October 21, 2011

Bulk view

Figuring out how to plan for a month

I’ve been doing weekly reviews since October 2006 (210 weekly reviews over ~260 weeks, or about 80% coverage), so I’ve got a good sense of what fits into a week. I’ve also consistently done yearly reviews I tend to do ones by age more than by calendar year, as I think it might be more useful in the long run. Monthly reviews and plans have been sporadic, though, and maybe that’s because I haven’t sufficiently distinguished them from weekly reviews.

I’m starting to figure out what months are useful for: experimenting with habits. A month is a good chunk of time to make one change to routines or habits. It might not seem like a lot, but if I assume a life expectancy of 90 years (quite generous), that’s still something like 750 months. If I assume that 25% of those months (~190 experiments) will successfully result in a 1% cumulative improvement in my quality of life, then than’s still almost 6.5x awesomer than if I didn’t. Of course, those are totally thumb-in-the-air estimates, and I’m not accounting for diminishing returns (or senescence, or distraction, or whatever). But the time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well. =)

Tracking will help me get an idea of my actual success or relapse ratio. It’s a little harder to quantify the magnitude of improvement, so I won’t worry too much about that. As I accumulate data, I’ll be able to ask more interesting questions.

Calculation function for Emacs Lisp, just in case this is useful for anyone else.

(setq sacha/life-expectancy 90)
(setq sacha/birth-date '(8 12 1983))
(defun sacha/memento-mori ()
  (interactive)
  (let* ((expected (list
                    (elt sacha/birth-date 0)
                    (elt sacha/birth-date 1)
                    (+ (elt sacha/birth-date 2) sacha/life-expectancy)))
       (days-left (- (calendar-absolute-from-gregorian expected)
                     (time-to-days (current-time)))))
    (message "~ %d years or %d months or %d weeks left; make the most of them!"
             (/ days-left 365)
             (/ days-left 30)
             (/ days-left 7))))

I should build this into my personal dashboard. Hmm…