Any testimonials of people with ADHD having success with Beeminder or other commitment devices?

From what I heard, one of symptoms of ADHD is executive function impairment. Are there any people with ADHD here who successfully used Beeminder (or other commitment devices) to help with that (at least to some extent)?

Asking for a friend. No, really – I don’t have ADHD (to the best of my knowledge), I do suspect I might have a mild Asperger Syndrome (I’m not diagnosed, it’s just my suspicion) and I’m pretty sure I used to have serious OCD years ago (not diagnosed either, though), but that’d another story (I guess).

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It would not surprise me if an actual majority of people who successfully use Beeminder have ADHD. It’s pretty classic ADHD behavior to use deadlines as the primary way to buckle down and get things done.

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Yeah—I’ve never sought a diagnosis or anything but I certainly struggle with my executive function regularly. Beeminder absolutely helps, but only if your dislike for losing money is stronger than your procrastination drive! Which definitely wasn’t always the case for me historically—there’s definitely some periods of my life where Beeminder wouldn’t have been the right fit.

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Yeah I have really severe executive function impairment and beeminder is pretty much the only reason why I’ve been able to hold down multiple jobs without just dropping every single ball and/or forgetting to take care of myself completely

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Yes, this is the only thing combined with Focusmate which actually forces me to unfreeze.

hmmm… I’m not sure that mean the same when we speak about “executive function”. In cognitive psychology, the term relates to regulating micro-behaviors, like attention or inhibition. It is involves short-term memory and momentary behavioral choices. Executive function is tested using the Stroop task or the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST), exercises that are measured in seconds and minutes, not hours or days.

It’s my understanding that there’s a decent body of research about ADHD and Stroop performance and WCST, especially in children. There’s at least a few eye-tracking studies with ADHD Stroop performance. I saw one in particular that tried to account for reading skill that seemed pretty impressive, but I don’t see it in my notes. I can try to dig it up if you’re interested.

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You’re right @adamwolf . It’s just that cognitive psychologists use “executive functions” refers to micro decisions that engage short-term attention, inhibition, and memory.

I don’t know how it relates to the way many of us use Beeminder, which seems to engage long-term planning (“I want to learn Spanish” or “I want to shed 10 lbs”).

Maybe we should create such such “executive function”, micro-Beeminder, which measures goals in hours, not months, and give alerts in minutes, not days. For example, “I want to spend 45 minutes reading in the next hour”.

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You may be interested in this comment about the possibility of continuous beeminding that might be possible one day: Did weekly and monthly goals change? - #4 by dreev

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Thank you! I just did.

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First things first. I don’t have a diagnosis, but Tiktok is dead-set that I’m ADHD.

I definitely suffer from executive dysfunction, RSD, all but one of the “common ADHD symptoms” on the Mayo Clinic website and self-screeners always say "so at half your points you’d need a diagnosis. Dang over-achiever. I have slept on a pint of Monster Energy and regularly consumed up to a gram of caffeine. So, yeah, no diagnosis with a big big big but.

I don’t want to argue with people that obviously know more than I do. I do want to drop the study: " Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: constructing a unifying theory of ADHD" though and the easier to read Wikipedia paragraph that talks about ADHD in the context of executive dysfunction.

The way beeminder works for me with my executive dysfunction is pretty simple. My planning is disrupted, because brushing the teeth is as important as finishing my doctoral thesis. Things depend on each other, like I can’t work, until I ate, but I don’t have food because I don’t have impulse control and ate it all and didn’t plan to get more, but to go outside to the shop I have to shower because I’m filthy. So clearly, I can’t get out of bed and be good to myself until I managed to bring the motivation and energy to shower, shop, cook, eat, clean the dishes and pots (which are dirty to begin with of course) turn on the computer, sit down, disregard entertainment and get to work on the monument that is my PhD.

But… and this may be the additional undiagnosed autism chiming in, I do have good days where I can plan. I have heard from other neurodivergent types too that they love the act of planning (but lack the “willpower” or whatever to execute the plans. So in planning mode, when the task is not imminent but fuzzy, I am actually really good at breaking up the system and taking apart the steps needed to achieve the goal. So if in those situations I set realistic-ish goals (sometimes it even works, when I don’t convince myself that I can publish a high-quality youtube video a day). Beeminder then gives the external deadline. If I set it internally it doesn’t count, internal deadlines are just not a thing I respect I tried for 2 decades now and at this point, I should just stop, but who are we but animals. That external deadline shortcuts the executive dysfunction right away. That stupid $5 punishment. The simple loss aversion kicks the brain right into gear. THIS is the priority right now.

This is why I have micro and macro goals and I know many others do too. From showers to finishing a PhD it’s all been done on Beeminder (because those are 2 of my achievements arguably the shower one is the harder one of the two…).

So yeah, executive dysfunction may be the short-term inhibition (although I’ve read accounts on long-term stuff too), these knock-on effect through inexistent prioritization extend to any and all tasks in my life.

Have I procrastinated days on shopping, only for the dopamine to hit, me going to buy ice cream in that exact shop and forget everything else? Absolutely. Sometimes on good days, I remember to also take a tomato.

But yeah, when I can leverage the planning phases and a mix of input and output goals. Ideally, externally tracked through IFTTT / Tasker / the other integrations for me not to cheat (I have no bright line. It’s always funny hearing the bee staff talk about it because it just does not exist in my life. I’m neurodivergent, I know what’s right and wrong and this does not change with me doing wrong things as opposed to what is commonly portrayed in neurotypicals. I forgot the term, but it was something akin to an elevated sense of justice.) Did I mainly write a weekly newsletter because it’s a beeminder goal? Yup. Do I go to work easier, because there’s a big bad loss aversion… not me losing a job, but me losing $10? Likely (depends if you’re my employer reading this of course it isn’t).

Is this a glowing endorsement for beeminder for every ND person? Absolutely not. Not even everyone with ADHD. Just my specific type. And I use Beeminder despite a lot of decisions that are being made. I had to unsubscribe from the emails except for big updates and just returned to the forum because I wanted to understand that extremely user-unfriendly change to start all goals daily. But Beeminder will make their changes regardless of what I might have to say, so I stopped saying it. So in the end, it’s a “this works for me in my specific setup. Try it for yourself if you think it might be a last-ditch attempt to shortcut your dopamine cycle, but it will only work if you also make mental adjustments regarding your productivity and how much you can get realistically done. And even then this will cost you more money on top of what ADHD already costs you directly and indirectly because you will miss goals. Finally, you have to get over your RSD and contact support if something derailed because you were genuinely depressed/sick and they will mostly revert the changes and only in a few cases respond inappropriately to a mental health crisis, but be aware that that will also happen.”

An endorsement with more asterisks than the ToS of Apple, but still an endorsement, because it does work for me, despite everything.

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That’s really compelling, mufflon!

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raises hand

I started using Beeminder well before being diagnosed and now that I have been diagnosed I look back on my Beeminder use and realize it was probably one of the best coping mechanisms I have. The more I learn about executive dysfunction and my particular assortment of ADHD symptoms, Beeminder really is almost tailor made to help me.

  1. It gives me a deadline. I work best under some level of pressure and seeing the looming derailment gives me jist the right level of “oh crap, I need to get on that.”
  2. It reminds me of my long term goals and the little things I need to do towards achieving them. And the reminders are everywhere. The texts, the emails, the widget on my phone I will not forget about Beeminder anytime soon.
  3. Just seeing a blue dot on a graph makes my RSD/perfectionism kick in and in a way that is manageable. And then when I get the dot back into the green…
  4. It provides a sense of achievements that gets the dopamine going and then I can usually ride that wave to doing something toward another goal.

Beeminder isn’t a catch all tool by any means. I have other tools and apps that I use as well that serve other purposes, but for long term goals, Beeminder just works for me.

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@cthulhucultist dang that is a compelling testimonial! :heart:

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I had the exact same hypothesis, does the beeminding population (on average) have a lower executive function compared to the general public. I would be very interested in a general survey which can infer these metrics.

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