Do you ever have this kind experience? You have a huge project/paper need to be done and you have enough time like 10 weeks to finish it. But somehow you just prolong and prolong, and insist to begin to write it in the last 3days.
You run to school submit it last minute. Of course, you made a sloppy, crappy work, so you regrate and swear to god this won’t happen again until you begin to prolong another work.
According to Tim Urban’s theory, there is a rational decision maker lives in everyone’s brain, but for those procrastinators, besides the decision maker, there is an Instant Gratification Monkey exists as well.
It drags us to a place called the Dark Playground. However, the fun you have in the Dark Playground isn’t actually fun because it’s completely unearned and the air is filled with guilt, anxiety, self-hatred, and dread.
The only thing can scare the Monkey away is called the Panic Monster, he will be woken up when the deadline is very close to us.
As a lifelong time procrastinator, I totally agree with Tim Urban! I don’t believe that there was/is/will be a healthy relationship between me, works and the deadline, the only cure is taking advantage of the negative emotions aka the power of the Panic Monster.
However, not everything has a deadline, no deadline no Panic Monster, no Panic Monster, no impetus to take an action… In the end, we never could watch the video on Lynda.com, we never could update our 5-year-old resume, we never could finish the application of our dream school…..“The frustration is not that they couldn’t achieve their dreams; it’s that they weren’t even able to start chasing them.”
Please allow me to show you my Gmail box:
30000 emails, what happened? This just happened: “judging by the title of the email Midori just send me, I should go check and maybe RSVP that event, but no, my monkey says: totally agree, but let’s do that later, now we should go check this funny youtube video, it is meaningless but important to you now!
So back to our project, my partner Yanlin and I want to make something that can push procrastinators(me) finish their work before it too late. How the thing works? To create panic monsters.
Imaging those things made you feel anxious:
- Super bright lights that police uses in interrogation:
We plan to use Gmail API, attach the mailbox to the installation part. Every time when you receive a new email, the mechanical arm with a sharp needle will be triggered. The more emails you decide to ignore, the further the arm goes, the more dangerous the balloon will be and the more anxious you are. The number of unread emails(workload) will be physically visualized, you can suffer the anxiety more directly, then feel free to be panic!
- Running tap and overflowing water
- Expensive things put on the edge of table
So we came up this plan:
We plan to use Gmail API, attach the mailbox to the installation part. Every time when you receive a new email, the mechanical arm with a sharp needle will be triggered. The more emails you decide to ignore, the further the arm goes, the more dangerous the balloon will be and the more anxious you are. The number of unread emails(workload) will be physically visualized, you can suffer the anxiety more directly, then feel free to be panic! The only solution is to do your work: read, to reply or to delete those email. Then the needle will go back to its original position.
Here is the first API test:
It works……sort of….. but we still have some glitches to fix….
for example, the number of Gmail inbox is slightly different to the number we called back….
We will figure it out later…..
And after last week’s paper test, we upgrade the installation:
We extended the process of this installation and add a “raising the stakes” element to enrich the experience. People can see and feel different consequences from pop a balloon to more intense and dire things.
About how to present this installation, now we have two plans:
A, like the picture shown, we put everything linearly, and only use one mechanical arm to do all the jobs. The best part of this plan is you will know the process of the whole thing, judging by the position of the mechanical arm, plus it costs less than planB.
B, position every step separately, like this:
The next countdown will be triggered when the earlier consequence happened.
Both Yanlin and I prefer this plan, we love this layout more than the first one. Also even though without the only arm, people cannot tell the progress at a glance, nor “read” the installation precisely, but this vagueness may create more urgent sense(as Jeff suggested), and this is exactly what we want!
we watched tons of videos, and so far the best solution we have is like this, best means it works and affordable!
and the 12v stepper motor and driver costs $35 each set.
So we need 4 sets which means $280 in total at least, and this price is only for the tracks without any other costs, I would say it’s still quite expansive.
Order them on Taobao could be a good choice but due to the black Friday thing just happened in China last week, we can image the high volume packages and super busy post system, no, we don’t want to risk our project for that.
13 Nov Update: we talked to Tom and Ben, in order to save more money, we will try to build the tracks with Ben’s help!!!!