Well, I came up with a plan. A different one, but I’ll see how it works. I’ve only got it sketched out for this month, and then will decide if I want to continue it in August and how it may need to be modified (I’m hoping one section disappears).
I started by thinking about what I wanted to accomplish this month. I knew I wanted (needed) to write, and decided that I’d aim for an hour of writing per weekday (5 hours a week). I also knew I needed to get my experiment sorted out for the fall, and decided to aim for the same amount of work (5 hours/week). I then decided it’d be easier to track time in thirty minute chunks instead of an hour (since it’s easier to stay focused for 30 minutes). Starting (and including) yesterday, there were 21 weekdays left in the month, so 21 hours of work. Multiplied by 2 that makes 42 blocks.
Using that information, I made a document to use to track progress. I’ve actually printed it out instead of using it on the computer, so I can easily see at all times how I’m doing. I made three categories – I need to get exercising more regularly and aimed for 3/week or 12/month. Under each category name, I made a series of boxes representing my agreed upon commitment for the month. Twelve for exercise and 42 for each writing and research. Now, each time I complete thirty minutes of work on writing or research, or go out and exercise, I can cross off a box. So far, I’ve managed to cross off three boxes of research – an okay start there, but not good for writing or exercise.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to attach a reward to it. I’ve thought about attaching a money value to each box that can then be used towards specific goals. Or requiring that an entire section be filled in to reach a goal. There’s stuff that might be fun to get, but I also feel like I need to be even more careful with my money now that I’m working on the startup and may need to be able to live off my savings for a bit once I graduate and we try to get it going. So I’ll have to see.
Currently, the nice thing about this piece of paper, is that I can make progress towards my goal any day of the week. And, if I have an amazing day where I do 4 hours of work in one category, then it all counts, and just makes it easier to take time off that category at a later date. The potential downside is there’s nothing to make sure I actually do work in all categories. But that’s also why I plan on pining it up near my desk so that I will have a visual reminder how far away I am from my goal in all categories.
Anyway, I’m interested in seeing how this works. I figure at the end of the month I can revisit the plan and decide if it’s a good idea to continue for August.