Calming the Chaos Kobold (Alys's Beeminder Journal)

This is the journal that I committed to starting in my Advent Beeminder Journals post. I’m rather glad I made that commitment publicly because I know I’d have weaselled out of it by now without that. :slight_smile: I have a goal to manually track journal entries here, currently set to one per week. I’m using fractional beeminding, partly because I might want to take a bit of time to write each post, but mostly because I want an excuse to play with fractional beeminding. :slight_smile:

I most likely won’t be doing a weekly review of all my goals because most of them toddle along nicely with little thought, and derailments are almost always “UGH, I’m so tired, having a day off is worth the payment”.
I believe that’s a valid strategy but it’s been happening rather more often than I’m happy with, so I’ve taken the slightly scary step of changing almost all my pledge caps from $5 to $270. (BTW, the easiest place I know of to review all your pledge caps is on your Payments page.)

In each post here I’ll probably just ramble on about some new goal that I’m trying, or something interesting I’ve found about Beeminder, or something about my productivity ideas in general. I have a tendency to try new things that I quickly realise don’t work well, so expect to see some inconsistency in my opinions here. :slight_smile: I don’t see that as being a bad thing - some of the things I’ve experimented with have worked very well!

The name “Calming the Chaos Kobold” is because the house I share with Jeremy is aptly called The House of Chaos (we are both far too interested in things that are not housework), and because for a while in Habitica my moderator title was Guardian Goblin, which I rather liked. Kobold is the original German word for a goblin according to Wikipedia, and it’s nicely alliterative, so the Chaos Kobold is now my inner demon that needs rather more control than it’s had in the past.

Comments or questions about anything I write here are welcome.


My Metaminding Goals

I’m enthusiastic about the new metaminding feature (links below in case you haven’t heard of it). Here’s how I’m using it so far:

  • My exercise goal records how many sets of weight-bearing exercises I do every day. It’s metaminded by exercise_meta, which is set to a rate of 13 every fortnight. This encourages me to do at least one set every day, even if I have a safety buffer built up on my main exercise goal. I changed the aggregation method for exercise_meta to be binary (a custom goals feature), so that when I do multiple sets on a single day, I don’t accumulate extra safety buffer on the meta goal.

  • Similarly, my aerobic goal for time spent doing cardio exercise is metaminded by aerobic_meta. All of the meta goal’s settings are the same as above except that it’s set to 6 days per week to ease me into doing cardio more often. I’m using the Beeminder Autodialer to gradually increase that to 13 per fortnight (#autodialStrict #autodialMax=0.92).

  • This one is a hybrid. I have a journal_beeminder goal to track writing here and also a journal_personal goal for writing in my private journal. The journal_personal goal is a normal Do More except that it’s set up to metamind journal_beeminder, as well as taking its own manual datapoints. That means that on days on which I write a Beeminder Journal entry, I don’t also need to do a personal journal entry. I do not use the binary aggregation method for this, so I can build up extra safety buffer if I do two or more journal entries of either kind each day.

Related Links:


Hmmm, interesting thought! I have a couple of new goals where it might be good for me to have to do a bare minimum every X days, even if I’m ahead in terms of the amount… they’re designed to let me slack off some days, but not others. Thanks for sharing your meta goals, it gives me ideas!


First Things First Goal

One of my biggest problems is that I know what’s most important to do each day but I keep putting off starting it until late in the day, meaning that I’m finishing things when I should be sleeping, or I’m not actually doing them at all. That’s what I want to dramatically improve this year.

I’ve created a first things first goal as a Do More with a rate of 6 per week. At the end of each day, I assess how well I went with doing important tasks before other activities, and enter that assessment as a decimal number between 0 to 1.

It’s having mixed results so far. For a couple of days last week I worked really well with the goal as a motivator, but then I went into a bit of a slump. I’m pretty hopeful though that the goal will help me improve. It might just take a while for me to get over old bad habits. The goal has already derailed past having a $0 pledge, and it’s capped at $270, so the fear of losing money should kick in soon.


Ooh, how are you assessing it? I find it so hard to pin a number on stuff like this – I’m pondering a goal for adhering to the schedule I set out in Amazing Marvin, but I can’t quite think how to quantify that.


Very vaguely. :slight_smile: I just think back over the day and give myself a rough rating. It’s more about making myself stay aware of my focus and task list throughout the day than measuring my performance precisely, so this has been good enough for me so far.

I do have a couple of reminders to consider my performance that appear during the day but I don’t (yet?) use those as part of the assessment. They’re just to make sure I don’t forget that I’m meant to be doing first things first.

If I did decide that I wanted to track this more accurately, I’d probably have hourly(?) reminders and I’d set a value for the past hour (perhaps only 0 or 1 for simplicity, maybe with 0.5 allowed as well), and then I’d average them at the end of the day.


truemean Aggregation for First Things First Goal

Beeminder can do this for me!

I’ve changed my First Things First goal to be a custom goal with the aggregation method set to truemean (an average). A few times a day I assess my performance and enter a datapoint straight away (any decimal in the 0 to 1 range). I have entries in my daily routine to remind me.

I’m still not using any assessment method other than a gut feeling about how well I’ve performed over the past couple / few hours, but the increased frequency probably means it’ll be more “accurate”, and it’s certainly keeping my desire to stay focussed at the front of my mind.

Plus it lets me play with yet another Beeminder feature, which is always fun. :smiley:


Assessment Questions for First Things First Goal

I’ve changed how I do this, inspired by the questions that @k1rsty uses after each schedule block (Beeminding Sticking to a Schedule).
Four or five times a day, I answer the first two questions below, and convert the total from a percentage to a decimal (0 to 1). With that plus the truemean aggregation method, I’m feeling confident that my daily assessment is quite accurate enough.

If I ever answer “No (0)” for the first question, I can fall back to the third question to get points if my goals and TaskRatchet tasks are under control. Basically it’s a way of letting me do whatever the heck I want if I’ve already handled all my must-do activities for the day.

Did I have written plan(s) for this period?

  • (30) Yes.
  • (20) No but I was working on my full task list in exact urgency order.
  • (10) No but I was doing something reasonably sensible.
  • ( 0) No.

How well did I keep to the plan / task focus?

  • (70) More than 90% of the time.
  • (40) More than half the time.
  • (10) A little bit.
  • ( 0) No plan / task focus.

If I had no plan:

  • (80) All my goals are green and all due TaskRatchet tasks are done.
  • (50) All my goals are at least blue and all due TaskRatchet tasks are done.
  • (20) All my goals are at least orange and all due TaskRatchet tasks are done.