If you’ve ever heard me speak about completing the dissertation, you will have probably heard me say, "The dissertation process doesn’t need to be painful to be meaningful." What I mean by this is that suffering is neither a necessary or sufficient condition for making significant dissertation progress. It is possible to complete your dissertation and feel happy while doing it. The only thing is, though, you can’t complete this project if you never make yourself sit down and work on it. While I know that sometimes the dissertation work seems interesting and challenging, I also know that, sometimes, it is boring and frustrating and annoying. When I was writing my dissertation, I would get up early and go to my clinical internship, then I’d go to the gym after work, and then come home, have dinner, and start working on my dissertation at about 8pm at night. I’d work for about three hours a night, and then get up the next morning and repeat the cycle. After about three weeks, I was completely sick of feeling like I was working all the time. This schedule didn’t even account for the fact that I needed to study for some parts of my internship and I needed to prepare for our clinical seminars. After a while, I felt like I did nothing but work. I realized, too, that this kind of pace wasn’t one I could sustain for many more weeks. I was starting to feel angry and frustrated and overloaded with how much work I needed to finish. (Does this sound familliar?) So how did I deal with it? I tried to find ways to make myself work, but without suffering. So, for example, rather than working in an open-ended way each night, I would set goals and rewards. "I’ll write this section and then watch a movie for 30 minutes." or "I’ll write this section and then take off the rest of the night." Sounds simple, but these small shifts really did make a big difference in how I felt, and in my motivation levels. If you’ve been feeling like your dissertation is all suffering and no fun, consider the use of rewards tied to achievement. It’s a great strategy for getting yourself to sit down and work.