Thursday, November 09, 2006

Status bars and gold stars

At the workshop in Bergen, I mentioned the importance of the status bar, and how positioning the World of Warcraft status bar in a very visible spot, split it into small boxes and keep it functioning after level 60 by making it useful for tracking reputation, is a stroke of genius. I find myself going: "Let me just kill 10 more furbolgs and fill out that next box on the status bar," while I am really totally utterly bored with what I am doing. Justin claimed, tongue in cheek, that he has a status bar at the bottom of Word, but hey, he was not that far off! We do keep counting pages, after all. It's also the same as I do with the stacks of papers which need to be marked: by moving the papers from one stack to the next, I can track the progress visually while grinding, eh, grading.

Returning from some months of research/writing grind to the grind of teaching and administration, I felt dissatisfied with my progress at all levels, both what I have written and what I need to teach. Today I sat down and tracked my progress in a way which could be visualised. I have a book I write "things to do" in, and I love stroking out what I have done. Guilt has however kept me from using it, and looking at the book on my desk just made me feel worse. I went and bought stars and other stickers, then I bravely opened the book to see if I could line out at least one thing and reward myself a gold star.

Now I have a lot of stars all over the front of the book! I have been so good! The book of work to come is back in a prominent position, shiny with proof of how efficient I am even if I don't notice it, and more stickers are just waiting to decorate the front. I have fantasies about the epic look it will have when both front and back are COVERED with stickers.

Childish? Yes, but at least now I am giggling with the silliness of it all, and not moping at my own self-destructive behaviour.


Jill said...

Oh, what a great strategy! When I was trying to finish my PhD I found "good work" stickers on the web (so not real stickers but they reminded me of the ones my first grade teacher gave us) and put them in my blog as a reward when I'd been good. It really worked. For a while, anyway.

A book utterly covered in gold stars, what a wonderful idea!!!

Dennis G. Jerz said...

When I was a budding author in high school, I used to print out all my epics on fan-fold paper, tear off the perforated holes, and then punch new holes for my 3-ring binder. I only did that with work that I really wanted to keep. And I found a little jar and told myself that I would sell a story before I filled the jar.

I never did sell a short story, but I did start getting work writing press releases and other PR stuff, so I consider myself as having met that goal.

Thanks for reminding me how good it feels.