On Monday I wrote a post here which included the statement
I'm at a critical stage in my life as a PhD. student. You'll hear more about it as the weeks go on, but this is the basic situation. Six to twelve months of productive work on my part, and it's very likely I'll finish my degree well and will be able to land a research and teaching job. Without the hard work, it's likely in 12 months I'll be looking at leaving graduate school without completing my degree.
At the time I wrote that, I'd done a little spade work which included several meetings with my advisor, an assessment of what I've already written (140 pages, maybe half of which is good enough to end up in the final document), started learning EndNote and using it to compile a library / bibliography. Oh, and I'd ordered some books from Amazon.