OKRU — Part 1 : Of Goals, Friends and our Silly Brains

OKRU is a bunch of scratch-your-own-itch, experimental and open-source tools to track goals for ensuring both long and short term accountability. Most things of any value in life are hard and it takes an unbelievable amount of discipline to be even half decent at them. Getting fit in hard. Getting competent is hard. Building useful products is hard. And we can use all the help we can get.

The OKRU homepage : https://okru.app/

But from the moment we wake up every morning to the moment we fall asleep, we are subject to an onslaught of tools weaponized to capture our attention and distract us, in some shape or form. I am convinced that discipline and self accountability separate people who do kickass things from people who do not, far more than intelligence or ‘talent’ (there’s of course a lot of self-selection and positive feedback loops, but I think this broadly holds). Deceiving oneself with feel-good narratives is one of the easiest things to do. There are always legitimate and valid reasons for not spending time on our goals, right? I want to be more accountable to myself. I want to set ambitious goals, make public commitments and track this over a long time. I want to talk less, and act more — deliberately and decisively — with delightfully fun tools helping me navigate the terrain. I hope OKRU will eventually evolve to solve some of this need.

Is this yet-another-habit-tracking-app?”
No. Hopefully :)

Why I think OKRU might actually work

Tracking daily habits ≠ Tracking life goals

I have used almost all popular habit tracking apps. Some of them are great, most of them aren’t. But they almost always focus on immediate, daily tasks — with the final goals residing vaguely in our heads. With OKRU, we begin with the broad goals, make them explicit, put them down and then work out specific steps to get to those goals. It gets very real when it’s out of our heads, for people to see.

OKRU will never have a leaderboard

Accountability with close friends and onerself, are the only things that work, and scale. All tools that intend to hoodwink people into doing ‘The Right Thing’, are nonsense. Wanting to be better, and putting in the work are necessary conditions to being better. Personally, social-media related incentive structures do not work with me. But I care very deeply about what my closest friends think of me. I suspect if they asked me how I was doing on my goals each week, I’d actually make more progress than otherwise. OKRU tries to facilitate this. I do not want paternalistic apps “nudging” me. I want my goals to be surfaced frequently, and collaboratively so that I can avoid getting caught up in the humdrum of life. The self evaluations on OKRU are also only indicative, by design. There will be no averaging of any score to rank you on your goal-orientedness that you can put on your LinkedIn profile. I could potentially cheat on my updates. Nobody cares. There’s no audience to play to.

Goals are fluid

There’s a lot to learn from how fluid our goals are, when not on paper. Self clarification leads to most gains in terms of evaluating what we want. OKRU wants to facilitate this self confrontation (not in a negative way). I believe that over 4–5 quarters I’ll have a colourful view of my claimed priorities, my actual priorities, and how much they align. I’m excited for this. :)

Check out an example here : https://okru.app/?user=vivekaithal44&q=1

The idea is to build OKRU, over time, to be useful. So, you can fully expect current useless features to be mercilessly removed, and new features to be added. I’m working on more minute privacy controls and a short mail digest each week of friends’ updates, as you read this. Do add your OKRs, CoPom with friends, and let me know how it goes! You can also add issues/feature requests on Github Issues.

Much of the content here is just a condensed, and cached form of things said by much smarter people in books, tweets and talks. Reach out to me in case you have any questions or want to discuss about OKRU, at vivekaithal44[at]gmail[dot]com or @nuwandavek. Hope you get cracking on your goals! I’m sending you much love from my end. :)