Advent 2022: 22. Beemind Usage of Gifts or Purchases

The topic for today’s Advent Calendar post is shamelessly stolen from the Beeminder blog post Beemind What You Buy. A tiny twist on it makes it especially suitable for the upcoming holiday period.

If you are given or buy or borrow something that requires time or effort to use, beemind it to make sure you use it! A simple Do More goal may be enough, but there are other options too, listed below. I did this when I was given a huge, gloriously illustrated dinosaur book for my birthday last year, and finally finished it recently at a slow rate of 1 page every couple of days. Without Beeminder I am certain I would have gotten part way through and never gone back to it - I’m terrible about spending time on things even when enjoyable.

If you find yourself derailing often, perhaps the item is not for you and you can consider selling it or donating it to a friend or charity while it’s still relatively new. You could include the time required to list it for sale or to find a new owner as part of your goal - that might be helpful to fill out the last few days before an archive takes effect, and stops the item sitting in a corner gathering dust forever.

You can even beemind prematurely if you’re considering buying something expensive. Want an exercise machine because you’re SURE you’ll use it every day? Beemind walking several times around a room or up and down a staircase for no reason other than exercise. If you can do that reliably for a few weeks, then the purchase is likely to not be wasted.

What type of goal to use? Here’s some ideas:

  • anything you can track by time (which includes most of items below):
    • The Toggl integration is fantastic if you use Toggl. A free Toggl account is all you need.
    • Otherwise, use a Do More goal with the units set to hours. To record less than an hour, for example 12 minutes, you can enter 00:12. The Beeminder Android app has a timer function (swipe right twice on the data entry part of the goal).
  • books:
    • An Odometer goal is great for tracking your current page number, if you have a premium subscription.
    • A Do More goal can track pages read.
  • craft materials or musical instruments:
    • A Do More to track crafting / practice sessions (e.g., 5 session of any length per week).
    • A Do More to track items finished or songs learnt.
    • Fractional Beeminding.
  • a health/fitness tracker device: There are integrations for: