We’ll see if this actually works, but I’ve just set up a goal along with my newly-received first stack of grading for the term, and I’m excited.
The metric I actually want to reduce, I’ve decided, is “horribleness of my future grading experience if I don’t work on this now.” Which can be numerically expressed as “the average hours per day I would have to grade to finish my current backlog on time.”
I actually do calculate this number already, because I find fiddling with charts a highly motivating way to make grading more appealing. So this is what I set up for my grading spreadsheet:
As you can see, it’s a piddling little pile right now, except that if I leave it all to do the day before, I will have a very unpleasant day. (The “hours” calculated from the number of assignments is based on the time per assignment allotted in my contract, which I stick to scrupulously, so it actually is a predictable time commitment if I have a count for the number of papers.)
The goal I set up looks like this:
Do-less goalEDIT: now using whittle-down
- Flat slope, with the “value” set at the maximum backlog that is acceptable to me (currently trying 3 hours)
- Data aggregation type “min” (EDIT: this is the default with whittle-down)
Presumptive pessimistic datapoints onEDIT: because whittle-down goals can’t have PPDs, I’ve hacked one together with a Zapier zap that inputs a datapoint of 4 every day. I have to edit the datapoint with the correct backlog every day to avoid derailing. (Note that the datapoint has to be above the maximum to trigger an eep day; if the fake datapoint is exactly 3, with my set-up, it just puts me in the blue.)
If my test datapoint of “5” is the only one in there, the goal goes red and I have until the end of the night to get it back under my limit. When I put in my real current backlog I’m in the green.
What I hope will happen is that I will manually input every day the average hours remaining, which will increase every day unless I grade. I think this will help make sure the backlog stays in my mind as something that “grows” over time rather than staying stable. It also gives me a reward for grading early. If there’s no grading to do, I have 0 average hours remaining! So it seems like this can be flexible to the actual amount of grading on my plate.
The only thing that concerns me right now is making sure this goal will get me in trouble if I ignore it, since I have to manually enter data, but hopefully presumptive pessimistic datapoints will work for that!