Thursday, January 29, 2009

Motivational metric

There have been a number of metrics being devised since Drug Monkey revived the establish your own scientific eponym meme. I bounced a few around in my head, but was embroiled in grant-related issues at the time and never got around to putting any down. In the past couple of days I have spent a lot of time tinkering with the structure of my course and putting some lectures together. As I am putting the finishing touches on some of them, it's been pretty clear that I have created a motivation metric, without having to think about it. It's simple and direct. The motivation I have to get parts of a lecture done are inversely proportional to the amount of challenge I find in the subject. Therefore, when I am teaching something a little out of my comfort zone, I focus on getting the slides together in a very organized way to get my point across clearly. If the topic is something I am very comfortable with, I leave the slides blank while I do things like blog about why I'm not actually doing the work I need to finish.


  1. I think this can be extended to many tasks - the greater the challenge (for example, designing experiments to test out a new idea, using a sweet new piece of equipment you just unpacked), the greater the desire to do it; the lesser the challenge (for example, filling out administrative paperwork, updating one's lab notebook), the lesser the desire to do it.

    Case in point: I am putting off my lab notebook to make pithy comments on other people's blogs.

  2. At the moment, my motivation to get lectures written seems to be directly proportional to the amount of interest I have in the subject ... I'm flying through the ones that I'm most comfortable with and avoiding others like the plague.