taskratchet-docs

Glossary

Akrasia

Akraisa is the natural tendency to act against one’s own best interests. It can take many forms, including procrastination, self-destructive coping behaviors, and addiction.

Charge

TaskRatchet creates a charge for the stakes you pledged on a task when you created it if you fail to complete the task on time and don’t call non-legit.

Commitment Contract

A commitment contract is a type of commitment device that takes the form of an explicit agreement between your present self, your future self, and usually some third party, indicating a desired change of behavior and a consequence should the change not occur.

TaskRatchet allows you to create simple one-off commitment contracts which define a task to be completed, a deadline by which the task must be completed, and an amount of money you will forfeit if you fail to complete the task by the deadline you’ve chosen.

Commitment Device

A commitment device is any tool or strategy that allows you to commit in the present to a desired future behavior, therefore to some degree limiting your future self’s freedom.

Deadline

TaskRatchet allows you to define deadlines for each task you take, a time and date by which you must complete the task if you do not wish to be charged your specified stakes.

Implementation Intention

An implementation intention is a simple plan for when and where you will perform a given action or begin execution of a plan. For instance, if you wish to start meditating, an implementation intention might look like this:

When I wake up [time], I will sit on the couch [location] and meditate for five minutes. [behavior]

The creation of implementations has been shown to be an effective strategy for personal behavior change.

Non-Legit

If you complete a task but fail to mark it as complete in TaskRatchet by its deadline, you may send an email to nathan@taskratchet.com indicating that the charge was not legit, and the charge will be cancelled or refunded if it has already processed.

Schelling Fences

In game theory, a Schelling point is “a solution that people tend to choose by default in the absence of communication” (Wikipedia). Scott Alexander used the term “Schelling fence” in the context of behavior change to be a strategy of defeating slippery slopes by setting arbitrary boundaries which are worth defending.

For example, the marginal negative outcome from staying up a few more minutes may never be enough to outweigh the immediate pleasure from engaging in an enjoyable actiity, but this slippery slope can be overcome by setting an arbitrary deadline and imbuing it with significance as the only thing standing between you and an entirely sleepless night and dysfunctional next day.

Stakes

TaskRatchet allows you to set stakes on each task you create, which is an amount of money that you agree to pay should you not complete the task by your chosen deadline.

Task

TaskRatchet allows you to create tasks enforced by a deadline and an amount of money you risk, each chosen per task. A task can be any one-off definition which allows you to determine without ambiguity whether you have or have not completed the task by a specific date and time.

Temporal Discounting

Temporal discounting is a tendency for people to asscribe differing values to a behavior or outcome dependent on how far in the future it occurs. Commitment devices address the fact that people’s priorities often shift based on whether they are deciding for the present moment or a future moment by allowing people to lock in their future-minded preferences.