and easier to write,and of higher quality than if I had included everything whether I understood it or not.Tip:You choose the syllabus, not the examiner. Only include what you can comfortably defend.Taking time over details that matter我对文字的清晰度、图表和论文的整体面貌都费尽心思。如果一张图花了2个小时，那就这样吧。如果在论文中找不到高质量的图片粘贴，我会自己重新画。为什么这样做呢？因为这样可以增加论文中贯穿的质量感。这花了很长的时间来画图，并确保图的准确性。通过每次对一个细节的执着关注，我可以确保我不会再做一次。这让我想到了最后一点... ...I took painstakingcare over the clarity of the writing, the diagrams and the overall look of thethesis.If a diagram took 2hours, so be it. If I couldn't find a high-quality image in a paper to pastein, I would re-draw it myself. Why? Because it adds so much to the feel ofquality running through the thesis."The unreconstructed Si(111) surface". This took a very long time to draw and make sure the diagram was accurate.By applying obsessive focus toone detail at a time, I could make sure that I wouldn't have to do it again. This brings me to the final point...我总是边写边编辑，目的只有一个：确保我把脑子里的想法清楚地表达在纸上。直到我觉得句子有意义，没有含糊不清的意思，我才会继续写下去。思路清晰永远是第一目标。但是，如果你不趁着思想还在脑海里的时候澄清你的写作，就很难在几天或几周后再来整理出乱七八糟的思想。这意味着我在不断地重读和修改刚刚写好的东西，同时也意味着当我把东西提交给我的导师时，只需要很少的修改，这节省了几个月的时间，只是因为我在第一轮就尽可能地接近 "正确"。提示：如果你知道什么是好的写作，那就会有所帮助。请观看视频以获得更多提示。（视频见本文末尾所列的第二篇参考文献提供的连接——译者注）I always edit as I write, with one goal only: to make sure I've expressed the idea in my headclearly on the page. I don't move on until I feel the sentence makes sense,with no ambiguity of meaning.Clarity of thoughtis always the number one aim. But it is very difficult to come back to a pieceof writing days or weeks later and sort out a mess of thought if you don't clarify your writing while the thought is still fresh in your head.This means I was constantly re-reading and revising what I've just written, but also means thatwhen I submitted something to my supervisor it needed very few revisions and saved months, simply by getting as close to "right" as I could the first time round.Tip: It helps ifyou know what makes good writing. Check outthis video for the most important tips另一个关键因素是，在整个博士期间，尽管很多地方都出了差错，但我在我一直使用的技术和数据分析方面积累了很多经验和技巧。这也是为什么当我放慢脚步，更仔细地做实验时，能够快速分析结果的原因之一。我经常遇到一些学生，他们把分析工作留到最后几个月才做，整个博士期间几乎没有做任何分析。这是很困难的情况，因为你必须在巨大的压力下非常快速地学习分析技能。尽早练习分析，不要忽视你的数据!Another key factor。Throughout thecourse of my PhD, event though a lot went wrong, I built up a lot of experienceand skill in the techniques I'd been using and in the data analysis. This isone of the reasons why, when I slowed down and did experiments more carefully,I was able to analyse the results quickly. Too often, I meetstudents who have left analysis to the very final months, having done virtually none throughout the course of their PhD. This is a difficult situation to bein, as you have to learn analytical skills very fast under immense pressure. Practice analysis early and don't neglect your data!请注意，我得到了对我这篇文章的一些评论，好像我在3个月内完成了整个博士学位。不是的，我是先做了三年半的研究，然后再写论文。我也没有说任何人都能写得那么快，因为这取决于很多不同的因素。这就是为什么标题是 "我是怎么写的......"，而不是 "怎么写的......"Please Note，I've had some comments on this post reacting as if I completed my entire PhD in 3 months. No,I did three and a half years of research first, then wrote the thesis. I also do not claim that anyone can write that fast, as it depends on a lot ofdifferent factors. This is why the title is "How I wrote...", not "How to write..."
James Hayton，How I wrote a PhD thesis in 3 months，February 28, 2012，https://jameshaytonphd.com/quick-tips/how-i-wrote-a-phd-thesis-in-3-months
James Hayton，How to write your PhD thesis (without going insane): Full lecture，April 20, 2020，https://jameshaytonphd.com/quick-tips/how-to-write-your-phd-thesis-without-going-insane-full-lecture