Beeminder Forum

Brennan's Beeminder Journal

Week Fifty-one! I’m recovering from a minor surgery and just settling in. Overall, things are going good. I’m finally diving into Eleventy which I wish I had done sooner! It’s similar to Jekyll, but a lot more powerful and flexible, and although relatively niche right now, I see a bright future ahead. I’m planning to migrate my Jekyll projects to it.

Anyways, back to Bees, it’s been since entry #25 that I went over all of my systems entirely! And since this is entry #51, perhaps I’ll make it a bi-annual sort of thing. (Would data points be too sparse to make that a feasible Beeminder? Hah!)

I apologize for the following redundancy, however I felt it was a good idea to just have a single, cohesive reference that I can add to or modify easily. Each system has a explanation, as well as an update on how progress is going:

(Additional apologies for going a little emoji-crazy, but once I start I really can’t stop.)

The Metasystem 2021: Review

:compass: LEGEND:

  • :green_circle: Denotes Beeminder goals that are going really well, and are at a point where I enjoy doing them or do them automatically.
  • :yellow_circle: Denotes Beeminder goals that I’m having difficulty with, but still manage to get done when needed.
  • :red_circle: Denotes Beeminder goals that I’m either often derailing on, or putting off altogether due to friction somewhere.
  • :memo: Denotes Beeminder goals that are outcome-oriented, meaning they track finished, tangible products in some manner.
  • :repeat: Denotes Beeminder goals that are systems-oriented, meaning they track daily habits that contribute to outcomes, but can be done endlessly.
  • :balloon: Denotes Beeminder goals that are miscellaneous or meta in nature, or just for fun.

:pencil2: Writing

  • :green_circle::repeat: Writing:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of words that I write digitally, with a rate of 450 words/day. Data added via first-party integration with Draftin.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in June 2020, I’ve written over 160,000 words(!). I was intimated to start doing it sooner, but it was a habit that I quickly started to enjoy. Most of this is just private journal entries, but also counting blog posts, poems, and this Bee Journal!
    • :yellow_circle::memo: Blog:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of blog posts that I write, with a current rate of 1 post/week. Data added via IFTTT and Medium.
      Current Progress: I’ve written a bunch of more blog posts since I started tracking this again last year, around two dozen that I’m proud of! Recently, though, I’ve been deleting posts that I’ve been writing because I feel as though they haven’t been up to snuff, so I’m going to be lowering the rate to 2 entries/month.
    • :green_circle::memo: Journalbar:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of posts that I add to Journal.Kim with a rate of 1 entry/week. Data added manually.
      Current Progress: I’m often late in writing these updates, but I still manage to get out on per week, and it’s really enjoyable!
    • :red_circle::repeat: Morning Pages:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of words that I write in a Google Doc, with a deadline of 11am instead of midnight like all of my other goals, and a rate of 250 words/day. Data added via URLMinder.
      Current Progress: Currently archived, I still haven’t started this one! I’m going to push myself to just get it started this week.
    • :yellow_circle::memo: Poetry:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of poems that I post, with a rate of 1 poem/week. Data added via IFTTT and Tumblr.
      Current Progress: I’ve written around 50 new poems since I started tracking this again! I’m currently in a bit of a creative slump though, but it’ll pass.
  • :yellow_circle::memo: Twitter:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of tweets that I post, with a rate of 1 tweet/day. Data added via first-party integration with Twitter.
    Current Progress: I’ve been using this on a private Twitter for a personal diary of sorts, but since I’ve been using Draft for that more extensively, I want to transition to actually using a public Twitter.

:chart_with_upwards_trend: Productivity

  • :green_circle::repeat: Productive Time:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of productive time that I spend on the computer, with a rate of 6 hrs/day. Data added via first-party integration with RescueTime.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking again last year, I’ve worked roughly 1,200 productive hours(!). Similar to Beeminder, just having the graphs and data for my usage motivates me a lot.
    • :green_circle::repeat: GitHub:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of commits that I push to GitHub, with a rate of 1 commit/day. Data added via GitMinder.
      Progress: Since I began tracking last year, I’ve pushed over 700 commits(!) and create a few open-source projects that I’m really proud of. I could track my time coding using WakaTime as well, but this seems to be a good metric.
    • :yellow_circle::memo: Courses:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of courses that I complete on Linkedin Learning, with a rate of 2 courses/month. Data added manually.
      Current Progress: Since I began tracking, I’ve completed dozens of courses! But I do need to work on learning retention and meaningfulness, since I can breeze by materials too quickly sometimes.
    • :yellow_circle::repeat: Learning:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of time that I spend on specific websites and software to encourage my learning in the above courses, with a rate of 1 hr/day. Data added via RescueTime with custom categories.
      Current Progress: I’ve restarted this goal a bunch because like I said, I don’t spend enough time on materials, but I’ve been getting better at it the past few months!
  • :yellow_circle::repeat: Distracting Time:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of unproductive time that I spend on the computer, with a limit of 2 hrs/day. Data added via first-party integration with RescueTime.
    Current Progress: I only have clocked around 300 hours of distracting time this year, but I do derail on this more than most other goals, so I need to be more mindful of how I spend my time on the computer.

:muscle: Physical Health

  • :green_circle::repeat: Daily Activity:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount that I walk, with a rate of 5000 steps/day. Data added via first-party integration with Fitbit.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking last year, I’ve walked over 2.5 million steps(!), though I recently cut the rate by half because I wasn’t walking as much with the cold weather, but since it’s getting warm again, I’m raising it again soon!
  • :green_circle::repeat: Sleeping:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount that I sleep, with a rate of 7.21 hrs/day. Data added via first-party integration with Fitbit.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking last year, I’ve slept over 2,500 hours, which is double the amount of productive time I’ve accomplished, yikes. At least I’ve been rather consistent with the amount I sleep.
  • :green_circle::balloon: Weight:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount that I weigh, with a rate of -2.43 lbs./month. Data added via first-party integration with Fitbit.
    Current Progress: My scale broke, (though not because of me, I swear!), but I’m down around 15 lbs. since I began tracking in October.
    • :red_circle::balloon: Weight-check
      Metrics: Meta, tracking the amount of times that I add my weight data to FitBit and Beeminder, with a rate of 1 data-point/day. Data added manually.
      Current Progress: I was really consistent for several months, and I hope to start again when I get a new scale, whoops!
  • :green_circle::repeat: Foodlog:
    Metrics: Tracking the meals that I eat, with a rate of 1 data-point/day. Data added manually.
    Current Progress: Although rather superficial, I find it is helpful to just write down what I eat, even without nutritional or caloric data, and have found myself eating more healthy over the year!

:brain: Mental Health

  • :green_circle::repeat: Gratitude:
    Metrics: Tracking what I’m grateful for, with a rate of 1 data-point/day. Data added manually.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking last year, I’ve written about hundreds of things I’ve been grateful for! I should probably increase this to 3 things a day, though.
  • :green_circle::repeat: Meditation:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of time that I meditate, with a rate of 8 minutes/day. Data added via first-party integration with Apple Health and the Insight Timer app.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in October, I’ve meditated over 18 hours, and it’s definitely helped stabilize and increase my mood. I need to take the time I meditate more seriously, though.
    • :green_circle::repeat: Prayer:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of times that I perform the Rosary, with a rate of 1 prayer/day. Data added via Electronic Rosary.
      Current Progress: Similar to meditation, I’ve enjoyed beginning doing this practice, but need to isolate more time to devote towards it.

:sunglasses: Lifestyle

  • :green_circle::repeat: Duolingo:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of XP that I gain in Duolingo, with a rate of 20XP/day. Data added via first-party integration with Duolingo.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking last year, I’ve gained over 12,000 XP and have a 280-day streak! It’s a fun habit that helps me transition into focus, productive work.
    • :green_circle::repeat: Clozemaster:
      Metrics: Tracking the amount of points that I gain in Clozemaster, with a rate of 150 points/day. Data added via first-party integration with Clozemaster.
      Current Progress: Since I began tracking in October, I’ve gained 25,000 points and have a 140-day streak! I find it helps me learn French better than Duolingo at this point.
  • :red_circle::memo: Photos:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of photos that I post, with a rate of 1 post/day. Data added via IFTTT and Instagram.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in July, I’ve posted over 200 photos. Although I’m also in a creative slump with this rate now, and need to find what I want to photograph.
  • :yellow_circle::memo: Books:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of books that I read, with a rate of 3 books/month. Data added manually.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in June, I’ve read almost 30 books, or rather, listened to. I really need to get into the habit of sitting down and actually reading, instead of just having audiobooks so I can multi-task.
  • :green_circle::repeat: Jobs:
    Metrics: Tracking the amount of jobs that I apply for, with a rate of 3 applications/day. Data added via IFTTT and Google Sheets.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in September, I’ve applied to almost 500 jobs, which sounds a little crazy. I know that I need to start tracking more meaningful data points, like call-backs, interviews, etc.

🤷 Meta / Misc.

  • :green_circle::balloon: Derail:
    Metrics: Meta, tracking the amount of times that I have to e-mail about a non-legit derail, with a current rate of 0, meaning that I will derail if this happens no matter what.
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in November, I’ve only had to use this once so far, yay!
  • :red_circle::balloon: Meta:
    Metrics: Meta, tracking the amount of data-points that are added to all of my other goals, rather it’s manual or automatic, with a rate of 25 data-points/day. Data added via Beemind.me
    Current Progress: Since I began tracking in August, I’ve added nearly 9,000 data-points in Beeminder! Sadly, the API seems to have stopped working, so I’m going to have to archive. (It was silly and pointless, anyways.)
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Week Fifty-two! Finally, reaching a canonical year a few weeks late due to my usual tardiness. I decided to do a bit more of a qualitative write-up for my year review on LinkedIn and my main blog.

Which made me beg the question–should I be aiming to be more metric/quantitatively-focused, or qualitative and anecdotal? I’m leaning more towards the former than the latter, since sticking to the numbers help me stick to talking about Beeminder, instead of wandering off about other things in my life which I often do. :stuck_out_tongue:

One thing that reviewing this past year has taught me is that I need to review myself much more often! There are so many helpful things I take note of, only totally forget because I wrote about it weeks or months ago. Often, I feel as though I am a squirrel that plants useful acorns for later, and then forget, and hopefully they can at least become trees for others, hah!

Perhaps it’s a fear of realizing I haven’t really made much process, or just not wanting to cringe at past-me, but whatever the case, I need to get over it.

Speaking of excuses–I’m putting a stop to them. If I’m late, I’m late. If I derail, I derail. There’s no need to try to rationalize each and every setback I have, and it deters from me being honest–which is the entire point of this journal and using Beeminder itself.

Overall, I feel as though I need to take Beeminder more seriously–which might sound silly, but it’s true. When dealing with manual goals, I often just add data-points when I’m in the red without much regard. I had a dozen blank data points in /books because I just shrugged it off and told myself I’d fill them in later. As well as deeply thinking about the tradeoffs of tracking by particular metrics, etc.

That kind of irreverence really does not help me. I need to look at Beeminder-as-a-Meditation, more than Beeminder-as-an-App. In fact, it’s really more like Beeminder-as-a-Framework: It’s not really about the data or Beeminder at all, but rather revolving life around productive and helpful actions and intentions, rather than nebulous and ambiguous tasks in solitude that are washed away at the end of each day like sandcastles in the tide.

But then the question arises: When do you stop beeminding things? :thinking::thought_balloon: If something becomes second-nature and effortless, should I remove the goal? Maybe I’m being too sentimental about the data and history, and that the obvious answer is yes, because Beeminder has an obvious and almost strict function and intention.

When I look at my own archive page, all the goals there either stopped working due to a tech issue, or a personal failing. All of the goals that I’ve set up for myself so far have been created with the intention of having a lifetime permanency. Maybe that’s been a bit of a blindspot for me, and I’m kinda using Beeminder as a crutch even when I don’t really need it.

The obvious answer is no to me - if Beeminder helps something become habitual, why would you then take that support away? That’s like saying an umbrella has kept you dry, so you don’t need it anymore (as RBG said about the Voting Rights Act).

So I don’t think it’s a blindspot to intend to keep your goals as long as you want them. The crutch analogy suggests you need to heal from some sort of injury, and once it’s healed, then you can stop using it.

But I don’t believe that akrasia is something that can be healed from, the way a broken ankle can - I think it’s a human limitation that we use tools to overcome, and I haven’t seen much evidence that we can “heal” it with Beeminder. I see Beeminder as a tool to fight akrasia, and if you take away the tool, you lose its benefits.

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Agree with @zedmango as usual. I’d add that I think the major point would be, how much time/energy is tracking this goal taking up in your life? If it’s a complex manual goal that requires a lot of irritating tracking, then maybe it’s not getting you enough benefit to keep it around. But if it’s a single point a day, or autodata, then yeah, there’s no downside to keeping guardrails around. I have more than a couple goals like that, where i have never derailed and can’t even imagine derailing, but I know for a fact that when I turn the goal off, that activity stops almost immediately. Those goals are strictly road signs, but they’re no less powerful for that!

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Week Fifty-three! Things have been going really great for me the past few weeks, productivity-wise. I’m finally starting to chip away at the seemingly immortal list of things that I’ve been meaning to do forever, now.

The biggest update I have is that I’ve been using Noom for the past two weeks on their trial period. Part of using it was logging my meals for caloric count, and to my suprise, it’s both easy and really helpful! So, I’m going to be archiving /foodlog and start a new goal called /nutrition, where I’ll log my caloric intake via Fitbit from now on.

Anyways, the psychological tricks that they give you throughout the regimen are helpful, and honestly it’s sort of puzzling to me why they’re strictly just applied to physical health. This seems to be very common, where when people want to improve themselves or their life, they focus on one particular facet. As I’ve said, I believe taking a holistic approach is what’s been keeping me so successful, each system helps keep one another going.

Of course, that’s why I like Beeminder so much, it’s just a blank canvas to track whatever you want! Speaking of, time for some responses.

I’m rather conflicted about this–on one hand, I completely recognize within myself the almost-obvious permanence of akrasia, but I also recognize how it has (extremely slowly) diminished the longer I push myself to be disciplined.

Philosophical Yada-yada

There are many people out there (thankfully) that don’t require any sort of external tools or motivations to just do the work. They get up each day, without complaint, and immediately do what they ought to.

What separates me from them? Is it something unchangeable, biological, and rigid? Or am I capable of self-rewiring and transforming my behaviour to such an extent?

I honestly have no idea what the answer to that is–I am a layman when it comes to the psychology, or perhaps neurology. People that have successfully changed how they acted completely still have used external tools, be it medication or a therapeutic practice like CBT. Sorry, that descant got completely off-track. :sweat_smile:

My actual argument for eventually quitting Beeminder is simply to figure out a way to continue being productive and living meaningfully that’s product-agnostic. (Which I talked about way back in entry #2)

Simply because something could happen, where I could no longer use Beeminder, and I need to figure out a way to continue regardless of that, and prepare myself for it–hence Beeminder-as-a-Framework.

I think that after another year, in February 2022, if things are still going well, I’ll experiment with stopping the use of Beeminder altogether but still having a weekly accountability journal. I feel like that amount of times would make the attempt legitimate, and not “quitting and then subsequently getting super lazy and ignoring everything”.

On the complete other hand, this is also an excellent point. Using Beeminder isn’t actually that big of a deal–these are all goals that I’ve created myself. I think this image below aptly describes it:

beeminder-simpsons

Week Fifty-four! Another standard week. For starters, I created /nutrition and archived /foodlog. I stopped using Noom after my free-trial, as it didn’t really provide much value. (except for having a “coach” hold you accountable, I might create another thread looking for an accountability buddy for help keeping myself on track with a new project.)

Besides, FitBit’s meal-logging is way better, which is what I’m using on my new system. Since the calorie count actually takes calories-out into consideration, as well as macro and actual nutrient breakdown. They also gave me another 3-month premium trial, so I’m looking at my heart-rate variability and breathing rate.

Also, I’ve been grinding like crazy on Duolingo (as you can see on my /french graph) and finally reached the Diamond league last week and got first place in it! Only took me a year.

And the only reason I did it was to get the achievements for it. I guess gamification really works on me! That’s why I used 750words so much until I ran out of badges to achieve. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try Habitica again, but there’s so much overlap with what I already do with Beeminder that I don’t really see the point.

And in failure news, I finally derailed myself on /journalbar because I missed a week a month ago, better late than never! I also restarted /weight-check since I was doing so badly on it before, but I got a new scale and now I’m logging daily!

That’s about it for this week. Oh, also fun fact: I ran cat * | wc -w in the _posts folder on journalkim, and it turns out that I’ve written 33,000 words so far in this Beejournal, which is around the length of half a novel! Is that worryingly fanatical? Probably.

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Week Fifty-five! Another quiet and usual week, though I did have a bit of another health flare-up on Friday that sort of messed up my rhythm. I’ve decided to put a large majority of my goals to “weekends off” to help pace myself and be more mindful about dedicating time to good work versus good play, and not muck about with an unhelpful in-between that’s neither productive or helps me relax.

The only beeminders that I didn’t set to have weekends off were ones tied to apps that keep track of streaks themselves (my meditation app, Duolingo, etc.) because the activities are usually short and that makes “not breaking the chain” awfully motivating. I can’t say the same for timely, difficult tasks though.

I also think that it was a good idea for me to start with doing things 7 days a week (perhaps at a smaller rate) than taking weekends off from the start. I think it makes a good amount of difference in the act of creating habitual behavior if the task is done daily.

I also derailed on /nutrition on Wednesday, when I went on a hike where I walked 30,000 steps, since I needed to obviously eat a lot more than usual. I then recreated the goal with net calories instead of just caloric intake, and that’s been working a lot better.

(To be honest, I’m not sure why net calorie tracking is labelled for “Beeminder experts only!” since it’s really the only logical way to track calories at all. Your intake is always going to fluctuate based on your output.)

There’s not really much else to report this week. Although I will say that this article on willpower that Star Slate Codex wrote that @dreev posted in the Discord is a super fascinating read! I’m trying to figure out how to apply the idea to my own behavior, and maybe even try to see it’s accuracy?

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Week Fifty-six! Last week, I made things easier for myself by enabling weekend breaks for a lot of my goals. So, I figured this week I’d try to balance that out by enabling weasel-proofing on a bunch of goals! Including /poetry, /github, and /fitness.

I don’t really enter fake data the way I used to, when I tried using Beeminder a couple years ago, but I definitely still slip up from time to time, and it makes a lot of sense to just not have the temptation there at all.

Speaking of, I was trying out the new Road Editor to adjust the aesthetics of some of my graphs, which I do from time to time (I like to think of it as a morally-grey Bonsai trimming). While doing so, I noticed how much weasel data was in /blogging from long ago, and tried to see what my graph would look like if I fixed it all–since the goal is now weasel-proof’d, I thought I wasn’t able to change the actual numbers.

Whoops, that’s wrong! You can modify data on weasel-proof goals via the Road Editor. And that made me end up derailing four times in a row. And since I had to call 3 of those derails non-legit, I also derailed on my metagoal /derail. So, I guess if you’re super weasel-ly you can still fudge the numbers via the Road Editor.

That was an easily avoidable headache, but the good news is that /blogging has a lot more honest data now.

On a completely different topic, Freakonomics released a podcast episode recently titled Are You Ready for a Fresh Start? which I thought was interesting. One of the key takeaways was that behavioral scientists found people actually do perform changing behavioral patterns better when they utilize an important day–such as New Year’s, the first of a season, their birthday, etc.–but, that birthdays were actually a lot more effective than New Year’s Day!

My own birthday is in just a few weeks, so I’m going to try to use it as a “Fresh Start”. In spite of doing this Bee Journal for over a year, there are still plenty of bad habits I want to get rid of and good habits I want to begin–some not really being able to operate under the same Beeminder framework I’ve used for other things.

Plus, it’s spring! The weather is warming up, and flowers will be sprouting soon. Isn’t that nice? :blossom: :rabbit::cherry_blossom: :honeybee:

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Katy Milkman, from that podcast, has a decent newsletter. The last one (If the Finish Line Is in Sight, Then So What? — Katy Milkman) had that Freakonomics interview in it, as well as some other things including a good discussion of the Goal Gradient Hypothesis.

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Week Fifty-seven! It has been an especially boring week for me. I’ve been doing perfectly fine on all my systems, no derailments or derailment-adjacent scares, and also nothing really feeling all too easy.

I’m mostly just taking time to do some reflecting–I have a blog post due soon that lines up with my annual birthday review, an idea I’ve borrowed from Buster Benson. I usually (attempt) to pick out a central theme to attempt to base my life around for that subsequent year, although I allow myself to get rather abstract with the idea.

This year, I have two central and contradicting ideas: 1) Apply Overwhelming Force, and 2) Embrace the Cozy.

As I’ve written before, I still feel as though there is so much more that I could be doing, so much more that I ought to be doing. But at the same time, I recognize how difficult and sometimes unbearable the last year has been, and figuring out how to incorporate more coziness in my life could be both important and fun.

Of course, this is largely due to COVID-19–I had thought just a few weeks prior to this that things were look up regarding the pandemic, however this is no longer the case. Canada is likely to exceed the U.S. infection rate in the coming days, and our vaccines per capita have been far lower. We are resuming lockdown as a “third wave” hits my local region.

Of course none of this has to do with Beeminder, so my apologies for being so off-topic. I will add though that having the daily habits of /meditation and /prayer have really helped me deal with my anxiety–and perhaps I need to figure out how to Beemind a method to help my energy levels so I can get more done throughout the day. :thinking:

Thanks for the recommendation, I subscribed! (Also, @narthur mentioned Mailbrew in the discord server which is really cool as well.)

Week Fifty-eight! I’ve been largely working on the redesign of my personal website this week–and as I quoted Carl Sagan in entry #24, to make anything from scratch, you must first invent the universe. Which as been a little overwhelming for me. But I have finally begun to find my footing in the work.

I just have a bunch of little things and projects that are scattered across the Internet that I want to consolidate and unify in a pleasing manner that’s also speedy and accessible–which also parallels my non-digital life pretty well, too. I did set up a little site to show off all the open-source coding work I’ve been doing for the past year. :slight_smile:

Anyways, specifically looking at Beeminder, I think I need to figure out a way to automate the tracking of /journalbar, because having it be a manual entry means I let myself write this past the deadlines at times. (Like right now, by three hours).

In all honesty, I don’t really consider it that grave of a sin, since it’s a weekly event and a few hours late is an insignificant amount of time relative to that. But I’m also acutely aware of how dangerous of a slippery slope that line of thinking is. Maybe I can figure out something with Integromat or the newer Zapier clone and confusingly-similarly named, Integrately. (Which someone should try out, by the way.)

While we’re on the meta, I’ve thought about making this project a newsletter, though I’m not sure if that’d be helpful. I really want to start a newsletter of some kind but I just don’t feel as though I have anything of import that could go out on a weekly basis. That might just be imposter syndrome, though.

Also, I think I have to look into adding more to /fitness or perhaps create a new system entirely. I’ve been having pain in my leg after sitting for extended periods (which is very much not good for you at all), and I haven’t really been able to find a solid solution for this–maybe a standing desk, though those are expensive.

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Week Fifty-nine! Not really an entry this week, I’m afraid. I haven’t really been productive at all due to health reasons and have been feeling overall pretty demotivated. But I’m at the tail end of it and should be alright for next week. I really need to focus on addressing root causes and not symptoms.

It’s sometimes easy for me to forget what this is about: keeping myself accountable for my Beeminder goals. I get distracted easily with other things that are on my mind (and it’s a lot easier to just write whatever in these casual updates as opposed to an actual blog post or something).

And it’s also difficult at times to figure out what to exactly update on because things are largely the same. I’m happy with where my goals are and can do them all pretty well, it takes a lot of thought to figure out what to add next.

That being said, I think what I’m going to work on starting is a new beeminder goal for a specific repository (as opposed to /github which logs everything) where I’ll be housing my new website project.

As I’ve written about before, I’m attempting to create a place that I can put all of my stuff (coding projects, writing) while also being a place for daily journaling/microblogging. It’s not a technical issue, but rather a UI/design language one, which probably doesn’t make much sense.

Anyways, one good thing that I have done is create separate “productive” accounts on websites that are usually distracting for me (YouTube, Reddit, etc.) where I only consume helpful/educational material and let the magic of the algorithm continue to only provide me that sorta content. But, I do still need a separate “normal” account or else I’d end up being weasel-y and then the magic algo would no longer work as well!

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Week Sixty! I’m very late this week! I have been feeling pretty lazy, I thought I’d be alright after last entry, but that’s not the case I’m afraid. For starters, COVID-19 is surging in my area, and I don’t see myself being able to get a vaccine shot for another month or two.

Anyways, related to Beeminder, I derailed on both /french and /clozemaster this week, not because I skipped a lesson but because I didn’t gain enough XP, which wasn’t a big deal to me.

However, I made the major error of not updating the Respite number (also known as days of mercy–how much safety buffer you automatically get after derailing) to 0 from the default of a week. (Because of course I’d forget something like that.)

This meant that the day after I derailed, I completely forgot to practice my French–I didn’t realize that I’ve become accustomed to Beemergency notifications prompting me so heavily–and so I broke my streak on both apps. :’(

For Duolingo, it’s not a big deal because they have their cute “streak freeze” capability, however my 250-day streak on Clozemaster was gone completely.

I know it’s not really a big deal, and I just have to start over again, but it really demonstrates how one slip-up leads to another–spiralling downward the same way good work causes a virtuous cycle upward.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I also keep nearly derailing on /sleep, due to restlessness and messing up my circadian rhythm, which has also most likely been causing my poor mood.

When I get down like this, it’s easy to become disenfranchised with the whole idea of this–that I’m juts drinking the Kool-Aid of the self-help industry, and that the work I’ve been doing have just been easy busywork to distract me from the more difficult tasks that I’ve convinced myself aren’t Beemindable.

Although I think it’s good to have that kind of self-awareness and criticality, I also realize that I more often than not don’t feel this way, and that I am just trying my best, and that Beeminder is helping me a lot with that genuinely.

And although I don’t think Beeminder is a crutch–as previously discussed in this journal–I do have to wonder if it contributes to an internal or external locus of control.

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:scream: Sympathising. I think the first time I ragequit Duolingo was a streak breakage, before they allowed you to freeze them. Even though streaks shouldn’t be the end goal, something about having one displayed and then losing it breaks my brain.

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Week Sixty-one! Just as late as last week, but that means there’s consistency at least, right?

I’ve been having trouble with /github recently (and subsequently, /learning), specifically trying to find a new project. Or perhaps more aptly, trying to motivate myself to continue on the projects I’ve been working on.

One thing I’ve noticed–that’s one of my biggest pain points–is that I cannot plan and then execute. I can do things with reckless abandon and no foresight, sure, which sometimes lets me compile that work into something that’s rather large and impressive (this Bee journal, maybe), but overall that’s super impractical.

As soon as I make an actual plan for myself, long-term goals, it all falls apart. The more important and substantial a task is, the more I’ll procrastinate and ignore doing it. This is what I need to be working on the most right now.

In better news, it’s really exciting people start using my open-source projects for their work! (1, 2)

Yes, exactly! I use to be completely demoralized by stuff like this, but thankfully with Beeminder, it doesn’t seem to really affect me at all.

And I really think that’s because even if the website says I’m back at 0, I still forever have my Beeminder graph recording my upward progress. I think that’s why the whole “don’t break the chain” mentality can sometimes be more unhelpful than helpful, and why Beeminder is such a great alternative to it! :smiley:

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Week Sixty-two! Quite a few Beeminder-related things to talk about this week. First off, my failures: I derailed on both /distraction and /meditation a few days ago, which definitely was causation. Overall, I’ve been feeling distracted and disorganized.

I’ve had to adjust the deadlines for a couple of my OG goals that I started in 2017, since they’re starting to reach their default end after almost four years, which is wild. This caused a weird issue with /productivity which I think is fixed now.

Speaking of weird issues, /tweets says it can no longer track my Twitter account because I have my tweets protected, which is odd because the account has been protected this entire time and has been working just fine. However I’m fine with this, since I’ve been wanting to transition to a public Twitter account for awhile now. (I think I’ve figured out how to use it healthily–if that even is possible)

Also, a new system! I haven’t added one for a long time, now. So, /obsidian is going to track my word count in the app I’ve talked about before in my journal called Obsidian using this cool plug-in by kenzan100.

I know that I still need to start using Google Docs as well for my /morning-pages goal which I still have on the backburner. As well as set up the script so I can start tracking my chess playing as well. So many things to dooooo.

Also, totally unrelated, but This American Life’s episode this week was all about daily routines and rituals. One quote that stuck out to me was that “some days the ritual doesn’t matter much, some days it’s full of meaning. The important part is that it’s done everyday”–echoing the Bojack Horseman quote on top of my Bee Journal website.

Week Sixty-three! I suppose it’s time to announce some news that I’ve been sitting on for awhile, now. After a lot of thought over the year, the pandemic has made me re-evaluate a lot, as I’m sure it has with many. And so I’ve decided to go back to school, and have recently been accepted into the university of my choice for Fall 2021 intake.

I’m rather excited, but also nervous going back as a mature student, now. In order to help myself prepare, I’ve bumped up a few systems. With /writing going from 450 words/day to 2,000 and a few more daily hours for /learning.

I expect to use Beeminder in different ways as a full-time academic student, and hopefully my journal can help me with the transition. I’m not sure what I’ll be adding (or removing) yet, but I’m very optimistic Beeminder will help me a lot with my education. :smiley:

Of course, there were also quite a few derailments this week. First, /nutrition derailed simply because I’ve been forgetful about logging my meals, and not adding anything does cause an automatic derail. There’s more friction than there was when I was just recording with /foodlog, but I think the benefits outweigh it.

I also derailed on /morning-pages2, but on purpose. I’m finally archiving the goal, and actually starting the real morning pages goal with a starting deadline of 1pm to help me ease into it. I always feel more inspired and productive after I’ve started writing, but of course I put it off as long as possible. :stuck_out_tongue:

And, I nearly derail on /sleep almost every night, I’m barely getting my minimum of 7.3 hours. Though, I don’t know if I’m actually just needing less sleep, or if my schedule is really terrible. I do feel sluggish with brain fog, etc. but I can think of a number of things that would be the cause of that.

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Week Sixty-four! Well, it finally happened. The consequences of constantly edge-skating with beemergencies caught up to me. On Wednesday, I had a small emergency (everything is fine now) that caused me to miss a good portion of my daily routine, and caused a bunch of derailments because of that:

  • /obsidian ($0)
  • /jobs ($1)
  • /prayer ($1)
  • /learning ($0)
  • /writing ($5)
  • /meditation ($10)
  • /french ($10)

I decided that it’d be much less of a hassle to just let them all go through and pay–it was a lot less money than I thought (less than $30 total), and I suppose that’s because I rarely derail normally. (Any goal that’s <$5 hasn’t derailed once.)

Now, you could make the argument that I’m not derailing enough, and that my goals are simply too easy to achieve, but there’s a bout of suspicion on my end that that sort of philosophy is partially money-motivated for Beeminder itself. :thinking:

Regardless, it did bring down my morale for quite a bit. I didn’t bother going through each goal and ratcheting back to immediately start everything the next day. I instead let the default 7 days of respite go through and give myself a bit of an impromptu break. That was, though, a bad idea. As I’ve said before, inactivity begets inactivity, and I subsequently also derailed on /github and /productivity, yeesh.

But, I’m ratcheting everything tonight and starting my full daily routine again tomorrow. I can fail everything–even easy things, a million time–but so long as I keep bouncing back and continuing then that’s all that matters!

In other good news, I’m finally half-vaxxed today as well! And my area is fully reopening on July 1st, which I am cautiously optimistic about.

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Congrats on getting dose 1! :heart:

Look at my straight face in repeating this! Maybe it can be an empirical question you don’t have to take our word for? The steeper your goal, the more you get done but also the more you pay. Both extremes are bad: If you flattened the red line, you’d pay nothing and do nothing (ish). If you made the red line absurdly ambitious you’d constantly be in a panic, get tons done, but pay way too much for derailments. So somewhere in between is the optimum – where the value of what you get done minus the cost in derailments is maximized.

I think people are very different – reverse all advice etc – and some people should absolutely be more ambitious and derail more and others are courting burnout and should dial their graphs down and/or have fewer of them.

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Week Sixty-five! I haven’t written in quite a while, and there are a few reasons for that. Trying to increase certain goals quickly has totally thrown off my momentum with everything. I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with the bare minimum that a lot has gone neglected.

This is great though that it’s on-topic with what I said in my last post, and with what @dreev’s replied with:

My biggest pratfall is my inability to find this balance, I think. Either I’m coasting or I’m overwhelming myself, the Goldilocks zone seems to always be on the other side.

Of course, the simple answer is to just slowly increase your rates on things that you’re doing easily. I made the mistake of thinking I could just leap amounts because I’ve been doing this for so long, now.

Going over the derailments I’ve had in the past two weeks because of this, /writing and /distraction for not being able to keep myself focused for long enough. As well as finally derailing on /sleep, though I’ve finally been able to start going to bed earlier and for longer. I also have plateaued on my /weight long enough for that to derail as well, but I think that’s a good reset.

Also derailing on /journalbar since I missed an entry last week, duh.

It’s easy to feel lousy and let yourself become complacent with how things are, but as long as you shake yourself out of it and get back on your horse (the sooner the better), then it isn’t really a big deal. A couple weeks of inactivity can feel like a lot if you’re just going by day-by-day, but it’s relatively small when looking over sixteen months and counting. I’m just going to reset my rates for everything for the time being then work my way back up.

I will have to admit though that one of the reasons I’ve been procrastinating writing this update is because I’m feeling a little burned out on the meta-Beeminding in general, the newest iteration of content around the forums has made it feel rather irrelevant. :stuck_out_tongue:

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