Beeminder Forum

How to beemind blog posts

Brand new user @waqasaamir had a question they said I could quote publicly:

I don’t know how to start. Actually, I wish to set a goal to publish blog posts on my WordPress blog at regular intervals without fail. Let’s say 2 blog posts a week.

And writing a blog post includes research time, editing screenshot, recording video, writing content etc.

How to setup multiple short term goals and one main goal which is publishing 2 blog posts per week.

I was just looking for other discussions of this question and not finding anything besides a brief discussion of the Beeminder WordPress plugin. It might be easier to use IFTTT, triggered by your blog’s RSS feed. I shall let others chime in further, especially about the broader question of multiple sub-goals supporting a main goal…

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@waqasaamir

I’m a big fan of the idea of beeminding inputs only, not outputs. So you should start off by beeminding working on blog posts for, say, 30 min a day. Then after a few weeks you should adjust the amount of time to get 2 blog posts a week.

The idea is that you can control the amount of time you spend, but you can’t directly control the number of completed (high-quality) blog posts you do. Otherwise you may end up putting incomplete blog posts up that aren’t of the quality you want just to get something up.

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When I read this… I thought UVI.

Enter as goal: 2 blog posts published (UVI’s) per week. Does it matter how bad the quality is of the blog post? No? You’re done. Focus on the blog post getting out of the door is already difficult enough. That’s why people sign up for beeminder :slight_smile:

Now if quality is a thing, then… whatever makes you feel not ashamed…

That gives you another problem, at least I don’t know how to answer that, how to measure the quality of a blogpost?

maybe a checklist?

which you can divide into multiple goals (routines?) in beeminder.

good luck @waqasaamir

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I publish a post only when I’m sure that I’ve done my best. So quality is not an issue. The thing is that i get lazy at times and this happens very often because there’s no pressure on me.When I’m in flow i even write 5 posts in a week and if I stop at one point then even a month passes without me doing anything.
So i just want to be consistent.
If beeminder can help me out that would be truly awesome.

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I Beeminder both inputs and outputs.

Set up Beeminder to get a ping from my blog towards my output goal. On top I have a Wordcount goal.

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So sounds like beeminding working on it every day would be perfect. Try making a 7/week goal to work on it for 15 minutes a day and retroratchet so it’s a beemergency every day.

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okay first the main goal was:

so first things first :slight_smile:

what is the main goal?

I think that’s a big mistake - you can’t control outputs.

First of all, I don’t see how I cannot control outputs on my own media properties.

However, and what’s even more important. Output often is what matters. And it is something that puts pressure on “finishing the damn thing”. On Youtube, you better publish a video per month, generally everything with a “content algorithm” will punish heavily for inconsistency. Tracking output will actually get the thing done. So much that I’d like to point to the 1000$ beeminder goal, where literally only output matters.

I track input to consistently work on it and output to consistently get stuff done.

They work hand in hand, consistent work makes for good habits and better output. No one wants a video cranked out in a night, or a blog post written in half an hour on eep day. However, a “write 100 words per day goal”, may cause mediocre 10000 word articles that could have been very good 1000 word articles. So even in tracking inputs, there lies traps. Hence, me tracking both, which finally makes me finish (and schedule) the damn thing, instead of adding and adding, because “it’s not perfect yet”.

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In my view, if you can control it, it’s not an output.

The reason you can’t you control your own posts? I mean, sure, if you stubbornly insist “I will publish this post after 10 hours of work (or 1 week elapsed time), no matter what its quality is, no matter whether or not it’s done,” then you can control the number of posts (and I would therefore not consider it an output).

But typically people don’t do that. An actual output, like a blog post that’s really done (or at least sufficiently complete or of sufficiently high quality) takes an unpredictable and uncontrollable amount of time to produce. @waqasaamir said their posts require research, editing, recording, and writing, and that’s not something that’s guaranteed to be done in X hours.

Why don’t I consider it an “output” if you artificially terminate your work and submit the post after a predetermined numper of hours? Because it’s not a finished product - it’s just what you have after X hours, just a draft.

So my suggestion is to beemind time. Whether you publish drafts after X hours or wait until you’re done with a post before you publish is totally up to you - some people might find it more motivating to publish what they have after 10 hours.

At this point you’re twisting my words and I’m out. I’m not into discussing made up semantics.

It literally works for me to get stuff done. Whereas, just tracking inputs did not. YMMV.

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Well Damn! I got Told! :stuck_out_tongue:

The point is not the semantics of what’s an input or output, the point is to beemind only what you can control (that is, hours you work, not finished blog posts).

That’s what i do. Works nicely.

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On the topic of input vs output , one can also combine both, e.g track hours spent via Rescuetime and also number of posts (multiplied by a factor to add more weight on finishing).

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Yeah, I guess there are two schools of thought on this and I’m actually in favor of beeminding Outcomes in addition to Actions, as @mufflon pointed out with the example of our UVI goal. (We beemind published blog posts as well! See the sidebar of the blog.) I guess the way we put it in “What To Mind” was to prefer actions over outcomes but outcomes can be fruitful to beemind too, usually more conservatively.

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I think there’s a more useful distinction to make between an outcome that is kind of a black box, and an outcome you can understand. Weight is often a black box for people, and that’s why it’s so tricky to beemind: for many people, it is understood as being not fully under your control. (Some would disagree, and they’re usually successful in beeminding weight. cough @dreev cough)

I successfully beemind number of completed blog posts, myself! I’m at a full year of beeminding my science blog post, and I do it with an IFTTT recipe that picks up completed blog posts. An outcome. It works because it’s not a black box: toward the time when the goal is due, I can take a look at news sites and figure out what I want to write about. If it’s something about enzymes, I won’t need long to give it the pop science treatment; if I want to write about black holes, I’ll need to allocate more time. Either way, I know how much time to allocate to get the outcome I want. It’s actually really hard to beemind this in terms of time put in (the action), because it isn’t consistent at all, but by beeminding the outcome it makes sure a post gets written each week and I don’t derail one week because I completed a post on genetics that took me 30 minutes, and get out of jail free another week even though I even didn’t finish a post about neutrons.

My bookblanket goals are also beeminding an outcome. I don’t beemind the time sitting down to crochet a motif. I just beemind the number of motifs at the end. Again, it works, because I know that a motif takes me 15 minutes to make and 10 to join, max.

In some cases, it’s a good idea to do both: beemind research for your thesis, but also beemind doing the writing (the outcome of the research). If you beemind the input alone, you can just mess about for hours. (I can’t be the only person in the world who would rather spend 10 hours reading about latent tuberculosis infection than synthesising what I’ve found into a coherent argument…)

So in conclusion: really maybe the advice should be not to beemind something that is a black box to you. You need to understand how to affect the thing you’re beeminding, and if you don’t, no kind of financial sting is going to help. If you do, you can either chunk things up and beemind the process (e.g. calorie restriction, previously considered to be beeminding actions), or you can just beemind the whole (e.g. weight loss, previously considered to be beeminding outcomes – but it’s not, really, because you know how to affect it and that’s what you’re really beeminding).

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I’ve had pretty great success, usually, beeminding outcomes directly. Some, however, have been complete failures. In those cases, I have better success beeminding actions as well as intermediary outputs.

Most of the goals that I’ve had that have been big failures have been actions without any outcomes goals. I end up dinking around and “technically” succeeding–i.e. I spend a lot of time on the thing, but never actually get it done.

I adore shanaqui’s breakdown here, and I think there is a Deep Insight here that may be much better than the outcomes/actions insight.

(I think a lot of early Beeminder epiphanies and thinking might be weight loss related, and it Turns Out that weight loss goals seem to be weirdos and maybe not a good place to generalize from!)

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Yup, I was going to say something very similar.

I agree on both counts.

While a blog post is the outcome of an amount of work, there are a lot of moving parts that can affect whether it’s the kind of outcome that’s a problem to beemind or not, and I think those can be affected by a lot of factors personal to the person doing the beeminding.

For instance, if you tend to be able to research and write blog posts in, say, under 4 hours, and you (and your schedule) also tend to tolerate having beemergencies that require 4 hours on their due day, then Bob’s your uncle.

If, like me, that second thing (being fine with beemergencies that require a lot of time in their final day) is NOT THE CASE for you, then beeminding blog posts alone is super-duper-bad and is the kind of outcome-y thing you might want to avoid on its own.

On the other hand, if I were just beeminding the work that’s input into a blog post, then I might (would) fiddle eternally and never ship it. Using a Beeminder goal to create what is essentially a deadline for your blog post seems like a fine solution in that case. (And then if you don’t need anything other than the impending deadline, then you don’t, but I would because of that whole “WHAT DO YOU MEAN TODAY IS A BEEMERGENCY AND I HAVE TO DO ALL OF THAT NOW?!” thing.)

So maybe it’s contingent and personal and not one-principle-fits-all:

  • If you’re fine with committing to waking up one morning and having to eat the whole frog in one go and are happy with the results, then have at! It’s essentially task-sized in your set of tolerances and you can beemind it as a single task.

  • If the idea of suddenly realizing (say, at noon) that you have to finish something by midnight sounds utterly terrible, then it’s outcome-sized for you and, assuming you still want a set frequency for delivering whatever it is, it should probably be supported by task-sized things you can beemind in another goal.

  • And if you never want the pressure of a deadline for when you have to ship something, then you can beemind just the input bits like tasks (as with a “must do tasks” goal) or the time you put in (like with an “ass in chair” goal), and keep adjusting that/those roads until it’s resulting in something pretty close to the rate you want for your outcome.

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So I don’t want to derail all the other good conversations but I wanted to just add my two cents that in terms of beeminding blog posts I think it’s pretty effective to do fractional beeminding. You can add fractional points for different parts of the big task completed with the main condition being that you can’t cross “1” until you’ve actually Done The Thing—in this case posting the finalized post.

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I totally agree with this. And I love @mary’s “task-sized” and “outcome-sized” terms.

These are all examples where the problem is not that you’re beeminding actions instead of outcomes, but that you’re beeminding the wrong actions (or that you’re not beeminding all the actions you need).

So I think it’s key to look at the actual actions that you need to do. In @shanaqui’s example, like @shanaqui said, beemind the writing as well as the research. For blog posts, you may want to beemind something like “look at the post and post it if it’s good enough” or “plan what needs to be done to make it good enough” or “do the action that will complete the task instead of dinking/fiddling eternally.”

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