I'm trying hard to write the last chapters of my thesis. I'm very close to the finish line, but the last bit has been the most trying. Various social outings, not to mention the epic Hawaiian surf, beckon me.

A month ago, I thought I would be done by now. It seems as though time has accelerated as the race approaches the end. Or perhaps I'm just slowing down. I want to finish, and I'm not fatigued. I don't have writer's block and I'm happy with my data. But the number of distractions in my life seems to have increased exponentially.

There's a long list of friends and relatives planning to visit me this summer — when you live in Hawaii, everyone thinks you're always on holiday. I also have other research projects that suddenly need to be completed. And then there are the temptations of watching the World Cup or enjoying that amazing surf. If I could just stay on track for a short moment, maybe not chase so many waves, I'd be able to put those last few ideas down on paper. But as I overcome each distraction another appears, stronger than the previous one.

Right now, my biggest challenge is to find a way to focus as the rest of my life moves along regardless of my PhD race. My best bet may be to lock myself in my office and ignore all phone calls and e-mails — and the call of the surf.