I am doing my Masters (thesis-based) in Computer Engineering in Canada. I started my research in September 2015 and it is now the end of April in 2017 but I haven't done ANY significant research. It is very distressing and I definitely will need extra time to finish my research and graduate.
I meet with my professor and we both decide on what I need to do and a deadline is set for specific tasks. The initial stages of these tasks mainly involve installing software on my lab system which has the hardware I need for my research. I always run into problems during these installation processes and I end up spending more time than necessary JUST to have the necessary tools needed to do my project. By the time I get started with my work and do anything meaningful, the deadline arrives and the tasks remain incomplete.
My professor is frustrated by my lack of concrete results but despite that, he is encouraging and believes in my abilities. I also think I can publish at least one conference paper before I graduate. However, I am wasting my potential and my expertise by not meeting set deadlines. I know I can get things done but apparently, I am too slow in getting to where I want to be.
I feel that setting aside a set amount of time each day (6 hours or so) is not always effective in meeting goals. Should I just give up sleep (and definitely my leisure time) to meet my goals? I am afraid that it will impact my health and my concentration and negatively impact the quality of my work.
Should I simply come to terms with the fact that given my capabilities, I will need to sleep less to meet my goals?
I also work as a TA and a good amount of time also goes towards preparing for labs and marking students' papers.