Any veterans have tips for slowly increasing the difficulty/commitments on Beeminder?


I’ve made the mistake of adding too many Beeminder goals in the past, so recently I started with some small very simple goals to build some wins. It’s working mostly, but I’d like to slowly ramp up the difficulty.

Anybody have any recommendations or advice?


I personally have a rule that I can only have one difficult/time consuming goal a time but I can create as many small goals (can be completed in under 10 minutes as I want). It allows to ensure that I am making progress on all fronts of my life without becoming overwhelmed. You could even do this on a week/monthly basis (e.g. focus on writing this week, ramp down practicing guitar).


My number one recommendation is to schedule a periodic review where you look at every goal. Ask yourself, “Is this doing what I want it to do?” Look at the safety buffer. Look at the rate. If you do this scattered over time, it’s easy to have a goal sneak up on you. If you look at them all in one sitting, it’s much easier to see issues.


I really like this approach, thanks for the details.


Perfecto, thank you.


I used to use a script that would take the average of the last two weeks (or the last month) and make that the new rate, so that I would preserve any improvement. Over time, it always trends in the right direction without pushing past what I already knew I could do (since I’d already done it). I didn’t lose gains in productivity, and it didn’t require a lot of thought about what the rate should be or how quickly I should be improving on one goal compared to another perhaps easier goal. (In fact, I may have just talked myself into going back to doing that now that I’m back in the saddle…)


Yes, Autodial! That was so brilliant. I would love to have that built in to Beeminder. But we won’t think about that until after the Yellow Brick Half-Plane project is out the door.


All great advice so far! While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a veteran, I did use Beeminder for all of 2015, then stopped in early 2016, and have used it for all of 2018 so far, meaning I’ve been on here for a total of about 18 months, for what it’s worth. I’m going to echo advice that @philip gave in an old blog post some time ago that I’m having trouble locating at the moment: it’s easy to overload the system with either volume or intensity. When I started up again in the early days of 2018, I figured that I could handle quite a few goals right away because I had before. But the act of keeping up with all of them, even the really easy ones, was a new habit that I hadn’t gotten used to yet. I had a lot of derailments.

Assuming that you’ve figured out how many goals you can reasonably handle, you don’t want to overload your system with intensity. Generally, I only ramp up the difficulty of one, or at most two, goals at a time. Even when I’m already doing something at a rate equal to or greater than the new rate I’m dialing in, I pay some special attention to that goal for a week or two while the new rate is taking effect. I also increase rates very gradually. I had my Duolingo rate at 50 points a day for quite some time, and have now decided to double that and start taking my French learning more seriously. I just increased my rate to 60 points a day last week, and hope to have it at 100 points a day by the end of the summer, but I may take longer if I need to. Point being, the aphorism “know thyself” becomes critical here. You have to really pay attention to goals as you dial up the difficulty on them to make sure it’s working, and if it isn’t, it can be difficult to find out why if you aren’t paying attention.

A lot of that may very well be redundant, but I hope it helps you!


This is all very helpful, thank you.

@dreev I feel like I remember a blog post about someone dialing things up slowly but I can’t find it. Was it the post that @philip wrote that @sara4767 is referring to?


I have found the blog post in question. It’s quite old so it took some digging.

EDIT: I have found an old post by @chelsea which vaguely refers to dialling things up slowly as well: