Advent 2022: 09. Daily 6 Days Per Week

The idea in today’s Advent Calendar post is so simple I hesitate to mention it but it works better than anything else for me for certain purposes.

There are some things that I would prefer to do every day but it’s not really critical. I use a Do More goal for each of them with the rate set to 6 per week (i.e., entering “6/7” per day when creating the goal), and I enter a datapoint of 1 when I do the activity.

This works so well for me because I know that with a bit of effort every day I can build up a safety buffer; I don’t have to “cheat” to get a buffer by scheduling a break (not that there is anything wrong with breaks when you need them!) The feeling of working towards a bigger buffer is rewarding. I like looking at a goal that’s not yet green and working out how many days of consistent performance I have to do before it will have enough buffer to still be green first thing in the morning.

When I see that my buffer is about 5 days or more, I feel happy about taking a day off. I’ve earned it! It’s a very different feeling than missing a day just because the goal isn’t red and I can get away with it.

These are the goals that I use this for:

  • Gratitude posts.
  • Getting to bed on time.
  • Getting out of bed on time.
  • Finishing my morning routine.
  • Eating responsibly all day.

For a couple of those goals, I let myself enter fractional values instead of 1, if I haven’t done the thing perfectly that day. For getting to bed on time, if I’m in bed no more than 10 minutes late, I can enter 0.5. That’s important because before I started allowing that, when I’d missed my bedtime by just a couple of minutes, I’d decide that I might as well stay up for hours longer. :scream:

CW eating

For my eating responsibly goal, I rate how well I achieved it over the day, and usually enter around 0.7 to 0.9. Again that’s important because if I allowed only 0 or 1, then as soon as I’d eaten, for example, too many spoonfuls of butter (yes, really), I’d just give up and eat anything at all for the rest of the day.

(“Eating responsibly” for me means that I am allowed to eat any type of food within reason, but not huge portions. If I want second helpings, I wait 20 minutes then decide if I’m still hungry. If I’m eating anything except vegetables, I need to pay attention to the food, and put the cutlery down while I finish each mouthful.)

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I often do this! Sometimes I feel the 7-day week is too tyrannical (how did our ancestors even come up with a 7 day week?), so I use 4/5 (for something I want to do 80% of the time) or 9/10 (90% of the time).

Fractional achievement is neat, though. It’s the same theory, but at the individual day level - 0.5 for I half-achieved this, and so on, I guess.

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Related: Fractional Beeminding | Beeminder Blog (I just reread it and still like it a lot!)

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