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Feb. 2nd, 2015 @ 11:46 pm Habit RPG
Numberland said HabitRPG had improved a lot, so I decided yesterday afternoon to follow through on my plaintive question, why can't I gamify the rest of my life like I got addicted to Ingress? Random thoughts:

It has what I wished beeminder had, a list of tasks you may or may not have done today, and you can check them off quickly without having to go to a separate page with lots of options for each one.

I made _lots_ basically all the things I regularly try to do, fun and productive, organised by category. Rather than give myself rewards of "watch tv/read book" which often gives me perverse incentives, I made those things other habits to build, and trusted future-Jack to do the tasks he wants to do, and not game the system by doing the ones that get the most points with least effort. I LOVE clicking on buttons, but I like clicking on hard buttons as much ore more as easy buttons :)

I immediately noticed a perverse incentive, when my brain started saying "don't do that now, wait till you're by a computer and will remember to enter it on the website". So I made a habit for "do a task even if I forget to fill it in" to train myself to do that sometimes :)

Which makes the point, of literal habit-building -- of conquering the perverse impulse to think "I should do that, no, maybe not" and head it off, not necessarily of forcing myself to do something I don't want to do. I don't know if it will work, but I made a couple of mental-habit-forming habits, "was tempted to procrastinate for no reason but didn't", "was tempted to put off speaking to someone in person but didn't" etc.

The number of things I said I wanted to do is LOTS, I see why systems of committing to a certain number per week didn't work before...

For me, it has the right amount of trust. You can always reset your values if you actually need to, but it's designed to funnel you into avoiding fudging. Beeminder's "commit RIGIDLY in advance" was maybe-maybe-not helpful for getting me started on habits, but was much too inflexible for me on most things. For the big habits I want to do come what may, then "every day, except medical emergency" is right. But there's lots of habits I want to build MOST days but accept that sometimes I won't have time, and beeminder didn't really focus on that.

I like the idea of building up a little avatar. I'm not sure about special powers, etc.

I wish all the habits showed how often you'd done them today. Partly so I can make sure I've clicked the right number of times. And partly so I can see how I'm doing overall.

I wish there was a control for how fast habits decayed. I want some that I need to repeat on the scale of hours, and others on the scale of months. I think this is one (of very very many) proposed features so hopefully it will pop up one day.

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Date:February 3rd, 2015 09:50 am (UTC)

flexibility of beeminder

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Aww, we have an elaborate blog post about how Beeminder strikes such a beautiful balance between precommitment and flexibility -- http://blog.beeminder.com/flexbind -- but more important for us to focus on is how it fails to convey that well (without reading blog posts).

The short version is that you can either maintain some safety buffer so you're always ready to take a day off when needed, or you can dial down the steepness of the "yellow brick road". The latter takes a week to take effect.

If you know all about that and still find Beeminder flexibility lacking we'd be super grateful to hear more!

That said, HabitRPG is awesome and it's not that I think you should use Beeminder instead of HabitRPG. In fact, we have an official Beeminder+HabitRPG integration now: http://blog.beeminder.com/habitrpg
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Date:February 3rd, 2015 11:15 am (UTC)

Re: flexibility of beeminder

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Thank you for responding to my posts! I'm sorry they're not in your usual feedback channels :)

I think it's partly "beeminder and habitRPG fulfil different niches" -- I will probably keep using beeminder for some goals (ones I DO want to make a firm commitment to, especially ones with an average rate over a week), but use HabitRPG for other things -- making 50+ goals, some for every day, some for "some time this month" and eg. rapidly checking off a morning routine, which I did and which I didn't, without having to track exactly where each one is. (Tho' I don't know for sure, I've only been using HabitRPG for 36 hours :))

However, I think it's partly that beeminder doesn't do some things I want. When I started using beeminder, I started with a goal of going to the gym, which I was at serious risk of procrastinating on, because it was intimidating. Having a reminder "I committed to go today, so I just will, no excuses" was perfect.

But now, that problem is fixed! There's no regular things I lie to myself about and put off. I've been regularly going to the gym twice a week for nearly two years, even when I've had a safety buffer and not needed to. Beeminder fixed my akrasia, and fixed my life. It's amazing, thank you!

However, that means, I've lots of goals I want to do regularly, but I don't have the problem of "I've nothing else to do, but I just can't do this" or "I'm lying to myself and telling myself something else is more urgent than this". I have the problem of "I have 50 things to do -- which?"

That means, all the week-long anti-akrasia weasel-proofing which beeminder is built around doesn't help me any more and actively inhibits me. Two years ago, if I'd been able to adjust goals at will without waiting a week, I might have done it when I was down to the wire and told myself there was a good reason. Now, that's not a problem -- I know the difference between "I genuinely want to adjust the rate because my expectations were unrealistic" and "I should have been able to do it but I failed" and "something ACTUALLY more important came up" and I'm not inclined to cheat.

For one or two goals, I can say "this is top priority over everything but medical emergencies". But for lots of goals, I don't easily know what I want to commit to, I want something aggressive enough it drives me to do it several times a week when I have time, but does allow weeks when I'm too busy. And beeminder just isn't built for that. I can fake it by building up buffer, but that removes a lot of the feedback -- if I have a dozen goals all with two weeks of buffer, it's hard to say which is most urgent. I HAVE done that with a lot of success, but it's more of a habitRPG "do as much as you can" thing than a beeminder "do this minimum or else" thing.

I'm very pleased by the integration, I might well use that to put actual resolutions in beeminder, and habit-building, general aspirations, and so on in habitRPG.
Date:February 3rd, 2015 09:15 pm (UTC)
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Beeminder - is there the possibility for some cross-pollination with getstungbymillionsofwasps.com?
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Date:February 8th, 2015 10:00 pm (UTC)

covered in bees

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What kind of cross-pollination do you have in mind?