Ah, wonderful. If you’re already tinkering in the API and seeing the sausage get made, I have some other idea/questions
Please do not interpret my questions here as a barrage of questions to tell you I don’t like your idea–but rather “I’ve been thinking about this on and off for a few years and haven’t yet come to a great conclusion :)”
For me, I want to know if I am keeping up, falling behind, or building buffer, and I want to know in general. I started by just logging the maximum number of beemergencies I have each day. It was an ok metric, but didn’t correspond super well to my capacity. I have since built a metric I call “urgency load”, which, for each goal, is 0 if it is due outside the akrasia horizon, and 8 points if it’s due today, and then linear between there. I sum them all up, and that’s my urgency load. I’ve maintained this metric for about a year, and it works super well at answering the question “can Adam take on a new opportunity right now”.
It isn’t a perfect metric. The name isn’t great. Some goals take 1 minute to do, and other goals take 4 hours to do–but I could scale the goal by effort or “story points” or time. (I also have an exclusions list for a few goals that I don’t want affecting this score.) If I have 100 goals with 30 days buffer, and I don’t do anything on them for 2 weeks, that doesn’t affect my urgency load at all.
Something I just started working on that is heavily related to urgency load is simply a single place to check where it tells me exactly what is due within the akrasia horizon across all of my goals, ordered by “first due”. Think someplace that says:
In the next week, you have committed to doing:
- 130 pushups
- flossing 5 times
- reading 45 pages of “The Priory of the Orange Tree”
- writing 1 blog post
The next metric I have been working on, that I want to play with alongside urgency load, has no name yet. It’s going to try to capture “Am I keeping up? Based on the recent past, am I off track?” I am taking snapshots of all my goals, throughout the day, and looking at the safety buffer. I don’t know exactly how I want it to work, but I’ll brainstorm and work some things out right here… I want to basically compare the change in safety buffer over a period of time, and the period of time will be related to the rate. If the rate is 10/day, I want to look at the change in safety buffer from today and yesterday. If the rate is 1 per month, I want to look at a larger period of time… maybe even a whole month. I have collected the inputs, but I need to take the time to actually crank through it and see how to build it and how to scale it. One way would be to look at the change in safety buffer from either the previous day, week, month, or year, and rank it in 3 categories, under, on, over, but I feel like smoothing it out would be better. If I need to do one per month, and I did one yesterday, am I more “on track” than on the 29th day after doing it? I have feeling that this mathematical approach is starting to boil down to “safety buffer / goal rate” and I don’t think that’s quite what I want. I want something closer to “how does my pace over the last X compare to the expectation I have set”. Maybe I’m really saying look at the derivative of safety days over time, with an understanding that the chunkiness of my approximation should be related to the goal rate. Anyway, now that I’ve talked my way around to Tai’s Model…
One of the complexities here is that goal rates don’t need to be constant, or even continuous. I would be OK with the first version for me only looking at the current rate, but to roll it out to folks, I’d have to think about weekends off and upcoming rate changes, but a better version of this new metric would take upcoming rate changes into account.
Beyond this metric, I’d like to be able to surface this information per goal in a way that is useful.