Friday, September 6, 2019

Breaking streaks

This week I decided to ditch daily electronic to do lists altogether—even for the recurring and electronic tasks. Late nights due to internet access have still been an issue.

Electronic devices can far too easily hold my attention, and make me constantly check to see if there's something else to do.

Swipes is one of the most effective at this. While this is powerful for helping ensure things get done, it's too powerful if it feeds internet addiction.

One of the hooks used to do this is with streaks. That is, Have I completely cleared today's to do list each day, and then the streak is for how many days that is continuously true.

The crazy thing in Swipes is the streak count was only local to the app instance on a device. It was not account-dependent. I had the app logged in to the same account on two different devices, and streaks were counted differently on each device depending on when each app instance was used and cleared. There was no track record with my account itself.

However, because the confirmation on the main screen that I am done for the day is the streak count itself, this made the streak an especially powerful central thought in the use of that app.

Any task set to be done in the evening (like wireless plan use account rollovers) created an especially high risk of breaking the streak, increasing the likelihood of checking the device more often in the evening. Hence, the daily to-do streak had to go.

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