Brennan's Beeminder Journal

Week Thirteen! I couldn’t tell you exactly what the cause is, but for the past few days, things have sort of clicked with me.

This graph is really important to me. I’ve been finding myself motivated by grid-based progress graphs recently, and GitHub’s is specifically fantastic.

Having to constantly view my complete lack of progress in April prompts me to do work each day. It makes me cognizant of the fact that I cannot change the past, no matter how badly I did in it, BUT that I can always change the action I’m taking right now. That I can always do good from this point onward.

An Aside: Systems

Something important to note about Beeminder is that it represents only one particular system, specifically the upward spiral. Theoretically, the good that you do begets more good, and this feedback amplifies itself. The opposite of this is the death spiral, wherein a system is self-destructive until the point of no longer functioning.

The large majority of systems do not fit within either of these two definitions, however. They are neutral occurrences that happen throughout the universe. The ebb and flow, the natural in-and-out, the life and death of all things.

When we are apart of one of these complex, ever-moving systems, we do not recognize it. Only a two-dimensional slice of a three-dimensional entity is in our inherent view. And the use of logical fallacies and ego fill in what we cannot see or comprehend–the belief of detached freedom and total control.

This all may seem rather nebulous, but I believe this understanding is a required foundation. You cannot build yourself a good system without recognizing the ones you’re already within.

I have been on Beeminder for five years, and I’ve been researching self-improvement for a decade, but only now am actually doing good instinctively and without a copious amount of conscious effort.

When I began this Bee Journal in February, I had only 5 beeminders that I was looking after. I now have 15 that I am able to handle with relative ease. I believe this is the case because they feed into one another–they are all a part of a larger system–which I will show in my system review.

Systems Review


  • Writing: This keeps track of each word that I type on Draft, which eventually will become a finished work within one of the following:
    • Blog: My current blog, connected via IFTTT on Medium for ease of automation. I’m still trying to find my voice and what I’d like to consistently write about, but I am going to be starting to post bi-weekly.
    • Journalbar: That’s what you’re reading! A side-blog where I force myself to review and reflect what I want/ought to be doing vs. what I’m actually doing.
    • Poetry: I’m currently writing a new poetry chapbook, and publish one new piece per week.
  • Twitter: Not exactly related to my other writing, but I’ve been using Twitter as a private, short journal for daily summaries and progress.


  • Productive Time: A daily count of software and website monitoring. Recently had to increase the rate to 3 hrs/day, since I’ve been on the computer so much.
    • GitHub: Keeping track of the commits I push to my coding repositories, also had to increase the rate since I’ve been programming a lot.
    • Courses: Keeping track of the courses I’ve been taking, currently on a good tutorial about express and node.js!
  • Distracting Time: Ideally, I want to be spending all of my recreational time on analogue, since I have to spend so much time in front of a screen for work.


  • Daily Activity: I’m aiming for 10k steps a day, and I usually take an hour-long walk or bike ride daily–I find it really helps with my ability to work mentally.
  • Sleeping: Sleep hygiene is a major issue for me. I need to convert this to a custom goal since I also want to cap the amount that I’m sleeping to further improve my consistency.
  • Weight: Having to archive and do-over this system, since it can be automated with my FitBit now.


  • Gratitude: Writing down one thing that I’m grateful for, each day.
  • Duolingo: Currently in the silver league! Aiming for two lessons in French per day.
  • Books: Currently taking out audiobooks on Libby which are not only free, but also give me only two weeks to make sure I get through the entire book.

As you can see, these systems are not only categorically related, but they also feed into one another. Eg. I’m able to do more work and more writing when I’m more physically active and sleep better, or I’m able to get through audiobooks while going on a walk, or writing and coding are naturally increase my productive time in front of a computer.

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