Programmatic Accountability

I cannot publish to this blog consistently for the life of me. One solution for inconsistent habits I always hear about is finding accountability. The wisdom goes that being held responsible by someone for a habit will somehow lead you to consistency. Even that can fall astray — I can “call in sick” for my guitar lessons more consistently than playing the guitar. Perhaps I need a deadline, but that too is at the mercy of my machinations. It can always be massaged to my liking (which is always pushed back a week).

There's a constant theme of my inconstancy — me. What I need is accountability that cannot be so easily swayed, a deadline that cannot be avoided. Enter programmatic accountability.

I created a cron job in the cloud, an AWS Lambda function that schedules a post to be published to my blog at 5:00 PM EST Monday through Friday. What will it publish? The title and body of the same draft. This means that I better change the title and body each day, otherwise the same draft will be published over and over again.

Such a set up forces my hand. An excuse will not prevent the Lambda function from executing. Changing the deadline in the function code is more effort than pushing a deadline back in my head. I have no other choice but to write.

We'll see what happens with this programmatic accountability.