I feel I need some way of tracking this over time and not allowing myself to add new goals or increase rates if it’s too high. I haven’t thought of a good way to do this yet.
Have you checked make.com?
You can set up an HTTP request to
urgency_load value and log it to whenever you wish (beeminder goal, google spreadsheet + chart etc); voila:
In case make.com doesn’t work for you, here’s a simple endpoint you can use to read urgency load: https://dash.deno.com/playground/beeminder-urgency-load (you just need to fork it and set environment variables).
Edit: I made lots of shortcuts here, if you need any help, let me know.
From Google Spreadsheets you can have a chart that checks your past or forecasts your future urgency load (
FORECAST) and outputs clear information on what’s your current status. You can also display your current urgency load as a widget on your phone etc.
Dialling down all my goals to stop myself stressing out over them seemed like a good idea but now I am stressed out because I’m not getting stuff done. That was predictable wasn’t it?
I’ve just added myself a ratechanges goal to make a rate change on at least one of my beeminder goals at least twice a week. This is directly inspired by @alys’s Overwhelmed or In Control? advent post as my current status is veering wildly between the two. I think long term rate changes and trying to keep my goals as green as I can are, in general, much better than putting breaks in goals which are fine when they are planned for a reason like “being on holiday” but not great when things actually need doing. I’ve made the goal just “rate changes” so that I can nudge goals to be harder or easier as I feel is needed.
A craft goal I set up to be done with a sashiko project by Christmas reached target and the project is completed. Always nice to actually tick something off as done.
One goal derailed before it reached the point where I’d made it easier for December. It was still at it’s initial $0 pledge and I’m quite happy with that.
I’m now tracking urgency_load just to see what happens with it and how it correlates to how I feel. I decided the sensible place to put the data was in with lots of other stats about my life that I store in Exist so I wrote a script to store the maximum and minimum levels of the urgency_load each day. So far I haven’t got enough data in there for Exist to come up with any correlations but I’m definitely feeling like a low urgency_load isn’t as good as I thought it might be because it’s been created too artificially. With all my goals in the green I’m just not getting things done! I wanted to give my brain a break but apparently my brain is not sure what to do with this space and is just jumping around driving me nuts.
And I’ll probably have run out of breaktime on my goals by the time it’s actually Christmas and I have things to do that require an actual break. I’m not dialling any goals any further down now and happy to take derailments. I feel like I’m forgetting there’s a “just pay the pledge” safety valve on all the goals.
When it happens to me, I just get in my bed and watch anime.
This is my default state. This is my true form.
Would you mind sharing your script? I’m interested in the same workflow as you. No worries if it’s too messy and are lazy to strip out your API key, of course.
How is exist.io working for you, have you ever found something you didn’t know about?
I’ve been holding off on making this post because I want to make some new goals and reply to other things but I figure it’s better to catch up first before I add new stuff!
Despite putting breaks in both my noms (food tracking) goals and revamp (work project) goals derailed over the Christmas break. I’m quite happy with that though, no terrible consequences just the realisation that I kind of needed a break from things more than I realised and that dealing with family is even more emotionally draining than I remembered.
I’m making ongoing minor changes to goals for my ratechanges goal, nothing worth calling out.
I’m planning to add new goals soon
- to track working on my website/blog that I’m getting back into after a long time of it lying fallow, and
- to track time spent exercising.
- possibly a goal to track actually finishing stuff in some kind of general way, not specific to any particular field, I have lots of half finished projects/commitments lying about taking up space (some mental, some physical) and I want some way to get that space back. It’s just a random idea at the moment but I think it might be useful if I can work out how to quantify/qualify/word it.
It’s a good question! I’ve been using Exist for several years and certainly at first it threw up useful correlations to me. I didn’t keep any notes at the time that I can find now and I think I’ve ingrained most of the things I’ve discovered. I remember being surprised that I got the most productive computer time on the days when I also got the most distracting computer/phone time - the days I’m working at home are simultaneously distracting and productive whereas days I’m out and about are neither. Now that’s obvious to me but it wasn’t when I first saw it from Exist.
I’ve been thinking of maybe giving up on Exist as I think maybe I’ve exhausted the insight it can give me, but first I’m piling more and more bits of data in to see what new things I can find. It’s not come up with any terribly strong correlations with urgency_load so far other than it tends to peak on Monday and go down as the week goes on which makes sense. I’m going to look at moving some things away from being urgent on Mondays if I can though.
Good idea. I have a plan to share more scripts and bits this year, they are mostly badly hacked together until they just about work and I’d like to be better at polishing them up so I don’t mind sharing them. Maybe I need a beeminder goal to post useful stuff like that too!
Everyday’s a new year with Beeminder, and though I think the first of the year in the dead of winter is a terrible time to make sudden major changes it seems that I think January’s still a good time for a stack of new goals.
I changed my pomodoro goal up so that I could send datapoints to it straight from where I create them in Obsidian. (Actually technically since the old goal was an odometer and the new one is not I made a new pomodoro goal and set it up with similar settings/safety buffer to the old one and then archived the old one.) And that workflow also meant I could send datapoints to other goals just by using a hashtag while I was at it. It’s really tempting to add a load of goals for different projects and I’ve been trying not to do too much new stuff at once so I’ve only linked it up with a couple of new goals so far.
I think the only goal I’ve removed is my taskratchetcheck one. I was finding taskratchet to be one too many pieces in my todo system at the moment, and not well enough linked into the other bits.
nocto this was an old goal I had for blog posts, I’ve pulled it out of the archive and repurposed it to count pomodoros working on my blog, which removes the pressure to actually publish stuff but makes it more likely that I will.
workwork I’m not too sure about this one. It was inspired by @alys’s “First Things First” goal for getting down to important stuff in the morning as I have a habit of doing the easy things first and putting off the hard things as long as I can. It needs a datapoint (using the pomodoro hashtag thing from above) before 10am. One reason I’m not sure about it is that entering a datapoint after 10am would just make me super early for the next day, which I won’t do deliberately but might do accidentally - is there a way to enforce a datapoint only between 6am and 10am at all? And the other reason I’m not sure about it is that it seems that doing the big work first means I don’t get round to the little work that does still need doing. But that seems like shifting things along to where there’s a smaller problem to solve, which is probably good.
stayfocused Something Alys said in another of her posts about using
truemean to aggregate datapoints throughout the day made me realise there was a way to beemind sticking to a schedule by reviewing how I did on each block of my day. Rather than write an essay here I’ll make another post about that soon!
focushours A companion goal to stayfocused that logs how many hours each day are on the schedule. Made when I realised I could cheat the stayfocused goal pretty easily by making the schedule only cover very short periods of time.
stravatime Going through all the end of year review stats that came my way and one that stood out was that I spent 314 hours of 2022 in workouts, which is 51.6 minutes/day. My aim is that at least an hour of each day on average should be exercise of some sort so I thought it’d be a good idea to beemind that and try and up it a bit for 2023. It’s currently set to 55/mins a day and I’m trying to hang on to my 7 days of safety buffer.
exercisetime I set this one up by mistake. Stravatime was what I wanted, this one uses the exercise minutes from my Apple watch which are always more because they include all the odd bits of running up the stairs etc. I’ve left it because I thought it might be interesting to see how it correlates with stravatime.
mindfuldays While I was messing around with setting up Apple Health linked goals I thought it’d be a good idea to beemind the number of days I do anything that ends up as mindful minutes (using the
nonzero aggregation setting). Meditation is the aim but reading with the Forest app and even just doing the Breathe thing with my watch also add minutes that would count. They are things I forget about until I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed and doing them regularly is definitely a good idea but one that I forget about. Set up with a stupidly low bar of twice a week and I’m already edgeskating it.
Excited about the
I’m interested in this as well for my “morning walk” goal, that should happen after the sun is up, but before 10am… Tagging @dreev in case he didn’t see it yet.
This is an interesting take on new year resolutions, it’s a bit comedic too, so I hope you don’t mind me stealing it and using it sparsely IRL
The stayfocused post ended up here, and I’m finding it really tough to stick too but also very useful, which is a good combo.
cleanhouse My housecleaner decided to retire after working for us for a number of years, and for various reasons I think it makes sense not to directly replace her, so I’ve made myself a goal to do the extra cleaning in the house that she usually did. Set to 3 hours/week, which was how long the cleaner came for, and I’m using the timer in the iOS app to keep track of it.
readeveryday I joined in a Storygraph challenge to read every day in January and it was good for my mental health to try and get some reading in every day and not stop for a break after I’ve just finished a book. So I’ve set up a Beeminder goal to carry on doing that. I’ve used meta-minder to run it off my regular Storygraph autodata goal. It has a tiny bit of safety buffer and is 6.5/week to account for the fact that I think it might not always fire off on schedule as looking through the storygraph goal data it sometimes doesn’t pick up data until after midnight.
dancemusictime A goal I set up to read Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time sequence. I originally had it set at one of the books per month but quickly dialled it back to a book every three months which fits my rhythm much better. I’m still not sure if I actually enjoyed them but I’m happy to have read them.
ratechanges goal is working well at just dialling things up a bit without anything feeling too overwhelming so nothing major has changed. I haven’t derailed on anything recently.
I’m feeling like I have a good balance of goals at the moment, there’s always something to focus on but it’s not overwhelming.
[Totally stealing the above graphic dashboardy bit from @rperce!]
deadtreebooks It occurred to me that I mostly read ebooks when I would quite like to get through more of the paper books I already have (or have access to, or could buy etc) so I made a goal to read them. Currently set to a very easy 1/month with a couple of weeks of safety buffer, but I’m already half way through a book and I’ll ratchet the rate up soon.
I’m feeling very organised lately! I’m trying to shift all my goals out over the akrasia horizon and am having fun watching the urgency load chart at Beeminder UI - I’m trying to get rid of things as soon as they appear due within 7 days. The chart is dominated by the things I try to do most every day (around 6/week for most of them) and it’s encouraging me to keep up with them and not let them slide back to beemergencies.
And also it’s giving me breathing room to add new goals as I think of them, and give them enough space that they aren’t going to overwhelm me. And the same goes for increasing rates on the goals I already have. I’m feeling in control and functional.
So this post is to knock out the beeminderthread portion of the pie before it grows any bigger!
Excessive use of brackets
(Which will of course make the other sections bigger, but the overall pie will be smaller (except the graphic will stay the same size) (and also we need a better analogy than pie since more pie is always better) (though I guess eating the biggest portion of the pie is best so that bit makes sense at least)).
I love both that you stole the dashboardy bit and that you’re pushing everything over the horizon! This too is my goal. We can do it!
I’m super happy you find BUI useful!
I don’t use it much apart from urgency load page these days too. I think about dedicated app for urgency load. It could look like this:
Do you like it?
IMO urgency load is much better feature than paying for goals. It gives you normalised number for completely different activities. It prioritizes things. Akrasia horizon becomes the new red.
The missing link (for me) in the urgency load story is some kind of planning ability. The whole reason I’m trying to push everything over the horizon (over 14 days actually), is to be able to plan a week. I.e. I’ll do that goal on Tuesday and Friday, that other goal every Wednesday, with a tool giving me the amounts needed to do. The amount due should be enough to make the goal reach 7 days due on the next scheduled day. In essence that’s following something like a variable stair-shaped (stepped) red line.
Whether the point of action is goals with 6 days due, 1 day (orange is the new red), 0 days or any other number of days is a red herring. I just couldn’t begin to imagine starting to implement a scheme like this while simultaneously edge-skating. If I’d get the tool (either software, pen & paper, a simple expanded due-by table, …) working I’d probably just go back to edge skating, but with a little more control about which goal gets due when.
To be clear, all of this is no way to game Beeminder. I’m pretty sure I’ve been derailing significantly more while trying to reach urgency load zero.
remindersurgency This is a goal to track whether or not I’m keeping my to do list focused and sorting it out regularly, as much as a goal to actually do the things on it. One leads to the other, at least that’s my theory. So far, going terribly, but I feel it’s a step in the right direction. I posted a thread about how this goal works at Urgency Load for To Do Lists.
I thought it’d be useful to note here which goals have been recipients of rate changes thanks to my ratechanges goal. I’ve made minor increases to pomodoro, exercisetime, fitness-plus, mindfuldays, storygraph and beeminderthread in the last month.
My attempt to push everything back over the akrasia horizon is going terribly as well, but I don’t feel especially overwhelmed by the high urgency load. It’s managable, and nothing is actually due today which gives me freedom to choose what to concentrate on today.
The last couple of weeks have had odd things happening that have meant it’s hard to keep plugging away at everything. But that’s part of the point in doing things before they are due, so that the safety buffer can be used when it’s needed. As I said previously…
and as @ianminds points out in the post above this, safety buffer gives you space to plan, but it doesn’t actually keep you from derailing by itself.
My revamp goal derailed. This was a goal I set up to make myself check work into the GitHub project, which also means it made me do work on the project. I realised it was going to derail, did some work and then forgot to push it to GitHub. Which makes the derailment infuriating but completely legitimate.
I have two other goals that are basically ‘do some work’ (pomodoro and stayfocused) that have been edge skating recently. I’m surprised I’ve managed to keep them both on track. In particular I’ve got some changes I want to implement for stayfocused but I it doesn’t feel reasonable to do that until a derailment gives me a reset/rethink break.
I have some breaks put in for the coming weekend when I’m away from home. There’s part of me that would rather just use up some safety buffer for a short break like that but I don’t think I’ll manage to have enough on all the goals that need it and I don’t want to get home to a screen of red goals. The thing now is to make sure that I get things done before I go so that I don’t accidentally use up my break buffer before I go and come home to a screen of red goals anyway.
I kept pretty much on top of everything until the break I had scheduled which was good. But then had one of those weeks where everything seemed to be in my way last week. I wouldn’t have had to be very much more prepared to have avoided derailing on my pomodoro goal over the weekend following the break but I wasn’t. So, it’s Monday of a new week, and I’m back at it again!
I’m feeling like there is a lot of my plate and I’m getting nowhere but the numbers tell me that the former is stuff I can cope with, and that the latter isn’t really true either, the balls are moving slowly but they do have momentum.
My stayfocused goal derailed and I’m trying a slightly different, more flexible approach, I talked about that over here. The new version is good so far.
I’m archiving three of my goals this week. None of them very major or interesting.
readeveryday was making a streak feature for storygraph which they’ve now implemented themselves so I’m going to use that instead. No commitment there obviously though, but that’s fine.
plover was a goal to learn stenography which is going nowhere at the moment, the goal isn’t holding me to anything and, if anything, is making me think I’m doing something I’m not.
exercisetime which was one I set up by mistake (I wanted Strava exercise time, not Apple Health exercise time which is what this one was) and thought I’d leave to see if I got anything out of it but it’s just become dashboard clutter.
I reset my craft goal to 3/week and ratcheted it back to 7 days of buffer. It had lots of buffer and was autodialled so when I forgot to enter data for it the goal just got further down the list. This way it should appear on my ‘things I need to do this week’ radar and I’ll remember to enter the data. I’ve also switched the autodialling off for now.
My cleanhouse goal derailed. I had a couple of bad nights of sleep and managed to get the few minutes of required cleaning done the first day, the second day it wanted ~30 though and I chose to rest and concentrate on other things instead.
I’ve put a number of breaks in for a few days next week; they are all happening slightly later than I would have liked as I forgot about scheduling them until a day or so closer to the akrasia horizon than would have been ideal. If I keep on top of things this week I should be able to get ahead enough of myself and it won’t be a problem.
Feeling ok with everything, derailments seem to be coming in a constant stream lately, but they are definitely in the “derailing is nailing it” vein and it’s not a case of “aaargh, everything is going wrong”. Dropping one of the spinning plates at a time gives you time to set them going again whilst keeping spinning the others up. I feel pleasantly busy and occupied rather than overwhelmed.
mindfuldays derailed because I just clean forgot about it. A few of the meditation sessions I’ve done lately have seemed to do my head more harm than good so I’m on the fence about axing this goal as one that isn’t working for me, but I think I’m giving it another chance, and being mindful about the mindfulness I choose.
I got my urgency load down to 11 before I left for a long weekend, which I was pleased with, I came back to 51 this morning but I’m getting on top of things already.
I’m archiving my donestuff goal, which is to keep a ‘done’ list as opposed to a ‘to do’ list because it’s feeling like more effort than it’s worth, and I have at least three other things that are pushing me in a similar direction. I’m keeping the journal, just archiving the goal for now, and I’ll bring it back it it seems useful again in the future.
My brain doesn’t want to get back into work mode after a break but I think I’m pretty much on top of everything and have good plans and don’t need to push into too high a gear too soon. Pretty good I think.
A week with no derailments, nothing major going on and my urgency load is way down and dropping quickly. I’m back to trying to zap goals as soon as they appear on my 7 day radar.
A couple of weeks back I put a long break in my ratechanges goal as I felt I’d reached a point where trying to dial something up all the time was feeling stressful and I was feeling like things were well balanced. I’ve dialled a few things down since then which I should probably count as changes on the ratechanges goal since I’ve remembered I deliberately made it changes and not increases but I had only used it to increase rates and had forgotten about that.