Do less tag time goals, an initial experience

I’ve previously tried to use do less goals (which I’m generally not a fan of) with tagtime (which I’m a huge fan of) to curb activities. In particular the amount of time I spend on Twitter.

Last time it didn’t go so well (which is an understated way of saying I absolutely hated it), but I feel particularly strongly about staying off Twitter right now so I thought I’d give it another try.

Initial experience seems much more positive. Some of this might be motivation, but I think the big difference is that I’ve set the goal to be incredibly lenient: Don’t spend more than an hour a day on Twitter (the fact that this turns out to even be at all hard reinforces the need for this goal I think).

This means that whenever I’m approaching the limits of the goal instead of going “Argh fuck you goal” my reaction is closer to “Whoops. Fair enough”.

A thing that I think also helps is that the goal lies between two pings. My pings are set to 0.4 hours, so two pings means “David you should get off Twitter because you currently have a safety margin but the next ping will take you over it”.

This has only been going for a few days now, so I’d give better than 50/50 odds that I’ll grow to hate it, but I thought it was interesting that it at least wasn’t obviously terrible, and that I’d post early to give me a place to record thoughts as this evolves, as I know that at least @dreev and @bee probably want to hear about how this goes. :slight_smile:

ETA: Also, just after starting this goal I got hooked on a new continuous partial attention game, so if it goes well and I don’t lose patience with the game I might be trialling a second one of these goals…


Can’t you do this with RescueTime? You can create a custom sub-category under social networking, and call it “Twitter”, then put the website, and any Twitter app you may have under that category.

That’s interesting though about the set number of pings, and knowing after how many pings you’d derail. :slight_smile:

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I do this woth RescueTime, also for Twitter, and it has been a resounding

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In principle, yes. In practice, I use tagtime for a variety of things, some of which can’t meaningfully be tracked in rescuetime because they require access to my internal state to be valid (e.g. sitting there spacing out with a book in front of me is very different from reading a book), and I’d rather stick to only one time tracking app.

Situation update: So far I’m still not hating this and it seems to have had a positvie fefect. I have also created a goal for gaming. So far in both cases I’m doing somewhat but not drastically more than the rather generous time I’ve allowed me, so I’ve been eating through my week of initial buffer and haven’t quite felt the pressure yet.

I’m also a bit confused about how do less goals interact with weekends off.


This seems to be working well. I’m looking at my timing graph and the graph has a nice shape of being consistently just a bit below the average.

I’m going to try lowering the rate a bit further so that it’s right on the lower bound where two pings is OK and 3 pings is bad (to 0.85 hours, where one ping = 0.4 hours). Will see how it goes.


Still going fine. Nothing much to report. My usage seems to have crept up recently so that I’m eating rather than gaining buffer, so that might be a problem in a few weeks.

Starting to wonder what all the fuss was about. Maybe I was just previously setting do less tag time goals on things I really didn’t want to do less of?


It turns out that when you say something might be a problem in a few weeks, a few weeks later it becomes a problem! Magic.

Have just realised I’m in the red for Twitter. Because of the weird way do less goals work I’ll be OK as long as I don’t go on Twitter tomorrow or at all more today. We’ll see how that works out for me…


Do you earn money in some way with twitter?
I don’t get why people use it so much if it’s not their source of income…