Tools to Boost Motivation and Productivity

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 17, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


As a creative writer Lars prefers using Word 365, but it is missing tools to boost motivation and productivity that he finds in some other word processors. For instance, Lars thinks it would be nice to have a way to set a writing goal in words and then let the tool count down as he writes. Or, perhaps generate statistics on how many words he writes per hour. He wonders if there is any add-on that can provide such tools in Word.

There is an add-in available that purports to do this called "1 Should Be Writing." You can find it in the Microsoft Store, even though it is free. To find this add-in, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Developer tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Add-ins tool. (Don't click the Word Add-ins tool; the two are easy to confuse.) Word displays the Office Add-ins window.
  3. Click the Store link at the top of the window or the Office Store button in the middle of the window. (The Office Store button appears only if you have no add-ins installed.) The window is filled with various add-ins available from the Microsoft Store.
  4. In the Search box (upper-left corner of the window) enter the text "I should be writing" (without the quote marks) and press Enter. The contents of the window are updated to show only search results.

At this point you should see the "I Should Be Writing" add-in as the first search result. You can click on it to get more details. The thing I noticed, right off the bat, is that the add-in doesn't have that great of a rating—as of this writing, only 2 stars out of 5. Even so, it may work for your purposes, and since it is free, there is no risk in trying it out.

A quick search for similar add-ins using terms like "goal," "motivate," and "statistics" turned up no other add-ins that will do what Lars wants. That being said, there may be other add-ins available, outside of the Microsoft Store ecosystem, that could provide the features Lars wants. I invite anyone to share their ideas in the comments, below.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13706) applies to Microsoft Word 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is one more than 0?

2019-12-01 10:23:10

Ken Endacott

For a more accurate count of words change the following statements:

StartCount = ActiveDocument.Words.Count
StartCount = ActiveDocument.Range.ComputeStatistics(wdStatisticWords)

NowCount = ActiveDocument.Words.Count
NowCount = ActiveDocument.Range.ComputeStatistics(wdStatisticWords)

2019-11-30 19:44:49

Ken Endacott

The following macros will place a small window at the top left of the screen to display the total number of words, the number added in the current session and the number added in the last hour. The totals are updated every minute.

Along with the macros it is necessary to create a user form of any size with the name ‘UserForm1’ and place in the form a label control called ‘Label1’. These are default names when created with the Visual Basic editor.

The macros and userform should be placed in a template file with a .dotm extension and the template file stored in the STARTUP folder. After re-starting Word the InitialiseWordCount macro can the run from the Developer > Macros command. Alternatively, the macro can be run from a button on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Clicking on the x at the top right of the counter window will close the window and after a minute will shut down the macros.

Instructions on how to setup macros, templates and QAT buttons are available in various WordTips tools.

The counter will work in versions of Word from 2010 or higher. It will not work in Word for Mac. A shortcoming is that switching to another document will shut down the timer and the count will freeze.

Dim k As Long
Dim NowCount As Long
Dim StartCount As Long
Dim HourCount As Long
Dim OneMin(59) As Long

Sub InitialiseWordCount()
With UserForm1
.StartUpPosition = 0
.Left = 0
.Top = 0
.Width = 102
.Height = 54
.Caption = "Word counts"
With .Label1
.Left = 6
.Top = 0
.Width = 84
.Height = 28
End With
.Show vbModeless
End With
StartCount = ActiveDocument.Words.Count
For k = 0 To 59
OneMin(k) = StartCount
Next k
HourCount = StartCount
k = 0
End Sub

Sub WordCount()
If Not UserForm1.Visible Then Exit Sub
NowCount = ActiveDocument.Words.Count
UserForm1.Label1.Caption = _
Str(NowCount) & " total in doc" & vbCrLf & _
Str(NowCount - StartCount) & " in session" & vbCrLf & _
Str(NowCount - OneMin(k)) & " in last 60 mins"
OneMin(k) = NowCount
k = k + 1
If k > 59 Then k = 0
' ----- loop back in one minute -----
Application.OnTime Now + TimeValue("00:01:00"), "WordCount"
End Sub

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