Monday, December 13, 2010

EpicWin Update - Self Discipline Requried

I have been using EpicWin since the program was first released, and it has been exactly the program I was hoping for. While it is not a silver bullet for productivity, just like Supermemo, EpicWin requires self-discipline to be useful. Here is how I use EpicWin.

I keep a task-list within Supermemo (A very, VERY useful feature that I will make a post on eventually). I use the task list to organize and prioritize the various things I have to do. Using this as a guide, I enter the tasks into EpicWin and assign them point values that reflects their importance in Supermemo's task list. Then I accomplish the task. Keep moving onto the next task until all of the tasks are completed, and great peace of mind is achieved.

So basically I use Supermemo to create a "hit list" of tasks, and EpicWin is my task "Assassin" to execute them.

I also use EpicWin to give myself "achievement points" for real life. For example, doing dishes right after I finish eating grants me more points as compared to letting them pile up and doing them later. Also, let's say it snows during the night, and I know that I should shovel the driveway sooner rather than later. Big bonus for doing that! I really don't want to go jogging this morning, but I'll gladly do it if some points are involved. In this manner, EpicWin serves as the "nudge" I needed to get certain tasks done when there wasn't much of an incentive to get them done. In this manner, it has also been useful and (in my eyes) a success.

Although the program/game that I had in my head was slightly different than EpicWin, EpicWin fills the task-list RPG-sized gap in my life, and I'm very pleased with it.


  1. Thank you very much for the update! Sounds like EpicWin could do the trick in many situations. I am still waiting for the day when someone proclaims they have found the holy grail of productivity. Self discipline in a pill(probably affecting a dopamine pathway) would be a dream come true, but I guess that kind of pharmacology would come with pretty bad side effects. One idea would be to create a sort of productivity box. You go in and the box seals of until you have accomplished your tasks(reading, supermemo, whatnot). Unfortunately I think that this kind of use of negative reinforcement(finish your job and you can get out!) would be detrimental in the long run and not contribute to relaxed, enjoyable productivity.
    Best regards

  2. Btw, a poor mans alternative to EpicWin(if you don´t have an Iphone/Ipod)could be the basic TAGulator bead counter( ).
    Accomplish a task, move a bead to the other end. 10 beads could represent one hour of your favorite activity or something like that. Intuitivly it feels like EpicWin would be light years better than bead counters because of the fun part of "playing" the game.

  3. I recall reading somewhere that BF Skinner determined that positive reinforcement trumps negative reinforcement across the board when trying to shape behavior (Just like your comment says). Thus, prizes work better than pain (Or witholding it). This is why video games hold such wonderful potential, because no matter how many virtual prizes you get, it generates NO REAL-WORLD CLUTTER. Thus, once you find the proper formula for a virtual system of reward reinforcement, you should be able to use it forever. EpicWin is a step in the right direction, I think.

  4. I've read some other blogs on supermemo being used to learn procedural items. While this wouldn't help with irregular activities, I think it's interesting to consider using it to generate habits. It seems like it can take a very long time to generate automatic habits(obviously variable)--failure to generate one usually has to do do with a combination of lack of desire, exhaustion of will, or forgetfulness. It would pick near optimal reminder times for you, and also you could start with smaller increments of a given habit and slowly increase it. From what I've read about supermemo, the time-frame might be larger than what is generally accepted to develop a habit, but it would surely make doing a large number of life changes much easier.