Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to the result. – Bob Proctor
Let me preface by saying that I’m no stranger to time management – for years now I’ve been using time-tracking apps in order to maximise my productivity. But recently I’ve taken this to a whole new level by combining time-tracking directly with habit change.
I’ll explain: technology has now brought us the status update. Anywhere in the world you can get an internet connection you can tell the world what you’re doing.
But instead of taking a selfie for Instagram I’ll be using this technology for something more useful – a 24/7 status update.
I’ll be experimenting with streaming what I’m doing 24/7 to see how it affects productivity, happiness and every other aspect of my life.
In doing so I hope to utilise one of the strongest motivators for habit change – accountability. By having others able to see what you’re doing on a permanent basis, it can be a powerful motivator for sticking to your goals.
This Lifestream also uses another golden rule of habit change – immediate feedback. Whilst monthly reviews are brilliant for insight, the problem is that they’re monthly.
This means that you can go about for a whole month doing all sorts of detrimental actions to your goals (e.g. drinking fizzy drinks) without any sort of negative feedback until you look back on your lack of progress a whole month later (delayed feedback).
If on the other hand we had immediate feedback (e.g. an electric shock every time we picked up a fizzy drink) then we’d learn the behaviour-consequence link much quicker. I won’t be using an electric shock but I’ll instead be leveraging instant accountability by having an overview of my daily activities available online to anyone at any time.
Not saying that I expect people to be tweeting me whenever I’m procrastinating (or even that I’d want that), but I think that even in just knowing that my actions are potentially being watched should aid my willpower.
At least – that’s the idea. Like all habit experiments it might have no effect at all, so this is why it’s being tested out. I’ll report back on the findings after a good period of testing.
Here’s my Lifestream below:
I’ve grouped my daily activities into four overarching categories with up to five activities for each category.
Scroll your mouse over the image below for explanations of each activity
The categories allow me to quickly see my balance of time e.g. if a day has too much blue then I’ve been relaxing too much and not spending enough time socialising, analysing or on action. The currently defined activities and categories are bound to change over time but right now this makes a lot of sense based on how I typically work.
Now that this experiment has begun I’m especially curious to examine the effects of Lifestreaming on my:
- Focus and mental endurance
Keep watching the Habitstream page for more updates and the findings as this experiment progresses.
Many thanks to David Achkar for inspiring this experiment and providing me with the background needed to make this habit easy and sustainable.