Beeminding Hardcore Sporadic Commitments

I’m trying to figure out how to beemind my work time. I work from home, and it can be a real struggle to continue working when there’s some tempting option that I’d rather do oh-so-badly. I’ve found that this struggle contributes to my fatigue levels substantially.

My desired solution is to be able to commit using Beeminder to a number of hours I’m going to work today, and then have Beeminder be so hardcore about it that not meeting today’s commitment is not even thinkable. So my requirements would be:

  1. Number of hours I’m committing to is set arbitrarily at time of committing
  2. Once a commitment is made, not meeting it always results in a derail
  3. Not making more than n commitments per week results in derail
  4. Ideally, all these requirements are met with one goal

What I’ve got set up currently is a do-more goal where, each morning, I add a 0-value datapoint with the amount of hours I’m committing to work recorded in the comment. When I meet the commitment, I change the datapoint to 1.

This approach meets requirements 1, 3, and 4. However, if I’m ahead in my successful-commitments-per-week, then not meeting a commitment does not result in a derail, which is undesirable for my use case. I want this goal to ensure that each time commitment I make is gold, regardless of how many commitments I’ve succeeded at in the recent past.

Any tips on how I could meet all these requirements in a single goal?



I figured out a work-around that didn’t require changing my goal at all—enter a negative value in the morning, just enough to get the datapoint into the red, and then change it to a positive 1 when the commitment is met.

If anyone has a better solution, I’d still be interested to hear it. :slight_smile:


I guess any system will work as long as you a) write down your desired outcome and b) review at regural intervals if this works and c) you don’t find too many excuses for failing :slight_smile:

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Can’t you just set it for 7 per week, and on days you don’t make a commitment, just enter a 1? Think of the 1 as meaning you did everything you needed to that day.


That would be another great way to do it! I think both the advantage and the disadvantage of that approach is that it would force me to engage with the goal every single day. I may very well switch to that approach if I find myself ignoring the goal when I’m ahead.


Yeah I like having to deal with my goals every day - it’s a good reminder. What’s the disadvantage?

Two things I think:

  • I don’t want to be forced to think about it on the weekends, and I’m not paying Beeminder enough to have the Weekends Off feature. :wink:
  • I’m wary of letting my Beeminder goals get too rigid and intensive, as I need enough flexibility for life to happen without me becoming resentful of my goals.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m thinking about this wrong?

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Two solutions:

  • Pay the beeminder people more. They need the money so they can send me more stickers :smiley:
  • Sit down one time and just add the 1s for the next 10 weekends in one go

I have a goal that’s to not do something. I score a 1 for every day I don’t do it.

This has been really helpful for all my other goals, because it only takes 1 second a day, it’s an easy win (turning red to green every day without having to do anything feels good), and it helps set up the habit of using beeminder everyday.

Other people have a daily “check into beeminder” goal for this reason.

I can totally relate to the “too rigid, need flexibility” fear, but realize it’s what’s stopping you from achieving your goals. Just start small: for instance, n=1. One day a week, choose a number of hours to work.

Cool system. Keep us updated about how it goes.

A not-very-documented feature of Beeminder is that you can enter future datapoints…

This coming Friday is the 18th of January. If I wanted to commit to (and meet) doing zero hours on each of the weekend days, I could make entries like this in the Advanced Entry form:
2019 01 19 1 "zero hours Saturday"
2019 01 20 1 "zero hours Sunday"

You can also Retroratchet to zero days safety when you get ahead, but then I’m confused about what #3 number of commitments per week means if you can’t get ahead…

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@phi Point taken. :wink: I feel like I’ve definitely done my part to support Beeminder. I was at the Bee Plus level for quite a while, and have paid in my fair share of setback stakes. Also, I buy a month of a higher tier on occasion to add goals, short circuit, etc. But priorities shift, and sometimes it doesn’t make since to be a continuously-paying subscriber.

@zedmango That’s fair. :slight_smile:

@philip Thanks for the tips! The system is working really well for me. Having a way that I can hard-commit to a number of hours for the day has really done a lot to reduce my stress levels while increasing my hours.

And so far I haven’t found that ignoring the goal has been a problem, even though I’ve gotten quite a bit ahead on it. In the case that I forget to make the pledge in my goal, one of two things happens:

  1. I feel the old stress of using my willpower to stay on track, which cues me to go back to the goal and set the pledge.
  2. I forget that I haven’t actually made the pledge, and go through the day stress-free-and-productive as if I actually had.

I call both outcomes a win. :slight_smile: