Many of you reading this would already be very familiar with the process of creating a Pacemakerplan. Our hope is that the process is so intuitive that anyone who arrives at pacemaker.press is able to easily jump right in and get started. For others, this will be your first visualization of the process from start to finish. Either way, you’re here now, so why not follow along with us below? There’s really no substitute for a hands-on experience though. So once you’re through here, head over to the site and create your very own! We’ve also collected a repository of sample Pacemaker plans show casing the features of the site that we’re constantly updating. Have a look at those to get inspired.
Step 1: Enter Basic Plan Info (What am I doing?)
Give your plan a unique name and add some basic attributes.
Under ‘Activity’, specify the particular action you’re doing to create your content (writing, revising, translating etc.). Then under ‘Content’, select the final product you’re hoping to produce (dissertation, essay, thesis etc.).
Step 2: Set your Goals (Where am I going?)
Define the parameters of your writing plan.
It’s time to quantify your goal. Enter ‘Amount of Work’ and then select ‘How it’s measured’. You might be doing 50,000 words, or 200 hours, or 45 chapters! However your project is measured, here’s the place to make it known. After that’s done, select the time parameters of your project (start and end dates), and voilà, the first version of your Pacemakerplan appears!
Pro tip: You can also choose to display an Overall Target or a Daily Target. If you want to achieve your ‘Amount of Work’ daily select ‘Daily’ (you will still be able to choose days to skip writing if you wish). However, if your ‘Amount of Work’ is your overall target, as in the hypothetical project we’re creating here, leave it as is!
What about if you don’t know your deadline?
Sometimes you do not have a specific deadline in mind but instead, you have an idea of how much work you’d like to get done each day. In this case, turn off the “fixed deadline” setting and specify how much work you’d like to do. Pacemaker will then automatically calculate the deadline for you given your specified pace. Note that when you choose daily goals or un-fixed deadlines, some of the strategy options below won’t apply.
Step 3: Define your strategy (How the heck am I getting there?!)
So you know where you’re going to start, and you know where you’re going to finish, but how in the world are you planning on getting there?! Well, just like a GPS allows you to plot a course from point A to point B, while maybe avoiding toll roads, and optimizing for the fastest route, Pacemaker offers you many ways to get to your goal.
Right now we have 7 Strategy Presets from which you can choose: Steadily, Rising to the Challenge, Biting the Bullet, Mountain Hike, Valley, Oscillating and Random. You’ll find these along with clear descriptions on how they affect your plan right there in the Strategy box.
Here’s an example of the plan we’re creating here using all 7 presets:
You may also choose an intensity for your plan which changes how aggressively a particular strategy is applied. For example, on the ‘gentle’ setting, you won’t see too much variation in your word count targets using most strategies. However, with ‘hard core’, daily goal targets will change more drastically day to day.
For our purposes, let’s go with an average intensity, Oscillating preset, because let’s face it, Oscillating creates the most visually mesmerizing graphs!
Step 4: Customizations (Should I stop to see anything along the way, you know, take in the sights?)
On a road trip from Point A to Point B, after you’ve planned your route, you may decide to do a bit of sightseeing. You may opt to linger a bit longer here or there, or decide to bypass some places altogether.
The Customizations panel in Pacemaker allows you to do something similar. Here you can choose to write more or less on some days, or skip some days altogether (say write more every Tuesday and skip Thursdays or skip whole weeks at a time). You can also reserve a few days at the end of your project for editing, revision etc. you know, just in case.
For our example, let’s skip weekends and ‘Do More’ on Mondays because, why not? Aaand let’s not reserve any buffer days at the end because, well, we’re just fly like that. Here it is:
Step 5: Display (What kind of map do I want on my journey?)
Choose how you’d like to see your plan displayed: Calendar, Graph or Table. For the commitment-phobes, don’t worry, you can change the display as often as you’d like, you won’t be ‘locked in’ to one display indefinitely.
You know the drill, same plan, 3 ways:
Paid users also have access to a bar chart view.
Step 6: Progress (How do I stay on track to finish on time?)
Do you want your plan to adjust based on your progress or do you always want to see how you’re performing in relation to your original plan? Let’s say you write 1000 words on day 1, instead of the 600 your plan prescribed, do you want your plan to automatically recalculate your plan in light of this surplus, or do you want it to stay the same so you can see on your graph that you surpassed your day’s goal?
You’ll also have the opportunity to select how you want to input your progress. You can choose to either record how far you’ve reached each day, or you could record the exact quantity you completed each day. I suppose it just depends on how much math you feel like doing :).
So there you have it! In a few quick steps, you have your very own Pacemakerplan! We’ve tried to make the process as easy and intuitive as possible, but we’re always looking for opportunities to make the process even more so. So if you think of a way we can streamline it even further, we’d love to hear about it!
Finally, we’ve collected a repository of sample Pacemaker plans show casing the features of the site that we’re constantly updating. Have a look at those to get inspired.
Happy writing everyone, and thanks for using Pacemaker!
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[…] Plan your time. Block out writing-free days in November. Set up word-count targets in Scrivener or use the free online Pacemaker. […]