kaberett: Euphorbia cf. serrata, green crown of leaves/flowers central to image. (spurge)
[personal profile] kaberett
Every time I hear about IfThisThenThat I get briefly excited; similarly with respect to [twitter.com profile] pjf's Exobrain... and then I remember that they work with computer-based events, not with, for what of better terminology, embodied events.

BeeMinder and HabitRPG to some extent try to do this: rewards for keeping up with "habit-forming" and "goals", with penalties for falling behind. Lots of other places do this kind of thing, too: Codecademy I stopped using at the point at which they presented you with a great big "you've coded X days in a row" wossname you couldn't get rid of; [personal profile] sophie wrote a Greasemonkey script to hide the equivalent on Github; and so on. The reason these fundamentally don't work for me is, of course, that I'm chronically ill in ways that mean (1) the model of "do the thing every day without fail" is frequently actively harmful to me, and (2) the incentives to modify behaviour this way often override my sense of self-preservation, such that I either do things I really shouldn't be, or I feel awful for not doing them.

RememberTheMilk also isn't right for me. SuperBetter is the closest thing I've met to what I need - repeating tasks to be done at one's own pace, accumulating points & levelling up & such for doing them, without negative effects for needing to take some damn time off.

This is the reality of my chronic illnesses: I stopped brushing my hair every day when my depression got proper bad back in 2011, and I haven't managed to restart. My hair is waist-length. Dealing with my hair when it has gone unbrushed for a week is unpleasant and time-consuming. Living with the sensory distress caused by my hair being a mess is unpleasant. And it is still sometimes the case that my decision-making ability is so fucked that I need to conserve it for more important things, like eating or doing my dayjob. (Much as one can have tea spoons and table spoons and dessert spoons, I find I have social spoons and walking spoons and decision-making spoons.) (There is a post I am going to write, one day, about intimacies: about what it means to me that That One Lady likes to brush my hair and I will let her; about what it means to me to glance up from across the room and realise That One Gent is casually using my wheelchair as a footrest. This is not that post.)

It does not just apply to hair, where the issues range from "motivation" to "energy" to "my hands are too fucked" (if I can do a limited number of tasks that require repetitive hand motions, brushing my teeth is higher up the list than brushing my hair). It covers everything: from getting out of bed to showering to physio to, as I say, eating regular meals.

And what none of these things I have mentioned actually do - a thing I really, really want - is externalise the decision-making, the executive-function, part of the process, to remove at least the entry-barrier of "I can't remember how to". Yes, it's possible to write up long-hand notes about how to brush my hair or have a shower and stick them up somewhere that I can see them - but that doesn't have the granularity I need. What I'd really, really like is something that'll prompt me:

--> get out of bed
--> you've got out of bed! great! Next: brush your teeth. (Tell Me More)
--> you've brushed your teeth! great! Next: have a shower. [Tell Me More]
---> turn the lights on
---> is there a towel in the bathroom? If yes, continue. If not, fetch one from bedroom.
---> make shower curtain be in the right place (Tell Me More)
---> get into bath
---> turn on water flow
---> etc etc etc.

I don't know of anything quite like this that exists - that does "if this, then that" for daily routines where the concept of "habit-building" is fundamentally incompatible with how some brains work (I can forget how to shower, okay, that is something I have done unsupervised most days for about 15 years). I don't know how I'd make this work with the tech I have; I suspect if I decide to write it I'll end up with a smart device of some description. I don't know quite how to deal with respectful reminders (i.e. things that won't just make me hide from the device) -- but damn if I could get that kind of care without having to take up another human's time and energy I'd be all over it.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-24 10:49 pm (UTC)
fascination: Someone walking through a colourful city. (Promenade.)
From: [personal profile] fascination
Yes, I think this would be helpful for loads of people who have executive-functioning problems. I find externalising it helps me too - some form of accountability, whether it's being prompted by a person or through something automated. Not everyone can do the same things every day, whether it's because of brain-wiring or chronic illness or something else that affects their ability to do executive functioning. And YES to having different kinds of spoons: there are work spoons, daily-living task spoons, creativity spoons &c; they're not a monolithic resource, I've found.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 01:09 am (UTC)
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (Default)
From: [personal profile] jjhunter
If I were to design such a thing, it would be a simple script-type app where you could set a reminder nudge for X time (or plug in times I might want nudges, and then manually set them as needed) where the nudge was a sound + the initiation of a script:

"Do you want a prompt?" (Yes!) (Not now) (all set for today)

If yes, [following [personal profile] kaberett's script above] "Have you gotten out of bed?" (Yup) (Nope) (Stop prompting)

Nope -> "Get out of bed" -> (I done it! All set) (I done it — prompt me again?) (Stop prompting)

Yup --> "You've got out of bed? Great! Next: brush your teeth" (Already done!) (Not yet) (Tell me more) (Stop prompting)

etc. etc.

where essentially you could zoom through variations on yup! already done! etc. etc. (maybe 'Skip for now' on some) through the sequence for whatever parts are done (hurrah for accomplishment), and then when you hit a part not done yet, you've got a prompt to do the thing or do each subset of the thing. Maybe options to pause or get out of the sequence would be on the side; maybe instead of iterating the prompt, it would be 'prompt to do the thing!' and then if you want next prompt, you hit 'thing done! /awesome/ — want another prompt?' or whatever. I like the idea of want a prompt? / prompt me again! dynamic — frames 'getting out of bed' etc. as the achievement things they are.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 04:35 am (UTC)
birke: (Default)
From: [personal profile] birke
In other words, you need a Jarvis. :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 09:37 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (kimi ni todoke question mark)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
I bookmarked this ages ago & haven't investigated it, not sure if any of it at all might be useful? (The bit about being able to put in as detailed instructions for tasks as you like, maybe?)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] semanticsgirl
This sounds like a fun programming project! I'd be up for working on it, if I could find others.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 10:12 am (UTC)
raze: A man and a rooster. (Default)
From: [personal profile] raze
Ooh, something that would prompt thusly would be AMAZING.

And: sympathies on the woes of working through tangled long hair when one has hand problems. Part of what convinced my to chop off my own own below-the-arse-length mane was how unbearable dealing with it every day with arthritis and periodically weak/numb/malfunctioning hands was.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 03:08 pm (UTC)
lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (Default)
From: [personal profile] lizcommotion
I go through stages of "I want to grow my hair out"; "Hair is getting enjoyable to play with!"; "Hair is getting hard to manage!"; "Buzz it to my skull! Because haircuts tend to squick me out somehow idek." Repeat.

And this prompt would be TOTALLY AMAZING. Especially if there were something for my low blood pressure/heat intolerance and the shower reminding me not to make the water too hot and to get out when I start feeling dizzy/my feet turn purple (or preferably, before then).

Also something that would coax me *into* the shower because see above for why not usually a fun place anymore.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 12:41 pm (UTC)
mair_in_grenderich: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mair_in_grenderich
I have no idea now if a practical implementation exists, but at the time I did my PhD (2005-2009) I was reading papers about prototypes of such things which were being built for people with Alzheimers & similar; the idea of the paper that has remained in my brain was that a basic camera could detect what stage of washing-hands-after-toilet they had reached and remind them where they had got to so as not to get stuck in endless hand-washing.

Sooooo if this technology has moved on any in the last several years (ha), I guess searching in that direction might come up with something useful. Or not. I haven't followed along at all since I finished.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 02:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oedipamaas49.livejournal.com
[tldr: I can relate, and never found a good solution]

I at one point tried to make a kind of super-list. The idea was that I'd just have to remember one thing -- if you're confused/adrift/lost, look at the list. It'd start with reminders of how to cope with my common mental failure-states:

- sad/depressed?
-> here's a list of anti-depression tactics
- procrastinating?
-> list of anti-procrastination tactics
- don't know what to do tonight?
-> list of 'things I want to do some evening'

It kind of worked for a bit. I think it might have been more effective if I'd kept it on paper or flashcards, rather than just a file on the computer.

The other issue was that it wasn't good at handling the question of "is this serious enough for me to spend time dealing with it". i.e. if I'm just a bit sad/hungry/whatever, it's often best to ignore it and keep on working or playing.

I also try very hard to avoid "do this every day". I find that attitude harmful even on days when everything is going well. If I'm firing on all cylinders, I'd rather keep my focus on whatever is most important/interesting, rather than stopping to go and do my daily vocab-learning or whatever it is.

One thing /I/ want is a task reminder tuned to, e.g. "do this a half-dozen times each month". It'd start gently prodding you to do a task after X days, and then gradually get more forceful until you do it, then go silent for a while.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
rising: (the cadre: burning outline)
From: [personal profile] rising
Yes. So much yes. Also, I want something that I can tell it no, and not feel bad.

I don't necessarily want to HAVE to interact with another person, which is why although I could theoretically get homecare again, my insurance MIGHT pay for it again at X times a week, the idea of someone coming over, and being someone other than normal people additionally that I have to deal with? No thanks, that's a little much.

Jarvis. Can someone please program Jarvis.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-25 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sidheag
For the sake of your hands, it's a pity that automatic hair brushers don't exist - but electric toothbrushes do and are for me brilliant (I'd wondered whether the vibration might be a problem, but for me it hasn't been). Might be worth considering, if you haven't already, so as to save your repetitive hand movement capacity for the less automatable things.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-26 10:11 pm (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Would something like a successive series of alarms or prompts do the trick, or will that engage the "hiding from device" issue?

I use a task reminder called Any.do , whose greatest strength is that it has a function called "plan your day" where it will display, in chronological order, all the things I'm supposed to do today, then let me say I'll do them today at their scheduled time, or put them off, or say I've done them. The actual alarms can be set to repeat at intervals like every day, and will then appear at their appointed time if they aren't marked done, but they can be notes that are as short or long as needed. And the "plan" function can also be temporally customized,so that it goes off when you want it to.

Maybe that will help?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-28 06:41 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
Ah, I find that it doesn't actually make noise, except the small chime that is the start of the plan function and the acknowledgement of a decision regarding a task. So it hopefully wouldn't trip those issues.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-04-02 10:48 pm (UTC)
shehasathree: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shehasathree
So, i've been (sloooowly) working through my comment notification subscriptions (because i keep hitting 1000 and not being able to add any more, and then i go delete 10 and then the cycle keeps repeating itself) and this was one of the posts i had comment notifications turned on for. And i just wanted to say "ahaha, awesome", because Steve and i met pjf last night.


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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