Someone asked me an akrasia question today and I don’t think I answered it satisfactorily, so I’m posting it here.
Here’s the skinny: a friend and I get on a daily phone call for an addiction recovery discipline. It’s been highly effective – each morning we can kinda plan out our days, talk about any dangers, etc. It’s like a daily version of Beeminder’s akrasia horizon, and I’m sure we’re not the first ones to do it: if it’s a risky day we check in with texts regularly, if the risk is unknown we develop flexible plans, and if the day’s risk free then we just continue the daily check in discipline. Easy peasy.
Yesterday he relapsed, and I think the main reason was that he was fed up with tracking his habits and planning his days. Beeminder has been incredibly effective for me on a host of habits, and I also use Habitica and Toggl and RescueTime and HeyFocus – I love tracking habits, watching things iterate their way up, feeling like I have a psychological construct that allows me to Adult with Purpose. You guys all know this, probably, since you’re on the app.
But some days I get where he’s coming from. I’ve had those days, where this thing feels more Sisyphean than busy bee-in’, and you just want a “day off.” Whatever that means. My buddy’s problem yesterday was that he threw out his Flossing Habit (or whatever he also tracks) and his Addiction Recovery Habit on the same day – it was either Track Everything And Feel In Control, or give it all up.
I’m not sure I’m asking this question right. I know Beeminder the product allows for off days – that’s why you have buffers and all that. I’m more asking about Beeminder the lifestyle: what do you guys do when you don’t want to track your habits or think responsibly, when it feels frustrating and maybe a little boring? What do you do tactically to give yourself a break without just breaking down?