The work of Tim Ferriss has helped me a lot over the last decade. I’ve enjoyed all of his books, but one of his must-read posts that I keep returning to is “Testing The Impossible: 17 Questions That Changed My Life” from 2016.
While the post is about business and lifestyle design, re-reading it for the 73rd time today I’m struck by how so many of the questions resonate with my view on viva preparation too:
- If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do? Leaving business aside, the time restriction is an excellent provocation. What do you need to do first?
- Am I hunting antelope or field mice? This makes me think of obsessing over typos and what-ifs. You could hunt for endless little things, or focus preparation efforts on the larger “antelope” that will provide you with more!
- What would this look like if it were easy? A simple prompt. How could your preparations be easy? What conditions would you need? Now which of those can you create?
- No hurry, no pause. As Tim notes, not a question! But something that has stuck with me personally, and which I think applies really well to viva prep. A little planning before submission goes a really long way. A little organisation makes your preparation come together nicely, stress-free. You might be anxious about your viva still, but your preparation will not be a contributing factor.
I thoroughly recommend the article. See how it might prompt you to reflect on your preparations before the viva. Look for ways to make the process as valuable as it can be.