Joined: 19 Apr 2010 Posts: 1570 Location: London, UK
Posted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:24 am Post subject: HabitCal Musings
I have found HabitCal increasingly useful - I keep adding in new things I want to do regularly - but I wish there was a way to modify it to reward me for my intended behaviour when it doesn't conform to the N day/S day pattern. For example, I do some things that really don't need to be daily, but HabitCal won't give me a gold medal for that
Also I'm wishing that there were a more graded level of evaluation of a day's behaviour possible - more colours, perhaps to mark degrees of satisfaction with a day's behaviour? For example, I'm thinking of making a new category for my use of my rowing machine - I'd like to be able to mark whether I did only 10 minutes, or perhaps 20, or 30 - it would add a valuable dimension.
HabitCal is a fine tool, generally I've been able to increase my performance of certain desirable activities - but it's a bit fuzzy - some things need evaluating for more than did it/didn't do it. It would be nice if that were available.
Joined: 12 Apr 2005 Posts: 5756 Location: Cambridge, MA
Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:36 pm Post subject:
I've intentionally kept the habitcal very simple -- both for technical reasons (the simpler it is the easier it is for me to maintain and debug) and (more importantly) for psychological ones: if I give the option for more gradations, people will be tempted to use them, even if (as is almost always the case) they should not. It may seem crude, but the clarity of success/failure/exempt is critical for habit formation. It may seem like you should get "extra" credit for days when you do extra much, but it's actually far more important in terms of long term habit to do anything at all on those days when you're stressed and in a rush and don't feel like it but somehow do it anyway. If anything, those minimal "10 minute" days are the days for which you'd deserve extra compensation. Giving yourself the full, standard green is the least you can do to reward and incentivize such behavior.
In terms of less regular activities that can't quite be expressed in terms of the habitcal, sometimes all you need to do is reformulate them a bit. For example, I have lots of stuff I need to do every day. Lots of different stuff. Some is repeating, some not, and they change all the time. If I stuck each such activity into the habitcal (or any tracking system, I think) it would soon be total chaos. But I use that power of the habitcal to track this stuff anyway. How? With a single "tasks" habit. I keep a daily todo list and if I accomplish all my tasks, I reward myself with a green tick on the habitcal in for "tasks." If I don't, I give myself red. So basically, I batch all the irregular stuff into one regular, trackable unit. My tasks are variable, but the fact that I have tasks is not, and so that's what I track.
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