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My Productivity Trend Before and After HeroMode Piggy Release

· 7 min read
a very oink oink analysis of my productivity trend before and after piggy release

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about the Piggy Rewards System as a motivator. But fast forward a month after the Piggy release, I've completely changed my mind! I find myself more motivated and having more fun being productive. Each week, I work hard to earn those Piggy coins, and on the weekend, I splurge on Piggy rewards like video games and desserts. To quantitatively verify how Piggy has changed my productivity, I did some data analysis using HeroMode's points and coins data. I'm now fully a Piggy convert!

To Piggy or Not to Piggy

As I mentioned last week, before the Piggy release, I felt one way to make HeroMode more motivating is to link points to mini games. When we were doing feature planning for v4 a few months ago, besides the Piggy Rewards System, I actually advocated for a game-like leveling up mechanism. I even had in my mind all sorts of level names like "Baby Hero", "Toddler Hero", "Apprentice Hero", "Junior Hero", "Master Hero", "Shifu Hero", "Wizard Hero", etc. I really felt strongly that this would be super motivating, and is a better way than the Piggy Rewards System.

Even as we were implementing the Piggy Rewards System, I still had a lot of doubts. So I proposed a requirement to allow users to turn off Piggy on the Adventure level. I thought I'd turn piggy off for some of my adventures, such as those for personal life (e.g., household chores, exercise, etc.) instead of work productivity. This requirement added complexity to the Piggy implementation, but my insistence prevailed.

At the moment, Piggy can be enabled or disabled on the adventure level.

Above: The feature that I asked for -- ability to disable Piggy on the adventure level. We will come back on this.

Now that Piggy has been released for more than a month, I've completely changed my mind. Not only do I have all my adventures turned on for Piggy, I also felt more motivated and having more fun being productive. I also notice some patterns in my productivity trend. So, like any good data scientist, I decided to do some analysis.

The Weekend Rewards Splurge

First trend I'd like to quantify is my weekly cycle of working really hard on weekdays, saving up many piggy coins, and then spending them on weekends to get rewards as I relax and unwind. I have distinct memories of getting up to 40, 50, or 60 coins on a Thursday or Friday, proudly showing off my piggy screen, and then by Sunday evening I'd be in the red zone of negative coin values. And the cycle continues as I work extra hard on Mondays and Tuesdays to climb out of Piggy debt, diligently knocking out quest after quest.

my piggy coins balance on each day over the last month

Above: A plot for my piggy coins balance on each day over the last month.

As you can see, such weekly trend is very much captured in the plot above. The past weekend was particularly glorious. I accumulated to nearly 80 coins, and then basically spent it all in one day like a high roller. My piggy rewards are desserts and video games, and I had a lot of it on that wildly satisfying Sunday. It was indeed, ahem, very rewarding.

Looking at this plot also made me wonder if my productivity is trending up. In particular, if my productivity had any change before and after the Piggy release. So let's make more plots!

Before vs After Piggy

Below are two plots showing my daily total points, 40 days before and 40 days after Piggy release. The first plot is the raw data, which is very noisy. There is certainly the distinctive weekly cycle, but it's hard to tell if there is any behavioral change before and after Piggy release (which is marked by a red vertical line).

The second plot is the same data, but with a 7-day averaging window. Now this plot is much easier to interpret.

my daily points total 40 days before piggy release and 40 days afterdaily points total with a 7 day averaging window

When I saw the second part, right away I recognized the two productivity peaks that occurred mid-February and early-March. Those were the two project deadlines I had!

The Piggy release day is marked, again, by the red vertical line. Approximately, it does look like my productivity has increased after the Piggy release, and is currently still inching up. Especially I haven't had any project deadlines since March, yet my number of points per day is almost catching up to the previous scrambling-for-deadline level.

distribution of daily points total before and after piggy release

In this final plot, I'm showing the distribution of my daily points total before and after Piggy release. I only have 40 data points for each group, so it's not a large enough sample size to make any statistical conclusion. But it does look like the distribution has shifted to the right after Piggy release.

You Can See Your Own Trend Too!

If you are curious about your own productivity trend, HeroMode makes it easy. You don't need to wrangle with data or deal with plotting softwares at all!

Just go to your Hero screen, where you can see your Activity Calendar. For example, my Activity Calendar is clearly showing the weekly cycle of productivity: work hard on weekdays, and a bit of a break on weekends.

you can easily see your productivity trend in the activity calendar

You might also discover interesting patterns in your own productivity trend! For example, I have a shared adventure called "Apartment Stuff" with my roommate. I work from home, so my activity calendar shows that I do chores here and there during weekdays. But my roommate works in an office, so they mostly do chores on weekends.

you might just discover interesting trends in your own productivity!

Being able to easily see my productivity pattern is one of my favorite features of HeroMode. In addition to visualizing my progress, I also enjoy finding patterns like these.

I Have Changed My Mind About Piggy

Like a good data scientist, I can admit I was wrong when faced with new observations and data. I was skeptical about the Piggy Rewards System, but after a month of using it, I can attest to its power of motivation. I'm now a Piggy convert!

What this means for HeroMode is that we will be removing the ability to disable Piggy on the adventure level. I was the one that demanded this feature, but I don't even use it -- all my adventures have Piggy turned on! So we will deprecate this option and make Piggy a core part of HeroMode experience.

I hope you too have enjoyed the Piggy Rewards System! May you be motivated and accomplish great things, while earning the Piggy rewards you deserve!