I have been trying to experiment with different ways of using Beeminder (Mary's Beeminder Experiments Journal) and my newest is as ill-advised, extreme, and convoluted to set up as any… and I’m super excited about it!
I’m locking myself into a 33-item daily (weekday) routine. Each item on the routine has a graph (some activities that are split have two, like starting work at a precise time in the morning and then restarting in the afternoon after my workout and lunch). Each graph as a deadline for an hour and a quarter after I should have started (so that my whole day can be shifted by an hour if I need to sleep in a little and so that there’s some buffer time to do data entry without having to email support to say that I did it on time but entered it too late. I would prefer not to have this buffer time but I have sleep issues and just skipping out on an extra hour of sleep when my body’s willing to take it isn’t a good idea.) I enter +1 when I start the activity (through a partially automated set-up). It’s the starting on time / starting in the right order, consistently, that I’m trying to reinforce, train myself into, and make into a natural habit.
My intention is to do this for 30 days during the weekdays (I have weekends off on all of these) and to try and get myself, by hook or by fire-baptism crook, to adjust to a specific new daily routine all at once. I expect this to be challenging! There’s a reason people suggest we only try to change one or two habits at a time and I’m very aware that I’m going against good advice in a rather extreme way, but I’m aware that it’s not the optimal way to make a new habit stick (or… 33 of them) and am trying it as a can-I-pull-this-off challenge that I hope might work rather than as a thing that I expect should or will be workable. And if I derail on all of them at once, it’s worth the $165 to me to give it that try.
I have set up a convoluted (but neat, if I do say so myself) shortcut in iOS that goes into a “Routine” view in OmniFocus, takes the next action, parses it for the Beeminder goal name, sends a +1 to Beeminder for that name (via email), takes me to OmniFocus to check that item off (waiting a few seconds so that I have the time to), and then takes me to Toggl, in case the activity is something I need to track in Toggl. (I’ve also set up a different shorcut for the watch, but it requires one extra tap due to some limitations and won’t take me to Toggl. Eventually, I intend to use “if” statements to start the Toggl automatically if it’s an activity that also has a Toggl goal.)
In the moment, my experience is just to quickly tap on the home screen icon, tap again when OmniFocus pops up in a sec, and then either tap start in Toggl, which has automatically opened, or just put my phone down. It’s actually pretty quick to do, but was a little long-ish to set-up. That’s just a one-time pain for a potentially huge gain though.
That gain: Getting my new, fairly complex routine to be second nature eventually… but… slightly less eventually than by adding one piece at a time. This is just the first step, since I’ll need to slowly take away one training wheel after another until it’s not something that needs any scafolding if it’s going to just be something I eventually am in the swing of doing. In the meantime, I hope to have a very nicely structured January to get 2021 off on the right foot. I imagine that if I were to manage to keep it up for all of January, I’d take a lot of progress on a number of personal items that I struggle to do more with because my time is too chaotically allocated right now.
Anyway… this is a terrible idea… but I’m excited to see how it goes!
[Edit: I’m only requiring 90% adherence to this. In other words, the daily rate is 0.9, with weekends off, which means that every ten days of following it, I will add a day of buffer, just to make it a little more reasonable! I’m not decided yet on what buffer I’ll start with on January 1st, either. Thoughts welcome.]