Quant Self Intervention

Link to assignment brief 

I love technology, to do lists, and task management apps. I couldn’t think about life without them.  Imagine a world without Google maps?  What if Google calendar didn’t remind you of your favorite cousins birthday or other important events?

Honestly, I love lists and task tracking apps but I still can’t seem to find consistency. Generally, I switch between  yellow post-it notes and Trello.com. They both seem to “work” for me but each has its own purpose. I like post-it notes for current action items like “do laundry” or “Pick up food for pets” and Trello for long-term goals like “practice guitar posture and hand positioning” or “read two chapters from book x “.   I also have a habit of logging  completed goals from my post it notes/notebook to Trello for visual gratification.

I’ve been saving my post it notes all week; normally I complete a task on paper and immediately throw it away. I also love seeing strikethrough completed items on Trello because I believe it’s highly motivating.  I keep post it notes in every room for motivation and reminders — being able to physically SEE my goals increases the chances of completion.  Here are a few of my notes for the week.

I don’t necessarily feel like post it notes or notebooks are ineffective but they are less desirable in some ways. For one, notebooks are bulky and I tend to forget them at home if I swap bags. Further, notebook tracking is a bit archaic and its easy to fall behind on technological advances if I’m stuck in year 1919 using a black and white composition book for notes. Lastly, there are so many wonderful reasons why task management apps are favorable and preferred over physical note books but I still find my way back to a numbered list, pen and plain sheet of paper. Perhaps I’m tired of technology everywhere. It’s unavoidable and required in almost all that we do, it’s almost like there’s a penalty for not using tech. You miss out on current events, social interactions and experience delays or even complete rejection. I recently had to return items at a cashless store in Manhattan because I left my wallet home and they didn’t accept cash.

Quant Self Intervention

I want to try tracking my habits using digital tools only. No pen, pencil, notepad or notebook. To enforce this, I would put money on the line as a motivator. Companies like Beeminder and Stickk use behavioral economics to keep folks on track. For example Stikk does so by “utilizing the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability to drive behavior change.” One week worth of digital tracking to encourage a life long habit of tracking sans physical tools.

Maybe I’ll start with a smart pen first…