For August and September at work I was on loan to another group with 2 junior-ish engineers that were understaffed for all the projects they wanted to get done by the end of September. This has been an interesting opportunity to act as more of a lead and jump into a bit of a different space and learn some new technologies.
At times it was pretty hectic and I wondered if I was going to be able to make all the pieces fit together, but overall things worked out pretty well, and people seem very happy that I helped out. It also had some of the aspects that caused me to get way too stressed out a couple of years ago that led me to commit to focusing more on my health and a balanced life. If there are some problems that I don’t feel are under control, I will spend a lot of mental energy looking at them from different angles all throughout the day. So even though I didn’t put in a lot of overtime it wound up really diverting my energies.
One of the reasons I agreed to it was that the deadlines weren’t really all that hard; we got all projects done but one, and that is launching this week while I am on vacation and no one is really upset about that slip. This was pretty key for me because I do terrible when I am dealing with an impossible problem; here I could always step back and realize that any problem that came up could not be all that bad. Also I had this week of vacation scheduled which was kind of a hard cutoff for the effort.
So what does any of this have to do with Beeminding? Well, there is good news and bad news. The really valuable part is that I kind of don’t realize how stressed out I am getting when I am in the midst of things. It didn’t help that the previous week I came down with a cold as well. Only when last weekend came and I had tied up all the loose ends I was going to tie up did I realize how tired I was. However I can clearly see that I had stopped cleaning my house, eating well, and mostly stopped going to the gym. Having those graphs is really very valuable; it makes it very clear the trade off I was making. I was offered a chance to stay in the group (with a more sane schedule, but still more chaotic than my previous position) and it would lead to a promotion quicker, so having the Beeminder data was useful as a counter balance.
Now for the bad news, and it is rather bad. Paying the monthly subscription has eliminated the line in the sand that was preventing me from cheating. The general rationalization is that I was too distracted to realize in time that I needed to archive or dial down the road. I decided that I really was going to prioritize other things and didn’t want to be distracted. It’s not about the money, a few of the goals were previously freebees that still were at 0, and nothing was at a high amount. If there was a one click button to just give up, get charged and have things derail and just stopped being bugged I would have taken that. The thing that I really didn’t want was to have my email inbox fill up with reminders that would tug at me.
So now I am in the awkward position of finding Beeminder valuable, but also apparently not believing in the whole commitment contact thing.
For starters I am experimenting with Complice as a change of pace. I have seen it highly recommended here a few times, and it seems like it’s worth it to try out that system. It certainly addresses my issue that I make goals, but then wind up doing some easier tasks and not making much progress on them. I think I will cut down on several of the Beeminder goals and rely on daily interaction with Complice for a bit and give that a try.
Of course on the 2nd day of Complice it said rumor has it that I was a Beeminder user (I guess since I mentioned Beeminder in how I found out about it) and walked me through setting up a Beeminder goal to set intentions every day. That was a very seamless integration. This goal is another example of my littler Beeminder paradox. It feels very useful for me to make this new goal. It’s a real artifact of a resolution I’ve made to myself, and it means that I can’t lightly decide to just blow it off. On the other hand, I can look forward to future me now, and if in a month I decide that Complice isn’t really the right tool for me, it won’t be a light decision and it will be one that I will want to take effect immediately…
Hmm, this became long. Sorry for the wall of text. And that I have fallen to the dark side.