I’ve come to find that Beeminder shines when it pushes you to implement changes, but all ways of using it are not equal.
Let’s say you want to “wake up earlier” because you have determined that it correlates with life satisfaction.
A common approach is to create a Beeminder goal to be awake at a particular hour. Creating this goal without any support is a naive approach because it doesn’t consider the root cause and you might be stuck with it for a long time before figuring out that being sleep-deprived is not what you wanted.
So you end up going to sleep at 4 am and waking up at 8 am for a week and end up super sleep deprived.
The intelligent approach is to create a goal that says, “Make a meta change so that I will wake up earlier with minimum negative side effects.” For short: “meta change to wake up earlier.”
Naive problem-solving recipe
In chronological order:
- Having good ideas for a change to implement
- Trying out this change
- Assessing the effectiveness of the change
This method is effective. It made me take showers, clean my room and text my grandma.
But I believe that this is not enough. One will end up with ineffective improvements; they will be too costly compared to alternatives or produce side effects. Or sometimes you cannot do them and end up paying 30$ to Beeminder.
The metaminder’s approach
So, what if we go through this loop way faster?
Finding good patches
You have to be honest with yourself, and that can be hard. You must think of yourself from an outside perspective as a system to debug, fix and improve. This exercise does not come naturally.
The most effective way that I found is to journal on the internet because you have to be honest online. People will point out issues in your reasoning and give you ideas.
Journaling about an issue in public is the best way to find good ideas for fixes for a specific problem.
One of my fixes to my goal of getting better sleep a few layers down is leaving work at 10 pm.
Beeminder shines here. Nothing more to say! But beware of the after-effects. Is this what you wanted?
Evaluating a patch’s effect
- Gut feelings
You can then choose to eliminate, pivot, or reinforce the patch.
Not assessing your goal might lead you to burnout or missed optimization opportunities
Make it recursive!
So, what if we applied some bees on top of bees for each of the steps?
|1st degree (normies)||2nd degree (beeminders)||2nd degree (metabeeminders)||Concrete bee implementation|
|Finding good patches||Beemind finding patches||Beemind improving the quality of patch-finding ability||Beeminded public journaling + ???|
|Applying new patch through natural motivation||Force new habit through artificial motivation||Improve quality of artificial motivation||bee-minding habit + ???|
|Assess new patch through genuine motivation||Assess new patch through artificial motivation||Improve the quality of patch assessment||beemind Exist usage and journaling + beemind improving quality of quantified self practices|
And more generally, I’d say that one beeminder goal that should be mandatory for general life improvement is “find a problem that impacts happiness and spin an improvement loop.”
Instead of waiting to be upset with a problem to the point of creating a beeminder goal, let’s have a procedure for it. No more “I’ll fix my sleep later”… You must start journaling today or pay 90$.
Burning out of beeminder is a problem you can fix with the recipe, and it’s just one layer of recursion below.
Beeminder goal: “Improve cost-efficiency of problem-solving recipe.”