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Saturday, April 19, 2014
And we should definitely hold ourselves to a much higher standard than "doesn't suck any more than it would otherwise". It's a good thing I don't have that particular problem, for which I don't really have a good solution, and I'm perfectly aware how poor track record of all existing "solutions" is when they are put to actual rigorous trial.
Anyway, as I said before, things that have good beeminder goal and measure go well and quite reliably so for me, but everything else - well, sometimes it does, often it doesn't. And I have a huge number of extremely important projects I need to keep pushing forward, and many of them haven't been moving as much as I'd like. Of course I can take the nuclear option of just dropping everything and taking a few months off mo get things I want done, but it's a good idea to try a few less drastic courses of action first. And for that matter to make sure if I ever go all the way, it will be highly efficient use of my time.
Idea #1: Per-project measures. One way would be to setup twenty or whatever number of measures, one for each project, but that's a ridiculous overkill, especially on beeminder which doesn't work that amazingly for things that move forward less often than once a week. One sort of workable thing would be to setup tracking for top 3 projects, and for the rest, well, "it won't suck any more than it would otherwise". I never seriously attempted that, and even beeminder discourages having too many beeminder goals.
Idea #2: Tracking time. What I actually tried at first was getting pomodoro timer and counting time spent on any project on the projects list, with beeminder target. This was a miserable failure, since time has very little relationship with progress, and such system just assumes single-tasking and no interruptions - both things which are just completely incompatible with my reality. It was a miserable failure for me.
Idea #3: Track everything. For this I skipped beeminder, since I wanted tracking, not necessarily a target, at least not initially. Everything, on my lists or not, which changed state of the world in direction I wanted, got a +1. It was extremely broad definition on purpose, and I did it for a month with +163/day average. And things were sort of moving forward fast, just not the important things. I'd say it way not very successful, and I don't think adjusting point criteria or explicit target would make much difference.
Idea #4: Priority tasks. Finally I took the opposite approach, lowered all other beeminder targets by about 1/3 to make sure I have time for it, set up a very short list of extremely high priority tasks, with a target of 1/day. 3 weeks later, it's not amazing, but it's been working considerably better than any of my earlier attempts, which were total failures. My first idea was to limit the priority list to just 3-5 items, but it has tendency to grow, and I have to trim it back regularly, moving things back to regular todo lists.
That's it for today. No real solution, but I hope my self-experiments will be useful to others as well.