Changing my timezone to work around the lack of custom autodata goal deadlines - what are the tradeoffs?


#1

I have a habit of staying up until 1:00-2:30 AM before going to bed, which of course means that every time I do so, I have RescueTime log data from what feels like today, but is technically tomorrow. This has caused me to derail at times where I wouldn’t have otherwise, which I find rather frustrating.

Now, I have a few options to solve this - like sleeping earlier, or keeping a safety buffer - but changing my timezone is the easiest one I can think of. I’d like to switch from GMT-5 to GMT-7, which would turn 2:00 AM into midnight according to Beeminder, Only problem with that is I don’t know the repercussions, besides constantly doing timezone conversions in my head.

What do you guys think? Will changing my timezone help or just cause more problems?


#2

I’ve confused myself every time that I’ve set an untrue timezone in Beeminder.


#3

It’s a great question but I too advise against it and I’m mostly taking this as a strong vote for adding custom deadlines to RescueTime. #UVI


#4

I agree with Dreev, this definitely calls for custom deadlines, but I don’t think RescueTime needs to change anything there. Its only Beeminder goals that need custom deadlines. As for the timezones, I guess I’ll stick to my real one.


#6

Yes, sorry, I meant to say “a strong vote for adding custom deadlines to our RescueTime integration”. Last we checked this was easier said than done because RescueTime gives us data aggregated by day.


#7

Any chance there’s movement on the custom RescueTime deadline? Or is the ball still in RT’s court due to by-day aggregation?

Just echoing that I, like other users, would lurve me a 5pm deadline option…


#8

The problem with custom deadlines and RescueTime is indeed with RescueTime’s API (not to throw shade on them), but their API aggregates data by day, so we don’t have a way to ask for the time spent between, e.g., 02:00 and 01:59 on the following day.

Furthermore, changing your Beeminder timezone won’t help with this problem, because even if we wait until 2am to call your goal derailed, RescueTime is not going to count the time you spent between midnight and 2am for the previous day, so if the time wasn’t spent by midnight, it won’t help.

You would have to convince RescueTime itself of the altered timezone, which, unless I’m mistaken, would probably involve changing the system clock on your computer, which sounds like it would be highly inconvenient in general. (I could well be mistaken. Maybe they’ve got a premium setting that lets you do a custom end of day? Enlighten me please if so!)

The same argument applies to Misfit and Fitbit. I can’t think of others off the top of my head.


#9

this is not a solution; it is a completely wild-and-crazy idea, but…

… an interesting approach to this problem might be a configurable ‘last-data’ time for a goal. so if i tell beeminder ‘stop accepting data after 5pm,’ beeminder doesn’t let me add new data for the day, nor does it update any existing points.

i can already think of the support nightmare that would probably be, but in fantasyland it would be a nifty way to get around these sorts of limitations for those who really really want the hardest possible stop.


#10

RescueTime also has a custom goals-for-the-day feature: you set Time Filters (under Advanced Filters) during which data counts toward your goal. Say I set a time filter called “workweek” that ran from 8-6, Monday thru Friday, and set goals for 6 hours of All Productive Time, and 3 hours of Very Productive Time, that only accrued during those periods. RescueTime already gives me alerts when I hit that goal.

Would it be possible to add an integration where you increment a Beeminder goal if and only if RescueTime logs a goal met event? This could be a potential workaround!


Rescuetime Goals in Beeminder
#11

(Also I’ve messaged them about this question; I’ll let you know if I hear anything interesting back!)


#12

hmm, looks like RT alerts are an IFTTT trigger (at the very bottom, click triggers/actions) – maybe you can filter them down to the specific alert you want? you can definitely use IFTTT to update a beeminder goal already!


#13

Great point, hadn’t thought of leveraging the IFTTT middleman! I’ll give that a try, thanks.

EDIT: put it into practice! I’m optimistic about this.

  1. RT Time Filters & Goal similar to what I proposed in my post (8-6 M-F, knocked down to 4h All Productive, 2h Very Productive while I test it out).
  2. One IFTTT recipe for each goal, and each adds 1 to the BM goal when alert triggered.
  3. BM expects 7 triggers per week while I test it out. (Tried with 6, but then realized all my alerts would be in increments of 0.86…)
  4. Changed deadline for reminders to be 6PM.

Only question: since the original BM goal was set to manual entry, after some snooping I went and changed it to use IFTTT as its data source. It never really occurred to me before, but is switching data to manual a means of weaseling I should guard against?


#14

it can be :slight_smile: that setting toggles the manual entry boxes on the site, so you can make it more difficult to add data from any non-automatic sources, if you were ever tempted to do so…