Beeminder Forum

Doe this count as fake data?

Let’s say I have a daily goal for tidying up (because I do). It is going swimmingly, to the point that one evening I have nothing to tidy. But let’s say also if I don’t tidy up, I’ll derail. Would it be wrong in this case to lie and say I tidied up when I didn’t? I feel like it is, but I also feel like it wouldn’t be right to derail and have to pay up just because I’m winning so hard.

I’d be inclined to either add my point with a note saying there was nothing to tidy, or to “allow” something to get out of place to give me something to tidy so a (semi-) legitimate point could be added. Is there a better solution?

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Personally I’d define the goal as an inbox-zero type goal, such that I’m allowed to add a data point if no tidying is necessary because I got to the tidied state.

Whatever you decide, the important part is probably making it explicit in your fine print going forward.

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I would go with defining the goal as “is everything tidy today, or if not, did I make progress toward tidiness?” and +1 if yes.

I use Tody to track chores, so my housework is basically “Tody zero” in place of inbox zero. (I totally recommend the app, by the way; it’s kicked my butt so much but our flat is much, much nicer to live in now. It nags us about each chore on a regular basis, so we can’t get in the hole again. Wooo.)

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Another similar approach: temptation bundling. Pick some indulgent activity, like watching Netflix, and define the goal as “hours of tidying or watching Netflix”. The only rule is that you can only choose the Netflix option if there’s no more tidying to do.

I have mixed feelings about this because the graph is less meaningful from a Quantified Self perspective. You could mitigate that by adding hashtags or something in the datapoint comments so that in principle the underlying data could be extracted: total hours tidying, separate from total hours Netflixing.

PS: I’ve tried this approach myself and didn’t stick with it. I didn’t want to allow myself too much Netflix-watching so I kept the slope pretty conservative and in practice it never let me watch Netflix at all. Then sometimes I still wanted to watch Netflix but that would be cheating per the temptation-bundling rule, so that was annoying. I guess my advice is to pick an indulgent thing that you’re ok with never doing if your Beeminder goal doesn’t end up allowing it.

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I’ve done temptation bundling slightly differently, by having a do-less goal for some indulgent activity and allowing myself to enter negative data points for the bundled positive activity to “earn” more indulgence. I’ve found that to be quite effective. And maybe it’s better for QS since you could filter for just negative or positive data points when doing analysis?

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Thanks, y’all!

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