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The Metric January 23, 2012

Posted by Sarah in personal, progress.

Even before AcBoWriMo, I was trying to use data to keep myself motivated. It’s too easy for me to putter around on little things and call it “work”, or to lose whole days to just worrying about getting things done but not actually DOING anything. So I created the Dissertation Score. The Score favors time spent writing and analyzing data over less-progress-oriented tasks like reading and “other”. The math is as follows (time measured in minutes):

Score = (writing) + (analysis) + (reading/2) + (other/2) – (freakouts/2)

I use a little app called Klok (the free lite version – it’s nagware on launch) to track my time and then at the end of the day I just drop that in to my spreadsheet and it makes pretty graphs like this:

Note how I spent about 10 days NOT doing anything productive. At least not dissertation-productive. My current target for the Studious Network’s Academic Writing Accountability group is a score of 120/day. Given how little I am able to work on weekends, though, I might revise that to trying to keep my moving average above 120. Still thinking about that one.



1. Ana Canhoto - January 23, 2012

Excellent. Thank you for sharing (and for the tip re: Klok).
PS – hope you don’t have many ‘freak outs’ whatever they are

2. Jennifer - January 24, 2012

Thanks for sharing, Sarah. Your metric is very unique and it’s inspiring for me to start counting the time I spend reading and other non-writing stuff. I also hope you don’t have many ‘freak outs’. Maybe I hope we all don’t have those ‘freak outs’ ever. Hehe!

3. Writing Accountability Part 2 by Jennifer Lim: How it measures » PhD2Published - April 11, 2012

[…] It is viable to combine both word count and time spent measurements as the daily goal. In that way, you can measure word count when you are writing and time spent when you are working on other relevant academic activities. I also find it is beneficial to record daily progress together with some comments about what has been achieved or lack thereof so reflection is possible for self improvement. Another example of measurement is from Sarah Ford (who Tweets as @Sarah_M_Ford). She has a unique formula of calculating ‘score’ to measure her daily progress (learn more about it here). […]

4. Kristin - August 1, 2012

I love this and will be downloading the app shortly! I need to know where all my time is going since I thought I’d be done by now. Thanks for the tip!

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