What Nikki beeminds


#1

So as I was looking over my list of goals today, I thought it might be quite nice to talk about what I beemind and how (and maybe sometimes why) at the moment. I know on Habitica people often ask about what tasks other people set up, and sometimes it’s a great way to go “oh! right! I could track that and it would be helpful!” So here goes, in order of what I need to add data to soonest…

  • dishes: Me and my wife have started trying to wash dishes as soon as we generate them, so this might need some tweaking now, but it’s an obvious thing to Beemind. I’m not sure anyone enjoys washing dishes – we certainly don’t anyway – so this goal reminds me to pull my weight around the house and commit to doing dishes at least once per day, five days a week. (I do it more than my wife as I work from home and have a smaller income, so it balances.)
  • reviewbacklog: Once upon a time, I was always on top of my reviewing schedule. Then I got behind, and I stayed behind. This is designed to catch me up, and then to stay on top of it.
  • crafting: I wasn’t making time for crocheting, and now I am, even if it’s just half an hour a day (and it usually turns out to be more). The problem is that I’m not actually working on the projects I should be working on (blankets) and am instead doing little amigurumi. Cute, but not the point of the goal. Might have to specify this one a bit more!
  • dissertation: The first time I wrote a dissertation (English Lit MA) I was really disorganised and overwhelmed. This time (Biology BSc) I am being much more organised – this goal reminds me to stay current with the literature and keep looking for more things to include.
  • backlogbooks: I have somewhere in the region of 1,200 books I own that I haven’t read. This is a reminder to get reading them, but per this thread I decided I wouldn’t work on reducing that number – I’d just work on making sure that I actually read from that pile, and not just the new shinies. It’s working better so far. These books have to be on a specific list I’ve compiled of all the books that qualify. Not on the list? It doesn’t count.
  • dailytodos: A longstanding habit of mine is to write down ten to-dos at the start of the day to be completed within that day. This goal tracks those via Todoist/IFTTT, and gives me a little margin for error by being set to only require 8/day. I’m getting some buffer on this one lately and I still find that motivating, because then it’s almost a game: can I build up a whole day’s buffer?!
  • netgalleybacklog: I receive a lot of ARCs. I am woeful at keeping up with them. I was Beeminding the absolute number of ARCs I had unreviewed, but that wasn’t working because suddenly I’d get a whole burst of new ones that would derail me instantly, even if I was on track. Not motivating. So now I just get to add a point when I finish an ARC. I’m pondering making it a points system (like another goal I’ll discuss later) where I get additional points if I review the book on time.
  • bibliophibian: I have a book blog (here, and every Monday I’m trying to post a discussion post. (This week’s was actually prompted by a chat with @adamwolf about the existence of a Hugo for Best Series!)
  • neatscience: I also have a pop-science blog here, which I neglected a bit while I was doing a full credit load for my degree. Now I’m trying to make sure I post once a week!
  • sleepingin: Set up with Twitter and IFTTT, per this post at College Info Geek.
  • bsupport: My meta graph for Beeminder. Currently tracked non-automatically via me entering stuff from Toggl, but I think I’m switching to Tagtime if my Excellent Wifecreature can help me get it set up.
  • inboxzeroes: Again, not automatically entered because I didn’t like the way that worked, but each day I zero my inbox I get to enter a 1. I don’t get multiples if I zero my inbox multiple times in one day, though.
  • morejoy: Another goal that came out of trying to Beemind my reading. This one is almost the same as the backlog one, admittedly, but it also lets me get a boost from reading anything – library books, ARCs, rereads, etc. I doubt I will ever derail on this, at the rate I read.
  • gameofbooks: I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I have a “game” set up whereby I get points for various things like how long it took me to read a book, how long it’s been on my TBR, etc. The rules are here, and my Beeminder graph is simple: I just add the number of points I get per book (or sometimes per day, if I finish multiple books on the same day).
  • test-tagtime: Here I’m just training myself to understand/appreciate Tagtime and how it works before I commit to entering the data for my support goal (and probably tracking my time on other sites too).

So there you go: anatomy of a workerbee.


#2

This is so cool!! I really like reading about other people’s goals and how they trick their own brains into doing what they ultimately want to do!


#3

Just a note on your inboxzeroes - you can register each time you reach zero, but use the Aggregation setting on the goal (if you enter a 1 each time, use “max”, and you will never get more than 1 total per day). As a workerbee, I’m sure you know though :grin:


#4

If you’re willing to have multiple goals around the same thing, then you may even be able to automate it. One thing watches the inbox and records the current level. Another thing watches the datapoints added and inverts them; adding a one if the count is zero. With ‘max’ for good measure.


#5

Since I wrote this, I came up with more goal which is probably worth discussing. This one is meant to help me tackle one of the symptoms of my anxiety: spurious requests for reassurance.

Background: I have generalised anxiety disorder with a lot of characteristics of OCD. When things are bad, I very easily get obsessed with the idea that I’m sick, whether it’s because of a random bump on my skin or a random ache in my side or whatever. It’s not much helped by the fact that for two years some serious attacks of pain were dismissed by my doctors as being anxiety, but when someone finally did an ultrasound, it turned out my gallbladder was chock-full of stones. So I have this massive fear that some symptom or other isn’t really my anxiety, it’s a symptom of something being wrong, and maybe this time I won’t be lucky enough for it to be something operable like gallstones.

So I ask people to help me check. Is this a bump or am I imagining it? Can you feel something weird here? Does this look infected? Etc. And most of the time I know the answer is “if you leave it for a week, it’ll go away and you might even forget it was ever there”.

The problem with asking people to check is that it starts to reinforce the anxiety: irrationally, your brain goes “I’m fine because I checked”, not “I’m fine despite checking”. So you check more, but then you start to need the checking behaviour more often. At my worst, I’ve been known to text my mother several times a day asking about some innocuous symptom or other.

The thing is, the logical part of me knows what’s going on. The logical part of me is fully capable of stopping the cycle, with some support. In the past that’s just been pure willpower on its own with my wife/mother/everyone refusing to give me spurious reassurance, and I’m fortunate that has worked for me quite well. But I was getting some anxiety symptoms again after coming off my meds totally for the first time since my anxiety developed (so proud to have come that far!) and I thought, well, I’m using Beeminder for everything else

To begin with, I’m going easy on myself. I can check in for reassurance five times a week, and it’s up to me when and whether I use those opportunities. (E.g. it’s not limited to once a day.) If I do ask for spurious reassurance, though, I have to enter +1 on the goal and lose some of my buffer. If I ask for reassurance more than five times a week, I’ll derail. So now I have that extra risk of derailing to make sure that when I’m seeking reassurance, it’s “worth” it. It isn’t worth it to check in for the seventh time about the bump on the back of my head.

Implementing something like this, it’s important to consider the fine print. Intense pain of unknown cause, vomiting “coffee grounds”, obvious infection, anything that obviously needs medical attention – dealing with that does not count as seeking spurious reassurance. And I think some leeway is also important: sometimes you just have to bend or you break, and sometimes my anxiety just gets so bad it needs an immediate outlet. I still have to enter that on my graph, but that’s why I’m allowed to do this at all, because having anxiety can be so horribly isolating. There’s no point painting yourself into a corner where you can’t ask for help at all: that makes it worse, too. You need room to mess up (and then you need to forgive yourself).

@dreev mentioned me possibly doing a blog post on this and I thought about maybe talking about other ways I’ve come up with for Beeminding mental health. Who wants me to do it (subject to his okay, obviously)?!


#6

Please think about writing a blog on your mental health Beeminding. I’ve just begun a goal related to OCD and am trying to figure out how to incorporate your reassurance limiting goal since that’s my main compulsion. Thanks for sharing! I think it will help me (and others) tremendously. <3


#7

Oh believe me, I’m thinking it a lot! Might even bug my mother (psychiatry being one of her specialisations) to help me think it over. :slight_smile:

So far, I’m finding it helpful. I’d rather put off asking about this goshdarn bump on my head for one more day than admit to Beeminder I’ve asked for reassurance, so it’s already been motivating me to behave – even though I have plenty of buffer and could actually ask.