Beevent Horizon


#21

The kid is here! He’s 12 days old! The last two weeks have been a blur!

I’m struggling a bit with what to do with Beeminder. It’s not really practical to track my sleep with Droidsleep, since I’m getting up every few hours. I haven’t finished editing my NaNoWriMo novel (though I’m pretty close), but it feels like a very low priority right now. My junk food goal successfully reached its goal date, and I’m not sure whether or not I want to reinstate it. Being able to sneak a square of chocolate or a few potato chips here and there has been a pretty life-sustaining luxury, and we’ve actually been eating remarkably well for the parents of a newborn. Last night we roasted carrots, squash, potatoes, beets, and onions and had it with kale-cucumber-bell pepper-tomato salad in lemon dressing, plus some prefab chicken tenders. I mean, not too shabby, right? Eating mostly from our CSA produce and stash of freezer meals means we’ve been staying in the green on our food money goal, which feels good. I didn’t have the energy to update Habitica after coming home from the hospital, though I’ve been more or less staying on top of housework, miraculously enough. I finally logged into Habitica today and just marked off a ton of tasks, approximately equal to the amount of work I’ve been doing in my bleary haze of intermittent sleep, diaper changes, and baby cuddling. Exercise? On hold. Recorder practice? On hold. Complice? Not going back to work for a few more weeks, and then it’ll only be a few hours a week. Not worth spending $16 a month for task management. Blogging? I need to get back to it at some point, but it feels too soon.

So Beeminder hasn’t really been doing much for me in this acute phase of newborn care. I’m not gonna unsubscribe yet, because I think it’ll be helpful when I get into a more sustainable routine, but I’m wondering whether I should drop down to a cheaper plan, without all the fancy autoratcheting and stuff. Our new health insurance plan is gonna be $1,800 a month now that the kid is here, so I’ve gotta find some places in our budget to trim. I dunno. I’ll sit with it a little longer and think before doing anything drastic. Beeminder has helped me with so many things over the last many years. I’m sure it will again. It’s just feeling less crucial at the moment, when all my most pressing tasks are immediately in front of me, and not really in need of reminding or reinforcement.


#22

Congratulations! Super exciting!

First my Beeminder-related thought, which is that planning now how long a break you want to take can be a powerful use for Beeminder. Good old precommitment. Otherwise you can end up in one-more-day-won’t-matter, or next-week/month/year-will-be-less-busy land until your child is 18.

Of course you might in fact be super busy till your children are grown, but precommitting to resuming some things, at least a little, is probably healthy.

Anyway, being a guest blogger and tireless Beeminder advocate around the internet, not to mention prolific bug reporter, etc etc, all combine to earning you a hefty premium discount so check your email for that! (sent) Hopefully that makes it easy to stay on a fancy plan and just schedule nice long breaks, rather than risk meaning to resume when things are less crazy with a newborn and never getting a round tuit. :slight_smile: (Ha, apropos quote from that post: “not everything that’s important comes with a built-in deadline or squeaks or whines loud enough”)


#23

Kid will be five months in three days! Damn.

Am slowly getting back into full-time work (or mostly full-time; unfortunately my freelance slate is not quite as full as I was hoping so far), which should mean more time in front of a computer. I’ve been mostly interacting with Beeminder via the Android app, and dialed all my goals way down.

I’ve marked the recorder practicing goal for archiving, which makes me sad, but I just can’t find space for it in my life right now. (Though the kid loves when I randomly pick up my tenor recorder and tootle along to whatever we’re listening to at the moment. Then he grabs it and tries to play it, but hasn’t worked out the whole exhaling deal, plus the tenor is about as long as he is.) Sigh. Someday.

I’m considering canceling my Habitica subscription and archiving my Habitica goal now that Todoist integration is live. My holy grail for an apartment cleaning tracker has always been Beemindable recurring tasks, so that I just wake up every day with a specific list of what I need to get done to stay in the green. There was a torturous kludge that sort of made it work on Habitica, but it was so annoying that I eventually just populated my to-do list with 50 items labeled “thing” and checked one off every time I cleaned something. But that meant a lot of easy cleaning jobs like dusting the bookshelf got done, while hard ones like cleaning out the fridge languished for weeks. Not ideal. I really enjoy playing around with Habitica, but I think the ratio of productivity to timewasting might have reached its tipping point, sadly.

I’m also unsure whether I should renew my Complice integration (currently on pause) or just shift over all my daily business-related tasks to Todoist. I really loved Complice when I was spending a lot of time in front of a computer, but was completely unable to keep up with it when I went on parental leave, and it’s $16/month, which is pretty damn pricey. Todoist has an Android app and the ability to keep tasks for different projects in separate lists, which might work better for me. I dunno. Still up in the air on this one.

I set my Sleep as Android goal to one hour per week for most of the past five months just so I didn’t have to deal with turning on and off the tracker many times per night, though in the last month we’ve been sleep training the kid, and I’ve found it useful to jiggle my phone (tripping the accelerometer and causing a spike in the graph) every time the kid wakes up, just to get a sense of whether we’re making any progress.

I’m feeling really avoidant and sulky lately. There are 72 items in my Gmail @action folder and 46 in my @reply folder, and I don’t even want to look at either of them. I’ve been achieving Inbox Zero maybe once a week. Blargh. I might have to resurrect my Inbox Zero goal, though it would be even better if I could make a label-specific Gmail goal instead. [EDIT: Looks like I can do that with the new Gmail Zero integration? Gotta investigate that.]

I wish I wasn’t so intimidated by IFTTT and its imitators. There are a lot of goals that would be really useful with autodata (reconcile YNAB, post to my dinner planning Google spaces group, post to a blog, etc) but just feel like way too much trouble to update manually. I’ve been doing it, but I haven’t been liking it. Feeling a lot of resistance to all habit-tracking systems lately, but I think that’s mainly an artifact of having to come out of the hazy bliss of freeform parental leave, where all I had to do was play with the kid and keep the apartment more or less in shape, to spending most of my week earning money or looking for more work and only seeing my wife and kid in the mornings and evenings. Boo.

I’ll get back on the Beeminder horse eventually, but this post is sort of in lieu of actually updating my goals, since I just don’t feel like dealing with them right now. Oh, well. Better than nothing.


#24

At this current moment, I think there are some issues with recurring tasks
and the current Todoist integration, so don’t do anything too drastic
without testing it first :slight_smile:

I have a 2 and a half year old, and a 2 month old, and having a solid
Beeminder system in my life is a good portion of what made the arrival of
the new kiddo so much smoother than the last one.

Glad to hear things are going ok! Best to you and yours.


#25

Oh, wow, congratulations! 2 months old was a wild time, but a wonderful one (at least for us). Can’t imagine doing it with a toddler running around, though! My hat is off to you.


#26

As I had hoped, posting here helped me jumpstart my Beeminder gallery again. I’ve archived a bunch of goals and added some others. As I said, I’ve realized that autodata goals work much, much better for me than manual entry goals, so I’ve done my best to increase the former and reduce the latter.

I retired:

  • Exercise
  • Recorder practice
  • NaNo editing
  • Food money
  • Complice outcomes

And added:

  • Gmail zero label:@reply (final goal of 5 messages)
  • Gmail zero label:@action (final goal of 5 messages)
  • IFTTT linked to Blogger
  • IFTTT linked to Goodreads “read shelf”
  • YNAB reconciliation (manual entry)
  • Todoist “all tasks” do-more

So my once-a-week blogging goal is now automatically updated via IFTTT, which is great. I’ve been spending too much time on Twitter and not enough on reading fiction, so I’m excited about the Goodreads IFTTT integration. Hopefully it’ll work. I still have to manually enter my Dinner Planning and YNAB reconciliation datapoints, but that’s not so bad. And once bugs with recurring tasks is fixed in the Todoist integration, I’ll probably retire my Habitica goal and make another Todoist goal specifically for household upkeep, but for now, “all tasks” is a good replacement for my previous Complice goal. I’ve put my NaNo book revision on indefinite hiatus, but I’ll get back to it eventually. For now, I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve gotten everything all set up, and I’ve already cut back my @action folder from 76 items to 30 and my @reply folder from 46 to 22. It’s a start!


#27

Thanks for the update. It’s nice reading how people are getting along, and I’m reminded that I wanted to check out Goodreads sometime. It’s great to read others goals and be inspired by them.


#28

Just dialed up the difficulty on a bunch of goals. Upped the books per month, set no-mercy recommit to my Habitica chores goal (anyone have any idea when Todoist recurring chores will become reliable to Beemind?), and increased my points per week required for YNAB and Dinner planning via Google Spaces, though that’s kind of annoying, since there’s no way (as far as I know) to automate those, so it means a lot of manual entry. Oh, well. If anyone knows of an IFTTT recipe for pinging Beeminder after an update by a specific user to a Google Space, let me know. (It can’t just be any update, since there are multiple people on the dinner planning group, and I don’t want comments to count; just text entries.)


#29

I really need to make a restaurant/delivery/takeout Do Less goal.

But not yet, O lord. Not yet.


#30

Nepomuk, what about making the goal now, with a initial 0 stress portion
for 60 days?
(I’ve written about this trick before.)


#31

So I made the goal, with a perhaps unwisely generous amount of wiggle room. What I’d love is a gentle automatic stepdown, whereby my monthly allotment of delivery/takeout meals gradually decreased every month I had the goal, but I think that’s not yet possible with Beeminder, correct? So I should probably change the allotment manually each month myself. Just a matter of making myself do it. The wife, the bab, and I went to the ramen place today, got takeout karaage and edamame, and sat in the park eating it (feeding small fragments to the bab) in the sunshine, which was absolute paradise, but I’ve really got to start being more conscientious about not doing that too often, as glorious as it is. I’m not working very much at all right now (I’m currently in the process of trying to find more work) and we’ve got to save our pennies. Le sigh.


#32

this depends on your definitions of “gentle” and/or “automatic” :slight_smile:

you can pre-schedule your own rate changes via take-a-break and/or the road editor and/or the api. sometimes this can create Weirdness if you derail, or want to make subsequent road changes that intersect with all of those, but we can help out with that if it comes up. but it’s definitely not as easy as, say, “automatically decrease my rate by X% every month.”


#33

April? Yikes. It’s been a minute.

Well, now it’s January, month of recommitment. It was a busy fall, which was a good thing financially, but spring is looking like slim pickings so far; I’ve only got about 12 hours a week that I can count on, so I’ve got to hustle for more.

To that end, I’ve bumped up my goals from nine to twelve, and several of them are financial. I’ve also let my recorder practice goal drop, because I’m on hiatus with recorder lessons until I can get more hours.

Current goals:

(# indicates autodata)

Financial:

YNAB - reconcile frequently
WAMs - budget proactively so I don’t go over
Content - post on accountability blogs (here & YNAB)
Delivery - order less delivery food
Lunch - spend less on lunch while working

Business:

#Blog - post on blog for open source project
#Reply - get to zero to-reply emails once a week
#Action - keep action items below 11
#Inbox - get to Inbox Zero every day

Misc:

Refreshes - use Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Feedly less
#Habitica - do more apartment cleaning chores
#Books - read more books

So anyway, the upshot is that I’m gonna try to be more active on this thing. Wish me luck.


#34

Sounds backward to me… :slight_smile:

Thanks for the update!


#35

Hey, I’m back! I’ve been updating my YNAB journal several times a week, which has been very helpful for both financial goal setting and staying mindful about spending. Beeminder has kept me honest with that, but I haven’t posted here much, because most of my daily check-ins have felt more relevant to YNAB than to Beeminder per se. I think the post that’s been percolating in my head over the past few days is more suited to this place than that one, though, partly because they’ve inspired a change in my Beeminder goals.

Content note: Weight loss, weight maintenance, diet, nutrition, et cetera.

Over the past several months, a lot of my work has involved getting exposure to a great deal of scientific information on nutrition, culminating in the past few days, which have involved 8-hour days being exposed to the latest in obesity medicine.

So I’ve always been a little overweight, never very athletic, but also extremely healthy. My body’s been very good to me over my 37 years, and I have no complaints to make about it. I rarely get sick, I don’t have any aches or pains, and I’ve always been able to eat pretty much everything I want to without my body giving me any grief about it. In the two or three years leading up to the birth of our kid, I had a job that involved very long hours; my workdays would regularly involve leaving the house at 5:30am and not getting home until after 10:00pm. As a result, I wound up being chronically sleep deprived. I’d try to make up sleep by sleeping in on weekends, and then I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until 3:00am most nights. It was a mess, and it went on for far too long. When I was low on sleep, I’d have intense cravings for junk food, and despite a Beeminder goal focused on rationing my junk food intake, I wound up eating too much of it. I would also spend a lot of money on restaurants and cafeterias until I started my bento blog, which helped motivate me to bring lunch instead of buying it. That helped save a lot of money and led me to eat less junk, but I was still getting pretty heavy, though I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I didn’t have a weight goal and wasn’t weighing myself regularly, and I didn’t notice any change in how my body felt or even how I looked in the mirror; I felt pretty normal.

When my kid was born in 2016, though, and I took almost a year off work (self-funding my parental leave plus going through a period of involuntary underemployment, which our finances still haven’t recovered from, but that’s another story), I wound up sleeping better (yeah, having a newborn significantly reduced my sleep deprivation quotient; that’s how bad it had gotten), and because we were staying close to home most of the time, I wasn’t buying a lot of junk food while I was out and about. Without really noticing or paying attention, I found my appetite decreasing and my clothes getting looser. I went to the doctor for the mandatory physical to complete the adoption of my child in 2017 and was told that not only had I lost a significant amount of weight, but that my cholesterol and other labs had improved markedly from my previous physical.

That was good, of course, but because I hadn’t been trying to lose weight, I was pretty fatalistic about the possibility of keeping it off. I didn’t buy any new clothes, even though my old clothes were both falling off me and falling apart, because I didn’t like the idea of slapping money down on a new wardrobe, only to have it stop fitting me some months later. I’ve since changed my mind. One reason is that I’ve noticed my appetite shifting again. During the midpoint of that parental leave year, I remember getting full very quickly, sometimes not even being able to finish a whole hamburger, which was very unlike me; I’ve always been able to pack away startling quantities of food when I wanted to. Now that I’m working more, and working more often outside the home, I feel like that early satiety has disappeared and I’m back to eating the way I did before the kid was born. My sleep has also gone a bit downhill. I’ll go to bed around 11pm and wake up when the kid wakes up around 6am, but sometimes I’ll stay up too late, like I did last night, 'til 1am or so, just because it’s the only quiet time I often get to myself during the day. That’s not great, and it definitely adds up over the long run.

I haven’t weighed myself since that physical, so I don’t know what my current weight is, but I did just buy some new pants, one size smaller than my old pants, and they still have plenty of wiggle room, so I don’t think I’ve come back to baseline. I’ve noticed persistent cravings for sugar, especially chocolate, especially in the evening, and I’ve been giving in to them more often than I’d like to admit. I often won’t eat my first meal until after noon, but then when I come home and make dinner for my kid I’ll start snacking on whatever junk is in the kitchen cupboards, and then when I make dinner for my wife and myself starting around 8:00, I’ll snack more, on string cheese, ice cream, chips, chocolate – whatever. Then I’ll eat dinner, and sometimes I’ll snack yet again while doing the dishes before bed. Not a good pattern to get into.

So I’ve taken a few steps. I’m going to continue my accountability journaling with respect to my bento blog, planning lunches on Friday, shopping for them over the weekend, and bringing my lunch to work whenever possible. My schedule falls off a cliff after the first week in May, so I have no idea what my summer is going to look like, but hopefully I’ll know more about that in the next few weeks and can plan accordingly. I’ve also retired my @action Beeminder goal and replaced it with a sugardays do-less goal, aiming for no more than 2 days that involve consuming sugar per week. I’ve downloaded MyFitnessPal and am going to try tracking my food, at least provisionally, with a weight maintenance goal of 1700 calories per day. I don’t currently have any plans to buy a scale. I think I’m going to buy even more pants in this new size and focus my attention on not gaining back the weight that I inadvertently lost over the first year of my kid’s life by putting the emphasis on eating enough nutritious stuff and not ingesting a lot of calorically dense food that doesn’t offer much else in the way of nutrition, rather than monitoring weight per se. We’ll see how it goes.


#36

Good luck with making this something that works sustainably for you! Sounds like quite a journey.

One thing I noticed sort of implicitly in your description was that sleep seems to correlate extremely strongly with your weight and health: I was surprised when the end of the post didn’t mention any goals/habits/adjustments intended to preserve your quality and duration of sleep. Is that something you’re thinking about?


#37

Heh, that’s a very good question indeed! I’m just now finishing up my work for the weekend at 11:00pm, and the kid got up at 5:30 (ughhh) this morning. And considering I’ve stayed up past 1:00am the previous two nights… Yeah, I think it might merit some enforcement. I had a sleep goal for ages and ages, autoentered via Sleep as Android, which I kept tracking after the kid was born for quite some time, even though I set the weekly total to an extremely small amount. But then when I had to go through several bouts of sleep training, which involved me sleeping on an air mattress on the floor of the kid’s room for weeks at a time, it wasn’t practical to keep up with; too much of a battery drain on my non-charging phone. Perhaps it’s time to set up a new version of that goal. I don’t really have any control over when the kid wakes me up, but except on nights when I’m working late I do have some degree of control over when I go to bed. Even if I don’t finish doing dishes until 10:00 and have admin work that keeps me up for an hour or so past that, at the very least I can aim for midnight or earlier rather than piddling my time away on the internet 'til 1:00am. Hm. We’ll see.


#38

More on weight loss.

So I went to my kid’s checkup yesterday and the pediatrician had me step on the scale first without him and then with him to get his weight. That’s when I discovered I was down to 145 pounds. That’s around what I weighed my last year of college, 16 years ago, and about 30 pounds lighter than I was at my heaviest. Dang. Rather a surprise; the last time I’d weighed myself, at his previous appointment, I was 155-ish, and I’d assumed I’d gained weight since then, because I’ve been eating so much snacky stuff. But hey, that’s cool. I’ve been pretty successful with keeping up the MyFitnessPal food log since I last posted, and it looks like I’m eating around 1700 calories a day, which is about right for weight maintenance. I’ve cut the sugar way down since making the two-day-a-week Beeminder goal and haven’t felt tempted to derail. Feeling pretty good about all this stuff at the moment.

Sleep is still an issue, though. The kid woke up at 5:40 today, which sadly isn’t that unusual, and he almost never sleeps past 6:15. I haven’t had much luck trying to get to bed before 11:00, and it’s frequently wound up being even later than that. I’m just not sure what to do about the sleep situation. Eventually we’re gonna transition to eating dinner together as a family before the kid goes to bed, and then I should have more time in the evening free to get my admin work done, but I know my wife’s not ready for that yet, and I’m not really either. I enjoy our chill Two Adults Eating Food Together Like Old Times dinners, and I enjoy my leisurely solitary podcast-filled cooking time while my wife relaxes in the bedroom of an evening. Hm.