One of my rules when using Beeminder is that I only pick goals that I view as unambiguously good. It helps my commitment to them and clearly justifies their value when the limits on my behavior are never debatable for unproductive work. One of the consequences of this is that I tend to prefer “negative” limits on how I spend my time rather than “positive” limits. For instance, I use rescue time, and instead of putting a hard minimum on the amount of “productive” time I need to spend on my computer, I put a hard maximum on the amount of nonproductive time I spend. I could conceive of myself doing productive work off the computer or being away from it out of choice, but it’s hard to imagine a circumstance where I’d need to spend 12+ hours on Reddit in a single week. It’s much easier to push myself and significantly change my behavior when a measure, like time spent on Reddit, is very clearly bad, and I’m not encouraging myself to do silly things like split my large git commits into chunks and push them all to my github branches.
I use Habitica partly because the exp and level indicators better reflect and encourage task completion than does a simple calendar or task management app like Todoist. When I’m using Habitica, I can set things like the “difficulty” of a task, and that allows my exp or gold consumption to be a sort of index for how productive I am that week. I’d love to enhance this by hooking it up to Beeminder; however, atm it only allows me to set two options for my goals: dailies completed, and tasks completed. This will kind of work; I have a certain amount of dailies I already use now, and can set a goal to track those, because a bare minnimum might be the dailies I’ve created before introducing this mechanic. But I would really like to track something closer to the index of exp, because I could justify requiring myself to make large gains. Obviously, even this performed in bad faith wouldn’t work, but it seems psychologically easier to go along with my regular usage of Habitica only worrying about correctly identifying task difficulty and remembering to check them off rather than having to consider whether or not I’m creating a task to fill the Beeminder bar and prevent myself from incurring the penalty.
[On this topic, one of the things I would actually like to see in Habitica is the ability to set the priority or importance of task as a first case, or at least the option to rate the difficulty of tasks after I complete them, so that my rewards are more accurate. But that’s not really a Beeminder problem, and I’m not sure if it’s a fallacy to rate task difficulty post-completion for a motivational app.]