ELI5 Autoratchet

Hi folks,

I have an autoratchet for my focusmate goal. I never want more than 3 days of buffer so I set autoratchet to three. Somehow the goal is at 5+ days before my first focusmate today. I thought it would reset to 3 at midnight. What am I missing?


Hi! Hmmm. Sounds kind of counterintuitive and not what I’d expect, but there are a few cases where the ratchet might not run. :thinking: Without seeing your goal, it’s difficult to be sure, but I would note that autoratchet wouldn’t ratchet away any planned breaks. Do you have any breaks set, or weekends off, perhaps?


Thanks for engaging on my question. I really appreciate it. The only breaks I have on it are weekends.
The goal is

  • 3 sessions a day
  • weekends off (so ATM it shows
    increase rate 3 through 2023.10.20 then rate 0 through 2023.10.22, then rate 3 through
  • autoratchet 3 days

Hmm, I would expect that it’s the weekends off that causes it not to ratchet, then – in order to get rid of the extra buffer, it’d have to remove some of your weekend. It’s not supposed to do that, since obviously it’d be a bit of a surprise to find that the two features were mutually exclusive.

You can manually ratchet away your weekend, of course, but then you won’t automatically get it back!

Usually, the autoratchet works as conservatively as possible to ensure that you won’t get breaks/weekends removed unexpectedly, and won’t end up with your goal due on a weekend (or any other time you’ve specifically set to a rate of 0).

Does that all make sense? :thinking:


Thank you for trying to explain. I think maybe I’m not advanced enough to understand how the ratcheting works with weekends off. I have a more straightforward scenario:

I have a different goal to get 5000 steps a day. No breaks. Auto-ratchet is checked and set to 0. Earlier today it said I had 3482 steps and didn’t need any more steps for today. The goal is orange and not red. What could explain this behavior? There must be something quite basic that I don’t understand. Like I’m missing a checkbox or something.

If it’s not some sort of weekends off/break, what could explain auto-ratchet not requiring the full goal? You mentioned it’ works as conservatively as possible and I’m not sure what that means in this scenario.

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If you don’t have a full extra day of buffer, it won’t trigger. For instance, say my goal is 100 units per day. I’m in the red today, I want to be in the red every day, and I do 202 units, giving me an extra day of buffer. At midnight, my goal will ratchet, making 100 units due. But if I do 150 units, I haven’t gained a full day of buffer, and the ratchet won’t run; I’ll only have to do 50 units the next day.

If you really want to have to do the exact amount each and every day, that’s a bit more complicated. The custom aggday “skatesum” can do that, but has some downsides (it acts strangely when your rate changes, for example). Sometimes in those cases I’d suggest simplifying your goal and instead of tracking the number of units you did in a day, it’s “did I meet my goal”; +1 for yes, no entry for no, and no opportunity to ever gain buffer, without needing a custom aggregation method.

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Thank you so much for explaining that. Using the numbers in your example:

100 at midnight → new goal 100
101 at midnight → new goal 99
102 at midnight → new goal 98

198 at midnight → new goal 2
199 at midnight → new goal 1
200 at midnight → new goal 100
201 at midnight → new goal 100

999 at midnight → new goal 100

If I could ask one more question: what is the philosophy here? Autoratchet is only about making it so you have some goal every day. It’s not about making every day have the same minimum. Is that it?

I can look into skatesum a bit because this a goal with autogenerated data. I can’t make it just be 1. Or when you say “+1 for yes” are you saying like a metagoal?

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The philosophy is not to gain more than X days of buffer. That’s really as complicated as it gets, unfortunately. :sweat_smile: It’s not designed around “make a certain amount due every day”, which I think is what people end up expecting – it’s just “unless you have deliberately set some extra buffer, we won’t let you accumulate more than X days where you don’t have to be on track”.

What I was suggesting was not using autodata at all, and just using manual data entry. I’m a fan of keeping things simple and deliberate, sometimes! Skatesum basically means you can never change your rate (without a lot of fuss), so I’d be cautious about using it, but it’s definitely an option!