Max's beeminder journal


Holiday 2

I derailed my ‘Chinese reading’ goal. I think I may have actually read an article in Chinese that day but had forgotten to record it so I am treating that as a valid derail: “not paying attention to beeminder”.

Everything else is still on track although I am finding that there isn’t all that much I need to stay on top of since I paused my book editing goal.

It seems that the amount of time to complete each portion of the book is taking longer. Extrapolating from my current deceleration, the completion date for the book is positive infinity.

I probably need to increase the pressure of the edit goal after the holiday and get the damned thing tied up. Beeminder is keeping it in the front of my mind and forcing me to touch it every few days, but progress is stupidly slow.

Happy easter, next update in a week!


Because of an unexpected family emergency I am writing this on my phone just before I go to bed, so my update today will just be to say that I have made tomorrow’s mustdo task be “write a detailed journal update”, thereby satisfying the lenient wording of my journal goal: “write a post in the beeminder journal thread once a week”.


Best wishes, good luck.


A bit of an wishy-washy update today. Full of empty promises and failed goals…

Reading goals

I finished my short-term goal to finish a book I was getting a bit stuck on ( I greatly enjoyed ticking it off and archiving it. I like the idea of having a few short term goals running to help me finish small projects, allowing me to try things out, learn more about what type of goals work for me, and keep a sense of novelty about what goals I am working on each day.

Since I have just started a new Chinese book I decided to stop my previous Chinese reading mini-habit goal (read an article or page of a book in Chinese each day), replacing it with a new goal to finish this book.

I need to read 5 pages a day, which will have me finishing in a couple of months, which should be sustainable. My Chinese reading speed is still recovering after a couple of years of neglect, so I didn’t want to set too high a goal.

I also want to restart my Anki habit soon, so to consider a page ‘read’ I must also have noted down any interesting sentences I want to review on those pages.

The goal has been running for a few days and is going well, it helps that it is a good book.

‘Stuff’ goal

I let the stuff goal die:
I was beggining to dread it each day, I think it was useful while it ran, but to make real progress tidying up and reducing the number our possesions I really think I need to schedule a few more big, focused clean-up sessions, like I had done with clothes. I have added something to my backlog to schedule some more in.

(Another thing I would like to do soon is set up a goal to whittle down my backlog. Unfortunately the task to do this is also on the backlog…)

Book / editing goal

This is still barely moving, and I have not done anything about it yet. I will, I really need to get the damn thing finished. Half-finishing things is something I often seem to have problems with, so I will focus on this soon.

Treating yellow as red

To try and avoid panics like last night when I had to rush to get ‘something, anything’ posted to avoid derailing my journal goal, I am again thinking of ways to avoid beemergencies.
I know some people have meta goals to keep every goal in the green. I don’t want to go this far yet, but I am going to try experimenting with a mindset shift of considering yellow to be an emergency, making red ‘a really really big emergency’. I doubt this will work, but I might as well try the easiest possible intervention before creating a meta goal to do it!


Work derailed

My ‘focused work’ goal derailed. Another day and a half of meetings wiped out what little buffer I had. This would likely by fixed by sticking to a rule of ‘treat yellow as red’, but I don’t feel too bad about it, since it was an unusual amount of meetings.
The goal has auto-restarted and is continuing without change for now.

Reading in general

I don’t track books read in beeminder because I am worried about:

  • incentivising myself to read a certain type of book or in a certain way (by page = choose quick to read books, by book = choose short books, by time = don’t focus, read slowly)
  • making reading more of a chore, I don’t usually need to be reminded to spend time on reading, so don’t need a goal right yet

I do track books in goodreads, and do have a yearly goal of 52 books which I have in the back of my mind as a very soft goal.

This year I am behind my goal quite a lot. I have been focusing quite a lot on writing, reading in Chinese, and other goals, which has taken a lot of time away from books.

I think this is a good tradeoff however. I like beeing able to focus on different things for a period. (This is another nice thing about short-term goals, it allows me to change my focus entirely whenever a goal ends, more fully than if I were to just make the slope very shallow for a while.)

Treating yellow as red

I’ve been somewhat aware of this the past week but I am not quite at the point where I don’t rest until I get everything blue or better. If I want to focus on this I might end up setting a meta goal for it.


I like hearing people explicitly thinking about the tradeoffs of tracking by particular metrics. Nice job.