Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day dreaming Productivity: a min/maxing habit.

I'm currently studying on the side, spending about almost two hours (sometimes 4 hours) reading and doodling these kinds of productivity metrics in the hope to find something useful for fun or for making my work easier. I admit it is a almost constructive form of day dreaming.

Words Per Minute

Composing Words per Minute1 is the key concept and search term, for such a project to begin. Currently it is at 19wpm2. My assumption, where this gets pretty much invalidated, is that composition is a mental task comparible to that of thinking creatively and constructively. I will point out now that I've read the google docs link and its very hard to find definitive that this supports my thesis, but I will still follow through with this thought experiment.

Reading Tests

Time should be made to take Reading Test, not necessarily the link I provided but any one that the munchkin can be confident of the results. I've done my own reading test and I've discoved that I read at 120 words per minute at +90% comprehension. I discovered at this speed, I am inclined to use audio books which speak at 150-160 words per minute at 90% comprehension (assuming a particular level of subject complexity, I had to repeat several economic lectures and philosophy of science lectures, for example.)

Composition Tests

If your a regular blogger, then this is a matter of looking at how long it takes for you to write any post and communicate your point effectively. I have a very low composition speed, composition that is readible enough to pass off as an adult work. I can guage myself at 7 words per minute for my last post (Learning LibreOffice Forms) still with glaring mistakes. This makes me assume the 19wpm in composition is based simple ideas and not exaclty work critical expectations (given the drastic difference).

Measures of Time

In marching, every hour is actually made up of 50mins of marching and 10mins of resting, except the first hour of marching in the day, which is 45mins and 15mins resting and fixing equipment3. Another assumptions of how closely physical exertion limits follow mental exertion limits, which is my own observation and I have no reference except bringing in the argument of substance dualism fallacy.

If one follows the assumption of limits of an hour of action, that being 3/4ths is productive while 1/4 is necessary rest, then 1 hour of mental action can be made up of 45mins. This is an arbitrary assignment. I am actually inclined to use 2/3rds vs 1/3, but in my observations when routines have been established the 3/4ths vs 1/4th rule is more of the median between the deviations, also an observation. So if I take 19wpm, assuming an easy task, or 7 wpm, assuming a complex task, and compare it to an hour of work I would have 855wph and 315wph (good for one page).

A Days worth of Productivity.

In a past post, I talked about a days worth of productivity from experience in call center metrics. In a 10-12hour work day (including going home and meals) 6hours, is the most productive and substantial amount of work in a day. I have that an assumption that the other work hours, the remaining 2 hours, are organizational and clerical tasks like answering emails and some basic reporting. An assumption that has to be taken very very lightly.

Taking the amount of time above into consideration, then 5130wpd and 1890 wpd respectively.

Planning and Output

As a fan of Game of Thrones, I used the first novel as a metrics for comparision. ~1,200,000 Words for the first novel, at a median average of ~4000 words per chapter, and a median average ~300 words per page. If I were to plan writing something so big, I would first consider the military rule of thumb 1/3 planning, 2/3 implementation4.

If I were to write 1,200,000 words I must consider the amount of ideas such an edited work would produce. Just assuming how much edits reduce final output to depends on one's understanding of writing factors, especially when there is a consideration of complexity and aesthetics, I would think a draft of 2,400,000 words would be necessary (double). This would mean an implementation of 1269.8 days, assuming 261 days (from our HR; Phil workdays a year) a year of productivity that would be around 4.8 years. Using the 1/3 planning heuristic that would be that would total 7 years overall. Its not even going to guaranteed to be good.

Taking the calculations in another direction, looking at what I can produce with the freetime I have. Assuming 4 hours in a week, I can produce roughly 1260 words which might be edited down to 600 words a week.

Reality and the Hobby

Such metrics, as above, my aspirations for writing my own epic is crushed with glaring reality backed up by my own experiences and observations. Then there is the ability to sustain any dream, given how times change and circumstances change a long with it.

In my experience, given work and obligations, I'm better off planning my little projects monthly with as most 10 hours at my disposal. If 3hours are done for planning, and 7 hours execution, I probably have a 2,205 word output.

Maybe next month I should spend my 10 hours doodling a mind map of an Epic Plot for my Fictional Alternate history 19th Century Philippines Setting.

Planning Tools

One program and tool that I have not used to its full potential is Draw or FreeMind. Mindmapping tools were not only awsome in helping me keep track of complex family trees but also in political/economic relationships, and flow of events.

3Small Wars Manual United States Marines 1940,

4Combat Leader's Field Guide

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