Beeminder Forum

Hammertime: Bug Hunt!

I recently read Hammertime on LessWrong and—while I didn’t necessarily love all of the hammers—I loved the concept of being mindful of the hammers you do have to whack any nails being stabby little annoyances (or big annoyances) in your life. Especially since I’ve been looking for ways to find things that could benefit from a judicious beeminding!

The whole sequence is rather a lot to commit to, but I’m very interested in going through the Bug Hunt, keeping in mind that “make a beeminder goal for it” is proven to be a pretty good hammer for me. If anyone else is interested, I think it’d be pretty illuminating to see some of the bugs that other people find! I’ll be posting updates here about how it goes for me anyways—especially if I find any new goal-candidates I’d previously not considered.

I’ll be posting my first pass at a Bug Hunt on Friday, October 8th: if interested, keep an eye on this space!


I did a bug hunt! Here’s my google doc if you’re particularly interested. I’m going to wait to make any goals until tomorrow when I difficulty-rate these and start in on the next Hammertime post, Yoda Timers, but here’s a handful of bugs that I think might be good early candidates for “solving via beeminder goal”:

  • I don’t meditate enough
  • I want to do more meal prep over the weekend so dinners are faster during the week
  • [my dog] doesn’t get enough exercise
  • Our raspberries are uncared for
  • I can’t keep plants alive
  • My beard is messy

Of course, these are all rather small specific bugs, but that’s why they’re easy candidates. I’m sure I can find some ways to use beeminder to help make progress towards the bigger ones!

On a meta note, doing the bughunt itself is something I put off without beeminder: I made a goal to draft the initial forum post, and my must-do entries for the past four days (today included) are “post bughunt forumpost”, “create bughunt spreadsheet skeleton”, “bughunt”, and “sort bughunt spreadsheet”.


I’ve sorted my spreadsheet and solved a handful of them with yoda timers, or at least made progress. There being a dead spider in the hard-to-reach corner of my closet was particularly easy.

In the Yoda Timers post (above), alkjash asks

What external reward, punishment, or commitment can you set up in five minutes that will guarantee the thing gets done?

I rather suspect you can see where this is going.

In other news, check out my new goals:

I admit I cheated a bit and did a few of my not-quite-so-easy ones today too since I noticed they were good beeminder candidates.


The next Hammer is TAPs. I already have a few, although I didn’t really know it by that name: I’ve already successfully installed “when I finish brushing my teeth, floss” (or, rather more concretely, “when I put my toothbrush back in its stand after using it, pick up the floss”), for example. @dreev mentioned one in Discord that I quite like:

When you find yourself torn between getting rid of something and keeping it, double check for the endowment effect by asking “what would I pay to acquire this?”.

I enjoy thrift shopping so this is particularly useful to me—since my sense of “what would I pay for this at a secondhand store” is fairly well calibrated—and I used it to say goodbye to four books that survived my last round of bookshelf Konmari.

I’ve attempted to install a TAP for my bug that “my beard is messy”, which I could also solve with a beeminder goal for “beard care”, but hair growth happens at a generally nonconstant rate, so it didn’t feel quite right. Obviously I could have a semiregular goal for “check in on beard status”, but instead I’m going to try out a TAP: “Just after turning on the water to shower, while waiting for the water to warm up, trim around the edges of my beard.

I’m not super confident in my sapience spell just yet, but my first attempt is “Whenever I scratch my nose or crack my knuckles, focus on the breath for two breaths and consider if I’m doing what I want to be doing in the moment.”. We’ll see how it goes!


I’m holding off on Day 4: Design for now, because I’m already pretty good about this sort of thing, and I know that the next steps I want to take all involve buying little bits and bobs, and just about all of my personal spending budget for the month is already earmarked. I’ll come back to you, Design!

I don’t feel like Comfort Zone Expansion will be particularly useful to me, since “The goal is simply to become the kind of person who automatically tries new things if they’re nonthreatening.” and I think I already am that kind of person. That said, spending 10 minutes trying it is obviously rather nonthreatening, and I’ve never specifically tried before, so… sure.

I’m struggling to come up with “non-stupid” things I haven’t done before, honestly. Like, sure, I haven’t sprinted to my fence in the backyard, but I’ve sprinted plenty of other places; is it meaningfully different? I guess maybe part of the point is to find out. I spent a full 5-minute timer thinking of things, and couldn’t come up with anything that I’d never done before (in a meaningful way) and that I actually had any interest at all in doing. I haven’t sprinted to my fence and back, but I know what sprinting feels like, and also it’s raining right now and I don’t feel like being in the rain today.

I had plenty of ideas for things I’ve never done that I’m quite happy about (gotten arrested, killed someone, etc) and things I’ve never done that I can’t do anything to change right now (had a wedding, visited Africa, etc). I mean, I could probably start looking into flights to Nairobi, but… I have neither the time budget, nor money budget, nor covid-exposure-budget, nor any actual desire to do that.

I’m not sure if I’m just not the target audience for this one, or if I’ve Done It Wrong, or what, but that was a miss for me.


On an aside, thanks for joining, @felixm ! I’m super glad to see that I’ve inspired you :smiley:


Wait wait wait, their compiler would sometimes what? Hashtag nerdery lol

@rperce and @felixm I’ve been loving the updates you’re posting here - thank you so much for taking the time to do this! It’s inspiring!

I’ve decided to start a Hammertime Club in November. I’m hoping there’ll be others interested in going through this process at the same time that I am because I’m sure that I’ll be more consistent if I’m doing it as part of a group.

I’ll be making a private forum area for it, as I’ve described in that post. If you’d like to have access, just let me know. You two won’t need to create a new goal to get access, or change anything that you’re already doing!


I’m going to wait on doing more hammertime until the Club starts on Nov 1, which I’m very much looking forward to! In part because Day 6: Mantras, much like CoZE, is not a hammer that particularly resonates with me. I like the idea of mantras, but I haven’t found any that particularly work for me. This is something I’d love to see other people’s responses to, and see if I want to adopt any of them. Uncharacteristically, there’s not really anything to do for this hammerday, just a story about why mantras are cool—which I don’t disagree with, to be fair—and an invitation to share our favorite mantra. I don’t really have one! That’s the problem! I have a perhaps over-sensitive “fake Deep Wisdom” detector, so it’s difficult for me to look for useful mantras without tripping over myself and falling into the valley of snark.

The only thing that really springs to mind, although I’ve never memorized more than the first fragment, is Dune’s Litany Against Fear:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

which is perhaps a little “Deeper” than I’d prefer but a useful general “the fear will pass, I can focus through it” reminder. Good for akrasia/procrastinatey fears, not just mortal danger!