Productivity Tracking: When Organization Goes Bad

Last week, I did an experiment, and it was hell.

I'm not the type of person to be accused of being lazy; I'm prolific, but not because I write fast. Time and time again, I have told people I'm only prolific because I put a lot of work and effort into what I do. So, last week, I decided to track my productivity by hour.

What a pain in my ass. Seriously. I'm glad I did it, I even did it for three full days before I got a serious case of the ‘fuck its!'

PackJustice_NookKoboFinal_adjustedtextOrganization is important for me. So are to-do lists. I have a really crappy memory for things outside of my novels. My books consume the vast majority of my attention, and the rest dribbles out of my ears. I had a lot to do to prepare to release Pack Justice, so I needed to make sure I was getting everything done in a timely fashion. (I did succeed at this goal, so I was fantastically productive.)

However, this method was brutal on me. I already work hard–probably too hard–and all this method did was stress me out while making me work even harder. (That is not nearly a good of a thing as it sounds. I got a lot done, but… stress.)

But, since I did it, I thought I'd share what it looked like. I had to deal with interruptions all throughout, but this is a fairly good representation of my standard day, except I scatter it in different clumps rather than neat hour-by-hour representations.

Time Type Starting Words Ending Words Total Count
11:00 AM Writing 54843 55692 849
12:00 PM Writing 55692 56117 425
1:00 PM Writing 56117 56456 339
2:00 PM Writing 56456 57076 620
3:00 PM Writing 57076 57404 328
4:00 PM Writing 57404 57960 556
5:00 PM 3 CH Proofed
6:00 PM 3 CH Proofed
7:00 PM 4 CH Proofed
8:00 PM 1 CH edited
9:00 PM Blog Post
11:00 AM Writing 57960 58569 609
12:00 PM Writing 58569 59000 431
1:00 PM Writing 59000 59391 391
2:00 PM Writing 59391 59807 416
3:00 PM Writing 59807 59990 183
4:00 PM Writing 59990 60358 368
5:00 PM Writing 60358 61001 643
6:00 PM Cleaning/Writing 61001 61195 194
7:00 PM 1 CH Edited
8:00 PM Cleaning/Writing 61195 61574 379
9:00 PM Writing 61574 61923 349
10:00 PM Writing 61923 62003 80
11:00 AM Writing 62003 62414 411
12:00 PM 3 CH Proofed
1:00 PM Writing 62414 63223 809
2:00 PM 3 CH Proofed
3:00 PM Break
4:00 PM 2 CH Proofed
5:00 PM Writing 63223 63556 333
6:00 PM 3 CH Proofed
7:00 PM Writing 63556 64145 589
8:00 PM Writing 64145 64403 258
9:00 PM Writing 64403 64836 433
10:00 PM Writing 64836 65414 578
11:00 PM Writing 65414 65697 283
12:00 AM 2 CH Proofed


My average word count is 434 per hour, although I think I'm more comfortable with saying it's closer to 300 an hour, since I have these random bursts of good hours that skew things; they're so much more the exception than the rule. I only get so much done because of the number of hours I work, not the speed I work. Realistically, I'm slow.

I'm okay with that. I'm slow, but I'm hard working, and at the end of the day, I do care about results. I push myself really hard because I want to make this career work. Unfortunately, when it comes to writing, the only person who is going to force me to make it work is me.

On deadline crunches, I'll go back to hourly tracking, because it did force me to stay on the ball. For day-to-day life, however… I'll stick to my regular to-do lists. Those don't make me want to stab things.

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