QS17 Preview: Externalizing Health Rewards

HausPlantKyrill

Kyrill Potapov: “I’ve been hacking Rescue Time, which tracks how I use my computer, to make it a tool for personal growth rather than work optimization.”

Feeling unpleasantly like he was “moving from one pressing issue to the next like a pinball”, Kyrill decided that he needed a way to track not just productivity, but satisfaction and growth. The standard approach would be to simply divide and assess how he spent his time: (some tasks are productive and satisfying; others are productive but menial). Instead, he decided to appeal to his altruism and devise a clever system to incentivize productive and satisfying behavior.

At QS17, Kyrill’s talk will explain how he uses the productivity output of Rescue Time to turn on a light bulb which is the primary energy source for “Pip”, his houseplant. This isn’t just cute – tying the health of another to one’s own behavior can be an extremely motivating force. My mom has told me that her pregnancy flipped a switch for her self-care, making her more aware of her own health behaviors and more able to adjust them. Obviously, having a baby isn’t a feasible strategy for inspiring behavioral change in general, but tying the life of a living *plant* to your behavior is a similar, (albeit low stakes) motivator. A healthy sense of pun-humor let’s Kyrill see his ‘personal growth’ and consistency over time.

Speaking of time for self care and growth, I’m about to take off backpacking for a few weeks. See you in Amsterdam!

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