Designing goal for limiting phone/computer during night

My first attempt, that mostly failed went as follows:

“no smartphone or computer after 0:00, phone calls are OK”

Typical failure is that midnight gets closer, I close computer, add +1 in goal tracking and switch off phone.

Then I decide to do one more tiny thing on smartphone (“just check XYZ”) and end spending too much time on phone instead of sleeping.

Obvious solutions that failed so far

  • just do not “check tiny thing” - I would not need Beeminder in the first place
  • just fail the goal next day - I have strong aversion to do this, but maybe I should try actually do this

Solutions that I will try

  • trash current goal as not working (“do not” goals )
  • goal for moving laptop and phone away from my room, before midnight

New goal created, failed goal archived.

I tried searching for similar topics, but for now I ragequit due to this forum breaking in page search (ctrl-f is intercepted by substandard forum widget).

I’m very interested in any solutions you come up with.

For a while I set up Tasker to force me to leave my phone plugged in after a certain time in the evening. This was somewhat successful, though if I was feeling extra akratic I could sit by an outlet and continue using the phone. Also, I wasn’t sure if leaving my phone plugged in all night, every night would be good for the battery.

I made some effort to make Tasker just shut my screen off after a couple minutes every time I’d try to use it after a certain time in the evening. It still feels like this should be possible with Tasker, but I wasn’t able to make it work.

You could use Tasker on an Android to simply submit the raw amount of time you spend on the phone to a do-less Beeminder goal. The thing I don’t like about that personally is that I always want to have the option to quickly check the phone if needed, not the least to make sure I don’t have any outstanding Beeminder goals. :wink:

Thinking about it, another approach might be to have Tasker submit a data point to a do-less goal if the phone is unlocked for more than, say, 3 minutes at a time after a certain time in the evening. If you use an Android, I’d be happy to help you set that up. I might even try that approach myself…



Personally I use the Screen Time feature on iOS Use Screen Time on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - Apple Support along with mobile tracking from RescueTime (linked to a Beeminder goal).

Recommended reading


How did you link up RescueTime’s mobile tracking to Beeminder? I just tried to set up a new goal and it wasn’t one of the options for RescueTime that Beeminder presented me with.


See this thread :slight_smile:
auto-beeminding iPhone use - #4 by apolyton


Ah, thank you! I could kick myself though as this is practically the same way as my current “do more productive things” RescueTime to Beeminder goals work, except mine are through IFTTT. I’m not actually using Beeminder’s proper RescueTime integration at all anyway! I’ve set myself up a “do less mobile time” one now in a similar vein, will see how that works for me.


for android, i simply use offtime. It sets a schedule for when to start/end blocking my phone. It’s nice because it has a soft end, where you have to wait 15 minutes for it to enable again. I did not even need a beeminder goal, probably because I want to wake up early to go to the gym to enable me to meet my other goals.


So offtime schedule actually works? I previously had quite poor experience with automation on the Android, hopefully it works.

I bought the full version, lets see how it will go.

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This makes me think of some of the things people have tried for getting out of bed.

In particular, somebody set up an IFTTT recipe to automatically tweet something embarrassing every morning, unless they got up in time to reschedule the trigger. A similar recipe could automatically add a -1 to your goal if you don’t actively tell it that you left your phone alone after adding your manual data point.

i.e. trying to shift from having to actively do something to derail the goal in the morning, vs actively doing something to stop it from derailing

I’m currently experimenting with the built-in iOS time limits, so that I get a prompt every 15 minutes when I’m using a particular set of distracting apps. Doesn’t always stop me, but usually makes me aware of passing time.


Status update! My beeminder goals that I tried mostly failed to have an effect, but Offtime works great.

I also have “do not kill Offtime scheduled break from 0:00 to 4:00” beeminder goal as an additional safeguard, and this turned to be quite useful.

Thanks for recommending this! I was skeptical because earlier phone automation on Android for me was a complete and frustrating failure (I want cron, arghh).



You are welcome. Another tip then: turn off battery optimization for Offtime so that it works well whem battery is low.

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Offtime worked fine, but authors decided to destroy it.

Registration is now mandatory, schedules unavailabme without giving it permission to harvest contacts and call logs - even for people who paid! There are several other problems, like giant “disable block” button that neuter entire block.

Is anyone aware about an alternative?

AppBlock is not allowing to block all apps, you can block only specific ones (so any newly installed will not be blocked).

AppDetox is toothless with block not working at all.

Flipd has no blocking or scheduling features (and requires registration, fortunately Guerilla Mail throwaway mails are accepted).

Any recommendations for alternatives?

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I’ve played around with using Tasker for something similar to this. I bet you could make it do what you need.

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I opened - I hope for something working out of the box, but I will try Tasker if I will fail to find anything and writing my own app will turn out to be not trivial.

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I found QualityTime to have fundamental functionality from the older version of the Offtime app, without requiring access to call log and contact info.

Warning - it is owned by an advertising company, self described as “Mobidays takes pride in its love towards mobile advertisements”.

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I found - and it seems much better.

Not made by people with conflict of interest.
Disabling of night block can be made harder to do.
More powerful block settings (maybe be drawback due to complexity)
Better handling of new uncategorised app - it is blocked.
Audited by F-droid people so it is probably not stealing private info.
Note: it seems to be not available on Google Play. Please understand what you are doing before you allow installation from .apk files.

QualityTime is getting buggier (I was unable to setup it, it rejects every email as already registered) and started showing full screen ads. And it is probably selling my app usage info - and operator/owner is sketchy as hell.

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Sorry I missed this last year (!) but if you just hit ctrl-f again (like twice in a row) then it does normal page search.

Also thanks for the huge contributions to the forum lately!


I have a particularly layered one since I know how easily I can get around most blockers. I used a browser blocker to block distracting sites, then I have a seperate browser blocker that’s an app, use action dash for apps and then on top of that I have an app to lock both my settings and any apps I use with a password that’s a random string of numbers written down somewhere in my phone. That way if something is REALLY important I can get around it but otherwise the effort to turn everything off and back on is too much to warrant most.

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Or Leechblock + hosts file + crontab restoring hosts file + computer setup to shutdown if running betwen 0:30 and 4:00 :slight_smile: )