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A cry for help: can anyone help this poor English major with some math? · 6:02am Feb 20th, 2020

Edit: Silent Whisper figured it out -- thank you!
I’ll leave this up in case anybody wants to look through it or discuss things, but I’m no longer in search of a solution! ^.^

Okay, this should be basic algebra, but so far it’s leaving me stumped when it comes to actually making it work...

I have a time tracking sheet, where I track how much time I’ve spent writing each day to see if I’m meeting my weekly goal of 32 hours per week. (An average of about 4.57 hours per day -- which will be important later.)

In row 12, I currently have it telling me how many hours per remaining day (not counting the current day) I’d have to write in order to hit 32 hours. Basically, if I made no more progress today, how much would I have to do the remaining days of the week? (If this is the last day of the week, row 12 just displays how much time is remaining -- equal to row 10.)

But as I’ve used this system, I’ve come to think it would be more useful if it answered a different question: How much more do I need to write today to bring my weekly average up to 4.57? (Or the roughly equivalent: How much more do I need to write today to get “total_remaining_time / number_of_days_remaining” to equal 4.57?) Basically, I’d like row 12 to tell me how far behind (or ahead) of schedule I am.

The number of days remaining is easy to get through google sheets formula, using the countblank() function. Google sheets can also incorporate simple if/then/else statements into formulas, if that helps. Format: if(condition,output if true,output if false)

It seems simple enough, but all my attempts at it so far have failed pretty miserably. That’s why I’m here crying for the help of someone who can math.

Just to help clarify things between me and anyone who responds, let’s define some variables (might not need them all, but it’s good to have them):
t = total amount of time achieved for the week
r = total amount of time remaining for the week = 32 - t
b = the number of blank cells in this week (aka, the number of days remaining)
a = average value of filled-in cells for the week = number_of_non-blank_cells / t
g = average value the blank cells would need to increase t to 32. = what’s currently displayed in row 12 = r / b
x = the value I want displayed on row 12: how much more I need to write today in order to bring my average for the week up to 4.57

(Or if you’re more comfortable working in Google Sheets, you’re free to make a copy of my time tracking sheet to play around with!)
The current formula I have in row 12 is:
=if(countblank(K2:K8)=7," ",if(countblank(K2:K8)>0,K10/countblank(K2:K8),K10))
Color coded:
This forces the cell to be blank if there’s no data for that week, reducing clutter.
Divide by zero protection. If there are zero blank cells for that week, it will execute the red part instead of the purple part.
Displays the simple amount of time remaining.
Displays the time remaining divided by the number of blank days remaining.

Basically, only the purple part really needs to change. The rest would probably remain exactly the same.

The frustration of trying to figure out what should be simple math is driving me up the wall! Can anybody more practiced in the mathematical arts figure this out more easily?

Report ocalhoun · 423 views ·
Comments ( 13 )

Is today the last day of the week? Or do you intend to track how much you need to write so that if you write on the other days for 4.57 hours youd be on track? Because then it should be... 32 - ((b*4.57) + t), right?

I took Trig twice in college, Calc I twice, and Calc II three times. If I had been required to take Calc III, I'd still be there.

Talk to Hap; he teaches math for a living.

If you haven't solved this by tomorrow afternoon, I'll probably be able to give you a working formula. For now, I must sleep.

Nice! ^.^ That seems to work! I’m glad somebody with a clear head could figure it out! ^.^
I’d gotten way too muddled with it. :facehoof:

Yeah, that’s about where I was stuck at.

:rainbowwild: I transferred between colleges and convinced the 2nd one that the ‘liberal arts math’ (where we learned to add fractions) was suitable as a prerequisite for calculus I. It very much wasn’t, but I didn’t want to spend time on remedial classes if I didn’t have to. So I jumped right into Calc1 with no background in precalc or trig. It turned out kind of okay. (Especially after I did an internet crash course of basic trig.) Most intellectually difficult class I’ve ever been through, and even giving it 100% effort, I barely scraped by with a C. But I did scrape by. C’s get degrees! ^.^ Fun times.

No need -- 5206356 figured it out!

You're most welcome! I'm currently in Calc 2 for the, er, third time... stuff was going on the first two and I'm doing fine now. Still, algebra isnt too hard for me and I'm glad I was able to help!

A shame I spotted this so late. I practically live in Excel and Google Sheets.

On a related note, have you considered instead going for a wordcount-per-day goal rather than an hours-per-week goal?

This is my bailiwick, but I've been beaten to the punch.

Uh-huh! And thank you again! It’s really taking a load off my brain!

Yeah, I do tons of stuff in Sheets, too! ^.^ Literally always have this time tracking sheet open. But I usually don’t do things too complicated with it.
And yes, I’ve thought about a word count goal, but...
- It takes away incentive to do some important parts that don’t contribute to word count, like publishing, responding to comments, proofreading and editing, planning, running contests, working on cover images and blurbs, etc...
- It gives a perverse incentive to pump out as much low-quality stuff as possible.
- It makes working on film scripts weird, since they’ll have lower word counts than regular prose fiction.
- I already have a word count incentive through Patreon -- I get paid per 10k words, so that’s more than enough incentive to just pump out words!

Yeah ... I’m surprised so many knowledgeable people responded. I was worried I wouldn’t get anything!

...huh. I never thought to apply a "payment by wordcount" system in Patreon. Not that I bother to use my Patreon to earn money anymore, but still, kinda wish I'd thought of that way back when I was. At ~2k words a day, I have to wonder how much I'd have earned.

Awesome, glad 5206374 was able to help you out. Good job pone!

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