November goals and InaDWriMo

Way back in the pre-PhD, pre-baby days I was in the habit of setting goals for myself at the beginning of each month and then assessing my progress at the end of the month. It worked fairly well for me in terms of focusing my efforts on a relatively short list of tasks, and sometimes even managing to cross them off. Over the last year or so, the goal setting as suffered, as my goals seemed fairly self-evident: survive, keep everyone healthy, and get the needed things done. But now I find that I’m missing my monthly goal-setting session and record of progress. So I’ve decided to revitalize the tradition, focusing on the research and longer-term teaching tasks, rather than the short-term “must write tomorrow’s lecture” sort of issues. And to help me along the way, this month is the second annual InaDWriMo – international dissertation writing month – that actually encompasses all aspects of academic writing and revising.

Here are my goals for the month of November:
1. Submit revised paper Δ to journal
2. Finish data analysis for project Γ
3. Start reading textbook and designing course Z
4. For course Y: obtain textbook, start designing labs

Goal 1 is the focus of my InaDWriMo committment. I pledge to respond to each of the reviewers’ criticisms in the revised paper or the editor’s letter as appropriate. I think there are about 28 comments, so if I just average one a day, it should be easily manageable. Note that I say, “about 28” – I don’t have the reviews at home this weekend, so I can’t be sure and I actually haven’t looked at the reviews for at least a month. Probably not a good sign in terms of progress, but then again, I also know that I have already addressed some of the issues and weekends are for family time (and blogging) so na-na-a-boo-boo. Yes, I am really adult. :)

I’ll be swapping out the Donors Choose thermometer for the InaDWriMo button and a little ticker of my progress. That why I won’t be pestering you all with daily updates, but I’ll still feel publicly accountable. And that’s the point of InaDWriMo anyway.

Want to join me in goal setting or writing/revising? Want to suggest the ways you keep yourself motivated or focused on the big picture tasks? Please share in the comments.


  1. #1 Guru
    November 3, 2007

    Dear ScienceWoman,

    The InaDWriMo thermometer idea looks cool; I would be watching it as closely as I was watching the Donors Choose thermometer.

    Recently, in an altogether different context, I learnt about the concept of timesheets. If you are using Macs, or Linux based PCs for example, you can download these software for free. You can list all the projects that you are working on at the moment. Every time you start working on one of them, you just need to click on the relevant project in the timesheet, so that it keeps the clock ticking. Of course, you can also manually enter the time. In any case, at the end of the month, you will know how much of your time you spent on each of those projects; this data might be very useful in improving the efficiency. For example, at the end of this month, when you finish updating your manuscript, you would exactly know how much of time you spent doing that (instead of saying I spent a month) so that next time, when a similar task is at hand, you will know, roughly, how much of time you might need.

  2. #2 Academic Vixen
    November 4, 2007

    I have an article that just needs one more revision to be sent out and I have been waiting to do that for…5 years. Yes, since I have had my job at this teaching and service intensive SLAC. Now that I am getting ready to go up for full – everyone asks if I have enough publications. Now is the time. I am setting my goal. To have the article revised and submitted by the end of the month.

  3. #3 saoirse
    November 4, 2007

    Guru, do you have a direct link to a timesheet program for mac? I would be very grateful.

    I’m just an undergrad, but one of the things I do to stay motivated is take a little time to imagine how great I will feel when I have successfully completed some task. Careful though, make sure this visualization exercise doesn’t turn into procrastination.

  4. #4 Guru
    November 4, 2007

    Dear Saoirse,

    Here is the link from which you can download the timesheet freeware program that I have installed on my mac.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.