How many systems do you use?

Continuing the discussion from Precommitting to data points:

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I don’t agree completely with this notion of a single system. At best, I can see using a single system for each kind of thing. Striving to conflate them beyond a point seems like it’d start adding more complexity than it resolves. (But you did specify ‘QS stuff’, so it may just be that I’m not interested in QS as a category and have grabbed the wrong end of this stick!)

I’ve presently got an uncountable number of systems running in parallel. Here’s a flavour:

  • calendar for actual appointments and other fixed-time info
  • an exponentially aging ‘projects’ list to help limit what I think I can get done
  • a current final version perfected list of things to work through
  • tagtime and tocks for time tracking, with associated spreadsheets
  • more spreadsheets for financial projections and history
  • Beeminder for a bunch of things, notably including meta support for other systems

I do like to have many things flow into Beeminder, whether for tracking or committing. But it sure isn’t my only system, nor would I want it to be.

What do you all use to keep on top of your current-and-future lives?

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I don’t think you’re being fair to the context of the original discussion. Of course I’m not suggesting that you should do financial calculations in Beeminder instead of Excel.

But if the systems are:

  1. Reminders about commitment contract deadlines.
  2. Reminders about self-identified optimizations to #1.

I’d rather do them both in Beeminder rather than doing #2 in a different tool. That’s all I meant.

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Apologies. I knew that I was out of context and that you weren’t actually proposing anything like never using a calendar, just not for this kind of thing. Probably should’ve said so out loud.

Do you segregate the notions of projects/todo from commitments?

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I don’t have a good projects/todo system. :frowning:

I use Google Calendar with the “agenda email” feature (it emails you your daily agenda) which works well for things I’m highly motivated to do anyway (e.g. call someone on their birthday, go to that party, etc.).

Calendar ceases to be useful for me when either 1) the todo doesn’t have an intrinsic need to happen on a specific date, 2) I don’t want to do the todo. I am optimistic that GTBee will force me to do these things.

Now, let's consider GTBee because I think the same "number of systems" issue applies. If GTBee doesn't allow freebies, I can't use it for tracking poorly thought out things. [More detail.][1] You might say that GTBee shouldn't be in the business of tracking non-commitments since it is a commitment tool. But I'd rather use just GTBee instead of GTBee and Calendar both.

I think in both cases I'm suggesting that allowing more flexible use of a commitment tool makes it more useful rather than less useful. In the specific case of pre-commit data points, I feel this way primarily because they are backed up by a real Beeminder goal which cannot be akratically edited. I'm thinking of it more like a planning tool than a secondary commitment engine. Because if I wanted to commit I would just use the existing Beeminder. :)


I’ve been chatting with @yixler about this and we’re excited (at least in theory) about GTBee integration with google calendar. Either automatically putting GTBee deadlines on your calendar, or, maybe even cooler, automatically putting any calendar entry with “#gtb” into GTBee, due at the end time of the calendar entry.

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