Beeminding Todos according to deadlines, not absolute # completed


I would like to beemind my todos, but I don’t like how all the current Beeminder integrations seem to be based on an absolute # completed (# per day/week). This seems impractical because the # of things I have to do varies from week to week. It seems like it would be too easy to manufacture simple todos like brushing my teeth and marking them complete to get the # completed I need for my Beeminder goal. I wish I could Beemind getting todos done ahead of their deadline.

I currently use Wunderlist for my todo lists, but I would be willing to switch to another system if it will work better with Beeminder. I use Wunderlist mainly because of its smart due dates (typing a date in a todo sets the deadline to that date).

If this topic has already been adequately addressed elsewhere, please point me to it!

This is a slightly longer more elaborate explanation of my question that I posted farther down in the thread:


I think I got what you need, hold on… here it is:

Either I’m not understanding or this is different than what I had in mind. This looks like a whittle down goal for a set of goals under a specific project. This would not work for ongoing todos being added and completed (homework deadlines in my case).


Guess I thought wrong then! I got something, but it’s not what you need :slight_smile:
(Though technically I still think it fits to what you described initially but sadly not in a convenient way. You could make such a goal for every individual deadline and in there would be all todos sharing this deadline. But who would want to do that.)
What I linked does however avoid manufacturing simple / more interesting todos because at the one deadline all todos had to be done.

But back to your problem:
What you want is a goal with multiple deadlines (if I guessed correctly this time). I don’t think that’s possible. Not right now at least. Not directly.

I am very curious to see how this can be solved though because I am looking into convincing other students to Beemind doing their homework for Uni.

This isn’t quite correct either. Let me try to explain again clearly:

I use Wunderlist to put in HW deadlines for my classes. Wunderlist has an excellent week view so I can see exactly what is due in the next 7 days. This works great, but I’d like to integrate with Beeminder to help me.

All the current to-do list integrations beemind the # of to-dos completed (i.e. 10 per week). This seems impractical because the amount of to-dos varies from week to week. Some weeks it is easy to get 10 things done because you have 20 things to do. Other weeks you have less than 10 things to do, so you might come up with some things to put on your to-do list so that you can satisfy Beeminder.

I was trying to see if there were alternatives to this. The idea I had was to beemind how many to-dos are completed ahead of schedule since this would actually be useful in my student life.

Ideally, this would be one goal that gets data from all my to-dos on a certain list in my to-do manager. I am not tied to Wunderlist for my to-do manager.

Again, I don’t know if this is possible or has been discussed elsewhere, but I thought I’d post it and see what ideas other Beeminder users could come up with.

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As I was writing in another thread What's your current backlog counter? Jira has a powerful “query language” which allows you to do searches on any field. So a query for “status=done and resolution date < due date” is very easy to setup. You can beemind results of this query through Zapier.

I am not sure how this solves your problem of a varied number of tasks / week. On a week with only 10 new tasks , once you complete them you still need to plan 10 more and complete them as well to keep up on the 20/week goal.

I think this is a very common thing to want to Beemind – “generally staying on top of a to-do list” – but a difficult thing to turn into a beemindable metric.

Right now I mostly do this by beeminding “percent of today’s intended todos that I actually did” (via Complice); because it’s a percentage, it scales with the amount I need to do. It also encourages me to be realistic when I plan a day’s to-do list, because I will be penalized for over-promising.

But, that doesn’t really address a case in which much of your to-do list comes from external forces (like with school assignments). In that case, I wonder if beeminding something like “average time til deadline of todos on current list” would work. I don’t know how to implement that metric, it seems to be the actual thing you’re trying to manipulate. I know people do something similar with “average age of email in inbox” or “oldest email in inbox” to push themselves to tackle the bottom of the inbox first.

Actually, I wonder if just beeminding “time until next todo is due” would work; since, over time, that number would naturally shrink, you would have to continually work on things that are due soon and complete them to maintain equilibrium. Again, I don’t know how feasible it would be to connect Beeminder to that metric, but that might be the number that represents the thing you’re trying to change.

Of course, this might also be a case where it is easier to beemind an input, like “time spent on schoolwork,” where you use the weeks with fewer todos to get ahead on the work for the weeks with more todos.

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Are you sure that “done ahead of schedule” is a good metric to beemind? What’s your deciding factor for “ahead of schedule”? 1 day ahead? Half a day? Two days?
I can’t think of a way to do exactly that right now, but let me summon the purrveyor of help, and commander of fluff: @shanaqui /dramatic entry with a blue cloud of smoke/ for they might have an idea :slight_smile:

In the meantime being a student myself I would try to tackle this from a different angle:

  • Set up a do-less goal
  • Do less of: Procrastinating working on homework
  • per day and per class that still got homework left do be done you put a 1 into the goal

That does of course not integrate with any tool and shares the usual drawbacks of do-less goals so it’s far from being perfect or what you asked for. Still and in lieu of other ideas I am positive that this would be helpful.

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That is actually some nice ideas and I’m pretty sure the Trello API gives you enough info to make this into an integration!

@ssteiner you wanna give that a try?

I don’t actually have a genius idea, though I’ve been mulling it over!

I’ve been pondering whether something like the scheme @zedmango suggested for me and my book blanket (looks for link aha, in my thread about it) would work for doing to-dos ahead of schedule. They’d have to be the most important to-do of the moment, and one at a time, I think. Once I schedule in a to-do, add a datapoint of however many days I want. Say, I need it completed in seven days, so I add a datapoint of 6 (“pithy name for task” in the comment). Once that’s in, I can’t add any more data until the task is finished. Once it is, +1 (“for being caught up”) on any day when I don’t currently have a task that I need to beemind. That way I can build up buffer for being on time, lose it and derail if I’m not…

Idea needs tweaking, or test-driving, and only really works for Most Important Tasks though. I think. (Maybe some bright spark has an idea of how it can be modified for all tasks.)