Friday, July 1, 2011

Strategies: Keeping Track


I've happened upon a cool way to keep track of my progress on the daily writing of my dissertation. But this method will work for anything. Whether you're writing poetry, prose, or working on any kind of project really, I find it helpful to be able to follow the big picture of how things are going.

I've created a gmail account exclusively for my dissertation. Each day that I work on it, I email it to this email address and write myself a short note in the body of the email. Something like: "slugfest" on a bad day, or "feeling good" on a good day. When I open that account I can see, not only how many days I've spent on the project, but I can also see how I've felt about it overall.

I've even created separate folders for the Introduction and Chapter 1. I'll do the same for the rest of the chapters and the conclusion as I make progress.

The whole thing started out of paranoia for losing the document at some crucial stage, and now it's turned into a really healthy part of the process. You can do the same for virtually any project.

[This post is the first in an ongoing series called "Strategies" that will provide quick and practical tips]

1 comment:

  1. I should start doing something like this again. I first started in graduate school, a research trip post MA where for a while it seemed as though I wouldn't get access to the archives I'd gone to see. I was afraid my funders would think I hadn't tried, so I started logging my efforts and also what I managed to accomplish each day anyway. It ended up being a really rich research diary I could still use as raw material / inspiration.

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