Beeminding work-life balance; weekends

I am running an experiment: beeminding work time. Not work on any particular project, but simply being “at work”. This wouldn’t require minding if I worked a straight 9-5, but having a flexible job, I sometimes skip out for family, and having deadlines, I sometimes work till late. Balance is nice in principle, but how to account it? in particular, it is hard to remember the exceptions and balance them out.

My current (new, sorry, no results to report yet!) experiment is a do more goal for standard work time per week. Anyone have experience with this issue?

I’ve read mention of a potential “off the hook on weekends” feature (or some generalization thereof); obviously very relevant and I would love to have it.

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I’m struggling with this today. In fact, I just derailed off my goal of tracking how many pomodoros I do each day. I work part-time and my schedule can get affected by my kids’ health or school needs.

Also I wasn’t sure how to account for doing busy work, meetings, etc. when I wasn’t sitting down to do a dedicated, tracked 20 minute pomodoro. I changed my slope, but of course that takes a week to kick in. I’d try to guesstimate, and fudged a day or two I wasn’t at work, since I hadn’t been able to change a week ahead of time.

Then I went ahead and made a bogus day with enough to get me on track yesterday. However this morning I decided that was weasely and deleted it and derailed myself (first time, so next is $5). I’m thinking I may have to abandon this or just crank it way down so I don’t risk derailing, but that defeats the purpose, right?

Sorry, I hope this wasn’t thread-jacking and hope we get some better ideas presented.

The way I dealt with this was to deliberately write the case into my fine print - I went for: if a pomodoro was worth 1, a period of work that I guessed was as long as a pomodoro would be worth 1/2.
That helped compensate for my guesses being too high, and it also created an incentive to time-track work when I did do it.


Well, it depends what “the purpose” is. If the purpose is “force myself to do an unreasonable amount of stuff” then yes, dialing your road way down defeats the purpose, but that’s an unreasonable purpose. If the purpose is “give myself some extra motivation to work consistently, and get a better conscious sense of how much I actually do work, and eventually find ways to gradually increase my productivity”, then this is exactly what you should do — dial the road way down so you can easily stick with it for a few weeks, and then reevaluate/gradually increase it. Finding the right rate is tricky, but it always works better to start too low and increase than to start too high.


Really beautifully said! See also our blog post on Beeminder burnout and maybe Bethany’s Bee Nice post.

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I agree with Brent on the start low and treat derailing as mostly feedback (easier said than done, of course).

There is also the issue of tracking overall at-work time, for the very different purpose of balance. Any ideas?


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Balance is nice in principle, but how to account it? in particular, it is hard to remember the exceptions and balance them out.

I’ve been doing something similar with tracking my work pomodoros for a few months. I’ve done it in the past, but got smacked by the fact that I’d have to go onto the customer site and do a ton of (very valuable, productive work) that didn’t fit into pomodoros. My first approach, which worked well, was to beemind the absolute minimum lowerbound and make sure I always was in the green.

What I’m trying now, as I increase the intensity, is having an escape hatch. Right now, I’m debating whether I can just slam a bunch of pomodoros during the day, or am going to derail and send an email to support stating “Not legit, see fine print reason A)”.

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Yes, this will happen! Probably as part of our generalized road dial. See commentary and updates on uservoice.

Recap of your options in the meantime:

  1. Colors! If you get above the road (green) by Friday night then you’ll be at worst in the right lane (blue) on Saturday, the wrong lane (orange) on Sunday, and you’ll have a beemergency (red) on Monday.
  2. Schedule breaks. This is currently tedious but possible. I have a goal where I’m in the habit of scheduling a break each weekend for the following weekend.
  3. Automate it with the API. (Let us know if you do; we want to make such things easier so asking dumb questions is actually helping us a lot!) The roadall parameter makes this and all manner of yellow brick road hackery possible.

I’m working on this but haven’t got that far due to being busy on other projects. I suppose knowing other people want it should motivate me a bit more!


I’d really love this. A few of mine are work goals and I only work M-F, so I have to try to make sure that I get enough done any given day so I don’t fall behind and have to get a huge amount of work done on Fridays. (daily rate is 180, but over 7 days that’s 129). Really looking forward to this!

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OK, I’m on the hook now! Mentioned in a (daily) beemail and everything. Guess I’d better put this on the top of my personal project stack. Any Python folks who want to lend a hand, let me know! Email, Twitter and IRC all welcome, and I think Discourse has messaging built in too?

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Want to beemind progress and show us the graph? (:

(Also I’m going to move this to the Akrasia category for a bit more visibility.)

@dutchie Which channel on Freenode? :slight_smile:

Is there already a #akrasia channel or similar? If not, perhaps there should be! (though an IRC channel dedicated productivity feels somewhat oxymoronic). For now, you can /query dutchie.

@dreev, perhaps! I did have a goal tracking global github commits, but it wasn’t really doing anything so I archived it. I do find commit tracking to be a little too easily gamed, in that I end up posting lots of one-line changes. I suppose it’s just a matter of finding the right goal rate. I’m also slightly cautious about adding more goals, since I managed to rather overwhelm myself recently by getting carried away in that department. I’ll have a think about it at some point.

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I usually avoid queries unless it is a very specific one (I don’t have one for you as of now :slight_smile: - for projects I want to more like follow, I’m more into idling in channels … I’m larsivi on freenode too, fwiw.

I agree that commits is a fairly difficult thing to beemind properly. For these kind of projects (most kind of spare time projects really), I rather find time spent the best measure. Everything else is likely to put undue stress on something that is something done in my spare time. Of course, you could create a goal to beemind the commits, but make the goal easy enough to not really bother you or make you try to game the commit log

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