Gamification of Dissertations!
August 15, 2012 2:27 PM   Subscribe

I am in a cohort of a few PhD fellows who, at the time we could really use each other for support, find ourselves scattered to various corners of New England. How can we motivate each other when we don't see each other on a regular basis?

An email went out from one of my colleagues confessing that she was having a hard time sitting down to write the damn thing. Two of the three of us have finished studies and are at the analysis/writing stage, *I*, on the other hand, will be completing my study this fall while writing my introductory chapters in parallel with my study. Since we're all at slightly different points, we could really use some support to guide each other along. We figured that by seeing what the others are doing, we can motivate, support, and help each other solve problems as they come up as well as use some good old-fashioned GUILT to motivate each other.

She had initially suggested a Google Doc, and although I suppose that would work for recording what we're doing, it's not a lot of FUN, now is it? I immediately thought of the various fitness websites that do this relatively well: Daily Mile, Map My Ride, &c. But I can't find one that allows you to put in your own goals and has a suitably fun "social" aspect to it. So, is there a similar type website or app that one can put in goals/deadlines/progress/milestones/daily word or page counts, we can each update as they are accomplished, and then notifications go out to members of the group so that we can all share in our collective successes?
posted by absquatulate to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
maybe a semi-regular standup, a couple of times a week? Email, chat room, google hangout, whatever. "This is what I've done since last time, this is what I think I'll do by next time, this is how I'm blocked." I didn't get to do this with my grad work, but I do it in my work-work, and it's helpful because the first part makes you want to get at least SOMETHING done so you have something to say, the second forces you to think of a chunk small enough to accomplish in a couple of days, and the last invites people to help you brainstorm a way past your blockers. Maybe not "fun" enough, but Google Hangout so you actually see each other, and can try to make each other laugh can let it be with the right crowd.
posted by ansate at 3:07 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

New England's not that big if you have cars - could you make Sunday = Writing Day ? Get together at one of your houses (take turns if appropriate) and have a wifi-free (no distracting internet!) writing session. You could make it a lunch date at the same time.
posted by maryr at 5:20 PM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This Lifehacker post has a few ideas that might help.

You could just create a workshop group - every month someone emails new writing to the rest of the group.

In general, Freedom is great software for Windows and Mac to block internet distractions while writing.

You could combine it with the Pomodoro technique.
posted by cimuir at 9:41 PM on August 15, 2012

Phinished is worth checking out. Kept me from jumping under a bus.
posted by craniac at 4:08 PM on November 25, 2012

This site might have something related that could help.
posted by craniac at 4:12 PM on November 25, 2012

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