WPB: Words Per Brew

A friend told me recently about the metric she used to measure her daily

Photo by Flick user Maria Erin

Photo by Flickr user Maria Erin

progress when she was writing her dissertation: words written per cups of tea made/drunk. I like that idea – a sure sign for me that I’m not getting anything accomplished is if I find myself thinking “well, I’ll just make myself a quick cup of tea and then I’ll get on with this…”. The “quick cup of tea” invariably leads to me finding a dozen other things to do in the kitchen, then finally making it back to the computer and staring into space for about 20 minutes (because I can’t hold my cuppa and type at the same time, and it’ll go cold otherwise!), then noticing something else in the room that needs tidying up (courtesy of all that staring into space), and so on until an hour has passed and I’ve got nothing done.

Today hasn’t been great, writing-wise: 2 cups of tea and 850 words, giving me 425 WPB (Words Per Brew). I even forced myself out of the flat and into the office of the library I work at (I’ve given up trying to work in the main university library with the rest of the students – you can’t hear yourself think), and still barely managed to get anything done. Although, to be fair, I have done a lot of reading, so maybe the WPB isn’t the best measure to use here.

I still don’t think I’ve used my time particularly well today though, and I’m rapidly approaching the submission deadline for my proposal. Anyone got any good tips for staying focussed?

Edit: just wanted to add a quick plug for graze.com: have been snacking on one of their boxes of goodies all day, it at least got rid of the “I’ll concentrate better if I’ve eaten something, why don’t I go and spend half an hour rummaging through the kitchen cupboard for snacks” excuse! If you fancy trying it out, I’ve got a promo code for them, it’ll give you your first box to try for free: 8RFH36KG (in the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that I get £1 off a box for every person that uses this code). Happy grazing!


3 comments on “WPB: Words Per Brew

  1. I wish I had heard this wisdom back when I was writing essays/dissertations. Just a few questions – is there a standard WPB? What should we be aiming for? Or is it a personal target we should be setting?

    • Cheers for the comment Emma! I have a personal target of 1000 words per day (at the moment – this will probably change as I’m working on different parts of my dissertation that require more or less writing). So, assuming I always have one cup of tea per day (a fairly reasonable assumption – you don’t want to see me before I’ve had my morning brew!), the ideal WPB would be 1000. 2 brews isn’t too bad – that’s only one wander into the kitchen – so 500 WPB is acceptable. Any less than that and it’s a bad writing day! Today’s actually been great – 1,137 WPB. Am stopping work for the day now and about to celebrate with a well-earned G&T!

  2. I like this analogy, although don’t drink tea. I may have to split my dissertation up into words per break though, as I often nip down to the kitchen looking for juice/a snack when I get fed up. That’s when I actually start my dissertation of course, I’m sure I’ll get round to it one day. :/

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