At this point I have settled on four projects that require fieldwork, plus a review paper and a project based on existing data. That's six chapters and I only need four or five, but it's likely that one of those won't work out for some reason or another. I will also pursue some side projects in the field if/when I have time.
I laid out a rough timeline for each project. Sometimes I worked forwards from from the present, and sometimes I worked backwards from my goal of defending my dissertation in summer 2013. In some ways that seems like a long time away, but then when I started laying down project timelines it feels much, much closer. I also worked backwards from the goal of being totally done with fieldwork by early 2012 (preferably by November 2011 if I can do it). This is a serious goal for me because we
It feels great to have this timeline done because now I feel like I can begin to make decisions about these projects knowing generally how they should proceed in a timely manner. I can also present the timeline to my committee (minus the personal stuff) so that they are also thinking under the appropriate timeframe.