Banking progress across goals

Continuing the discussion from Between Lion and Ladybird, or Figuring Out What Works:

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You can of course beemind this.

The IFTTT triggers can add a datapoint to the ‘bank’ goal every time a datapoint is added to one of the underlying goals. If you need to scale this to account for an ‘exchange rate’ then you can (probably) use our IFTTT macros.

But there’s no need to shuffle balances between the underlying goals, which breaks any QS value.

Each of the underlying goals can have a relatively conservative slope, whereas the do-something-today impetus is in growing the bank.

A also use the Plan Bee feature of autoratcheting to make sure that none of the underlying goals gets neglected.

A concrete example: my own general fitness goal, which gets a point regardless of whether I’ve been for a run, to the gym, etc. I don’t need to go for a run very often to keep the running goal on track, but I need to do something that will grow the fitness ‘bank’ every day.


I think I wasn’t very clear about the bank I use. Each task has its own ‘bank account’. So that I will not break any QS values here. The only rule to deal with the bank is that I cannot take 4 hours from task 1 account unless I put 4 hours in any other task’s account.

This will allow the ability to be flexible. So if my daily plan is to work in all of my tasks for a total of 12 hours (task 1,2,3 each for 4 hours), in a day that I feel I can push myself more and do the most important and boring task (task 1), I can do task 1 for 8 hours and do 2 hours for task 2 and 3. Here, I will add in task1 bank account +4 , and add in task2 account -2 , and add in task3 account -2 .

I would love if I can do that 8 hours for task1 everyday, but the energy to do something like this does not happen everyday. This is just an example. A lot of day to day serendipity will happen that will need changes for the schedule of that day on the fly. Beeminder’s 1 week akrasia horizon will prevent such necessary changes. Flexibility in this sense is a real need for most people.

Of course, to prevent akrasia, the total amount of taking and putting in the bank for all tasks in a single day should be >= 0 .

And putting a conservative slopes for all tasks (like 1 hr for task 1,2,3,) will have the disadvantage of being less motivating to do what I wished for. The whole idea of Beeminder is pushing me to do what I wish and what I think I am able to do everyday. However not all my days are the same. Sometimes task1 will get a larger chunk of my day and sometimes task 3 will get the most.

I think it was clear, thanks. It seems to me that, as described

  • the current reported total progress on any of your goals is likely wrong (i.e. reducing QS value)
  • there’s a slippery slope of how much ‘in debt’ a particular goal can get
  • there’s no mechanism to help you keep track of the entries (or to keep them in balance)

Even just starting to beemind an overall bank-balance ‘goal’ would help enforce that. Send all your plus and minus datapoints into the bank goal and it’ll make sure that you’ve stayed above zero for the day.

The slope on the bank forces overall progress. The conservative slope on individual goals marks what minimum amount of progress I have to make.

Of course, I use auto-ratchet to make sure that I don’t build up so much safety buffer that I could completely forget about a goal. But even the discipline to regularly manually ratchet each goal is less than the discipline to 100% correctly run a banking scheme.

You must also have some (outside-Beeminder) way of enforcing that you don’t always choose to do task 1 and never do task 2.

People who need Beeminder tend to be very good at rationalising the reasons that their slippery self-enforced schemes are necessary. It usually turns out that they’re slipperier than they are necessary.


@philip Thanks for the thoughtful reply!

That’s a good idea.