“Forgetting” things

Suppose you have something to be done. Something important like a project or a job, or something relatively easy like doing push-ups or writing blog.

You might think you’ll do it every day. Often you’re supposed to. Let’s be more realistic and suppose you slack every other day. It might sound lazy but you go ahead anyway, maybe with just a half speed.

Some weeks ago I decided to write my blog daily. Maybe skipping a day or two when I wanted or had something more important to do. Fairly regularly anyway. For the first weeks my daily writing probability was around 85 %.

Then I stopped writing for 18 days. Was it an accident? If I calculate the probability with a rather conservative estimate of skipping every other day, the result is 0.003 %. If I calculated it with my around 15 % skipping rate, the probability would have been one in six hundred thousand billion.

I either had an awful luck, memory of a goldfish (this is actually true, but let’s forget it for a while) or I had a reason to stop writing. Of course I know the latter is true. However, by this very simple calculation (probability of working to the power of days skipped) it is easy to find out how probable it is that this delay is happening just by chance.

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