So… @dreev started this whole thing by linking everyone in our Slack chat a blog post by @drmaciver, Separating Impulse from Action, saying that it would be particularly relevant to me. It was immediately apparent why someone would think that from the opening paragraph:
Here’s a trick I figured out yesterday. It solves quite a specific problem that I have, but you might have similar problems, and even if not I think it demonstrates some useful general principles that could be applied in other circumstances.
The problem is this: I buy too many books.
So… yeah. I can, ah, I can see why someone might think this post is meant for me. And naturally my interest was piqued by the solution proposed, which is basically summed up in this paragraph:
Now when I want to impulse buy a book I instead just click the add to list button instead of the buy now button. Then, every Sunday, I go through the list and decide which of these books is the one I want to buy the most right now. In the course of doing so, I remove any books from the list that I’m definitely sure I won’t want to buy later.
I asked on Slack if I should try it, and @dreev was all in favour, so I decided to launch on the project, for at least two months, with the following caveats:
- Orders I’ve already made don’t count.
- I can save up towards a spree at a bookshop I like or as part of a trip (once that’s a thing again); this shall be done via a saving goal on YNAB, and the spree cannot be triggered until the goal is reached.
- I can still make preorders separate from this system, because they’re so important to the success of books (and I don’t usually have a problem with preorders).
I did have a long-ish debate with @adamwolf and @dreev yesterday about how exactly to implement this; I did ask their permission to include their comments, but in the end I solved the problem we were discussing myself. (The problem was “which day is new book day?” and the answer ended up being “you’re so indecisive that it’s obvious there’s no clear winner; book-ordering day is today, go!”)
Soooo, now I need to think up a Beeminder goal to go with it, because if I don’t enforce all that somehow I’ll mess it up. I’m stuck between do-more, because I just literally want to enforce buying a book every week (so I can’t stock up chances to buy a book), or a do-less, because I want to be constrained to one book a week. I almost need both. Or wait, a do-less with a safety buffer cap? I can’t think why that wouldn’t work now… Any thoughts, folks?
So anyway, my first pick was Invasive Aliens by Dan Eatherley. Let’s see how it goes!