Annual Review

ts annual review time for me – and I don’t know how it works for you but my forms include the question:

Are you satisfied with your progress this year?

It fills me with an unnameable dread.

I am not sure what level of progress would satisfy my hyper self-critical brain but I do know I haven’t done it. I also know that without guidance from my supervisors I would set impossible targets for myself, but that its also vital not to retro-fit targets just to make my life more comfortable. Nonetheless clearly I need to make a reasonable appraisal of what I have achieved and follow this up with my plan for next year.

So in the middle of the PhD process how do you measure your progress?

In a straightforward manner I began with counting words. A thesis is a target length and I had x number of words strung together 12 months ago now Word tells me that there are y number. Hoorah! Its a positive increase – but its not very dramatic in terms of overall percentage, is it enough?

Well, that’s not the whole story for the year. In fact I even culled thousands of words out of one chapter and rewrote large sections of another more concisely to make it clearer, but you can’t measure that in a word count. So a new draft, that’s got to be progress – especially when it follows from supervisors comments. But is it satisfactory?

And all this brings me back to targets. How well have I matched the targets I agreed with my supervisor last year? Or perhaps more importantly how well have I matched the smaller monthly targets I have been setting for myself?

Ah well I’ll save my answer for the annual review; but out of curiosity how do you measure your progress? And how often?

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