keeping stats

Lately I’ve been reading about some ways that other people keep track of their progress. I just thought i’d clarify what i’m doing, since some people appear to be interested.

First i set some goals, which were based on some numbers i picked for the rest of the year. Then i brought them down to the level of month/week/day, just to see if the number of hours was feasible. Once i had adjusted the numbers, i wrote down what i needed to do each week in a file called “goals”.

I then started a new file called “logs” where i just wrote down the date and what i did that day, in a short format. I quickly found that when i was updating my blog, it’s much easier to get the numbers right if i keep a weekly subtotal, and then i can just add the numbers for the current week onto last week’s subtotal. If you don’t keep track of that running subtotal then it gets hard to figure out if you’ve updated the total properly yet, especially if you end up doing more work after you update.

Another thing i’ve been playing with is making graphs with gnuplot. To do this, i use a file with various info separated by spaces, with different days on different lines. then i have a gnuplot script that will graph those datapoints. I haven’t quite streamlined all of this, so it’s a bit cumbersome right now. What i’d like to do is set up something where i update in one place, and then the data gets automatically placed into the gnuplot data file and graphs get generated. But right now i just do it manually every day or two, which means i’m updating several different text files. It only takes a few minutes though, and it makes me happy 🙂

The next thing i’d like to do is to find some sort of wordpress plugin that will create little progress bars, or maybe a thermometer picture where the “temperature” goes up as i progress. So far i have no idea how to do that, and i don’t want to spend the time to figure out how. I suppose i could write something using Imagemagick, but i’d rather be working on german instead of coding. Hopefully someone else has already written it somewhere else, and i just have to go find it some day.

Another method that i recently heard about was using a spreadsheet. John over at Global Maverick likes to create a spreadsheet with milestones in various boxes, and then change the color of each box as he progresses through those milestones. I quite like this idea, since the coloring thing sounds fun, and you end up with a list of accomplishments that is visually indicated.

What i’ll probably do with this stuff is make a little shell script or something, which can just gather the stuff i do. Then i can tell it “i watched 2 tv shows”, “i listened for 3 hours”, whatever, and it’ll keep track appropriately and spit out some stats and pretty graphs. I’ll let you know if i make any progress on this, but it’s still a low priority behind actually studying german itself 🙂


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