A recent PhD graduate shares his strategy for getting through four years of dissertation-writing: hard deadlines, soft deadlines, and the "Martini Method."
What I call the Martini Method is named after an anecdote I once read about the novelist Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame). Burgess was a very productive writer, which is attributed to a system where he would force himself to write a 1000 words a day, 365 days a year. When he had completed his word count, he would relax with a dry martini, and enjoy the rest of the day with an easy conscience, and normally in a bar.
Your PhD might be that novel, work project, quitting smoking, or marathon, and your martini might be a chocolate bar, walk in the park, movie, or vacation, but the concept is the same: small rewards along the way help you get your stuff done.