Advent 2022: 08. Orange is the New Red / Blue Means Do!

Today’s Advent Calendar post comes from Orange Is The New Red on the Beeminder blog. It’s a simple idea:
Each day treat your orange goals as if they were red - be as dedicated to working on them as you are to your red goals. If you can be consistent with this, you won’t have any red goals at all on any day.

I find that the best way to manage this is to do my orange goals first each day. I can rely on the threat of derailment to make myself do my red goals later in the day when I might be tired.
Alternatively, you can add pessimistic presumption datapoints to your orange goals to make them actually red, without losing the safety buffer they already have.

The blog post advises you to get a head start on this strategy by scheduling a one-day break on all your goals for a week from now. Make a note to yourself that that day is your orange-is-the-new-red day and don’t fall into the temptation of taking the day off. (See Advent 2022: 01. Setting Breaks and Beethinking Breaks for some tips about setting breaks.)

My favourite version of this strategy is actually to do my blue goals first: “Blue Means Do!
When I see a blue goal, my instinctive thought is “It’s so close to green! With just a bit of effort it can be perfect!” and I find that more motivating. I also love seeing more green goals on my dashboard, so that helps to push me to work on the blue ones, especially on days when there’s only a couple of them.

The advanced version of the strategy is to treat your green goals as if they were red, until you have 7-day buffers on all your goals. This is “Dark Green is the New Red” as @dreev said once (now copied to this comment below).

I love this strategy and in theory use it every day. And you are all absolutely forbidden from looking at my dashboard today! Do as I say not as I do! :smile: This week has been a little chaotic.


I’ve been doing OitNR since July and it has been transformative. One of my favorite benefits has been reduced support burden: I almost never have to email for a “oops, I did the thing, I just didn’t record it in time” non-legit call, since when that happens I have a full extra day to true up the data. I gave myself a generous break on my most recent vacation, so I’m trying to make the most of it and push all my goals to green!

Unrelated: the “Dark Green is the New Red” comment link 404s for me, and searching on d’s user page for “dark green” doesn’t turn anything up. Is it in a private thread or something? If so, maybe @dreev could you cut a snippet out and comment it here for posterity? :smiley:


Ah you’re right! It’s a private thread. Thank you for mentioning that! I’ve removed the link from the post but here it is in case @dreev does want to copy out some of it:


Happy to! It was in the context of a discussion with a worker bee qua user struggling with beeminding effectively in the face of some disruptive life circumstances:

You could generalize Orange is the New Red to “dark green [*] is the new red”. You say you know with certainty that some crisis or another is coming at some point. Maybe that can be your mantra motivating you to keep that safety buffer?

[*] This is currently pretty subtle and only appears in the graph image itself but conceptually “dark green” is “7+ safe days” which means immunity to the akrasia horizon.


This is so smart! I have tons of energy in the morning, so I get all my red goals done… And then there’s no red, so I just mess around until the next day. No more.


*looks at @alys’ dashboard almost five months later and sees: 1 orange goal, 1 blue goal, rows and rows and rows of green goals*. congratulations and hats off to you for being so much on top of your goals!! my dashboard looks much more colourful in contrast these days, despite having very little goals in comparison. :p

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Ha, thank you. :slight_smile: You caught me at a good time. Several of those green goals are from breaks or from derailments with long respite periods but I’m really loving seeing almost all of them green and I’m working to keep them that way.