Beeminding leaving work on time

This may sound a bit crazy but… I sometimes have a ridiculously hard time making myself leave the office, and I think I want to try beeminding leaving on time. I’m just trying to figure out how to set it up in beeminder.

I know I want this to be automatically managed using the location of my phone, and I know how to pull that with IFTTT’s iOS location channel (it allows me to trigger when exiting or entering an area, or both). I know this needs to be automatically tracked if possible, because this is the kind of thing I’d be tempted to cheat on.

My actual goal is to not stay more than an hour after my last session ends (I’m a tutor). I have both administrative tasks and clients to see on any given day, but on weekdays I do the bulk of my administrative work in the mornings (before my clients are out of school), and since weekends are busy I try to minimize administrative work on weekends.

The main reason I’m tempted to stay later is that there is ALWAYS more work that needs doing, and I have a difficult time deciding I’m done for the night given that. Additionally though, I also often hop on facebook or fuss with beeminder goals or do other such nonsense for a bit after I stop doing actual work.

[Side note: I don’t currently bring my laptop home from work, as I’m trying to minimize the weight I carry daily due to a neck/shoulder injury, so work is the only place where I have a full computer setup at the moment. I do, however, have an iPad, phone, and access to my partner’s laptop at home, so there is really very little I can’t do at home if I need to, and I’m not incapable of bringing my laptop home on the occasions where that is true.]

My intention when I wrap up with clients for the evening is usually to do whatever computering I have to do (work related or not) within a half hour. But the busier and more exhausted I am, the more I find that if I sit down at my computer at all, I tend to lose time–especially if I don’t have plans after work.

I’ve tried managing this other ways, including making plans with others after work and trying to develop an “end of the workday” routine to make me feel “done”, but I can’t make plans every single night, and I’m still trying to come up with a routine that sufficiently accounts for the chaos of my job responsibilities (we’re a young company that has grown a lot in the last year, and those are always changing). In the meantime, I think I need this goal.

So my question is, what’s the best way to set up the goal? I feel like the ideal system would be to take the time my last appointment ends and subtract it from the time I leave the office (via IFTTT and ios location and the ical feed from my work calendar and google sheets, somehow? maybe?) and send that number to beeminder as an hours-stayed-after-work number. Then I could set a do-less goal to minimize that number. But that sounds rather complicated and like it would have a lot of potential fail points.

Suggestions, anyone?


Cool! Here are some quasi-random thoughts.

If it’s useful, the clocky aggregation method can manage the subtraction of two times.

Part of your morning routine could include planning to leave the office, and setting things in motion to make that a real commitment.

If you’re on iOS, then setting a GTBee task could be useful; unless I mark this as done before a certain time, charge me!
You may only need to automate the physical leaving, not the intent-to-leave. I can imagine myself entering the intention to leave the office within the hour at a certain point, like setting an un-ignorable alarm clock.

Before going down an automation rabbit-hole, you could try the simplest possible manual option, and use that to learn which parts you’re ever tempted to weasel about, and automate those.

For verifiably arriving somewhere, I use Swarm (foursquare) to check in, such as at my gym. I worry about multiple datapoints if I were to use some kind of automated geo-location.

Just having to enter the time manually may be enough to cause a change of behaviour.

If facebook is the demon that keeps you in the office too late, blocking software might be helpful.

Regardless, keep us posted! There are a bunch of arbitrary-trigger based goals that it’d be good to beemind better.

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For now, since I don’t have time to fuss with this (even writing my post here yesterday was probably not the wisest use of my time)… I have recently started using complice, so I’m gong to try setting an intention for a leaving time there in the morning, and backing it up with GTBee.

I’m also going to more thoroughly block facebook somehow. Right now I give myself 1hr per day via the blocking extension I use in chrome, but when I run out of time and really want to get on there are always other browsers. I obviously need a more foolproof method.


If you have a child, become the one responsible for picking him/her up from daycare.

I’m trying to do something similar. I do need some flexibility in when I leave the office, but sometimes I stay later than I should or strictly need to.

What about a “do less” goal where the units are number of “hours late” and you limit yourself to a set amount each week? For example, if you often stay until 8:00 p.m. or later instead of leaving at 6:00 p.m. then you could set a goal of leaving at 7:00 p.m. each night to start. Your limit would be 5 hours late each week for a five day work week. As you get better and stay late less and less, you could limit yourself to fewer hours late. Of course, this could be changed to “minutes late” if that works better.

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