Beeminder Forum

How would y'all beemind this?

I want to beemind “always do X when watching TV,” where X is “literally anything besides just sitting/laying there watching.” I don’t watch TV consistently, so I can’t just do Y times per week. I don’t want a goal where I’m entering data saying I did/didn’t do the thing on days I didn’t watch TV. I also don’t especially want to do the thing where you set a generous limit, log for awhile and see where your typical is, then adjust the commitment (is there a bee-term for that?). Y’all have any ideas how I would build a goal for this?

Would you feel ok giving a bit more background info to better understand what you’re trying to achieve?

Is X literally equal to “literally anything besides just sitting/laying there watching"? Because that would include twiddling ones thumbs. Or is it something specific like “clean while watching tv” or “exercise while watching tv”?

What is the tv watching problem that you’re trying to solve?

Are you wasting a lot of time each week watching tv?

Or perhaps are you the type that doesn’t usually watch tv, but then sometimes you’ll end up binge watching tv and laying on the couch for long periods of time?


I don’t want to overstep or pry, so apologies in advance and no need to even respond to this if your reasons are private!

Yes, X is literally equal to “literally anything besides just sitting/laying there watching"; technically twiddling my thumbs would count, but that wouldn’t have occurred to me to do, so I’m not worried about stuff like that. X would end up being stuff like cleaning, cooking, working on computer, knitting, drawing, walking on a treadmill I’m saving up for, even just standing.

I enjoy watching TV, and I don’t consider it something I need to stop, but I don’t want to spend lots of time doing it because then I don’t do other stuff I enjoy. I’ve beeminded some of the other stuff, but I end up cramming those in at the end of the night before they’re due instead of taking the time to enjoy it. I don’t watch consistently, but when I do, I’ll spend hours doing it.

Making myself (via beeminding) do something else while TVing imposes a natural cap on how long I watch. For example, I can only knit for about 1 episode before my hand starts hurting, or I can only draw for about half an episode before I forget to pay attention to the story then get annoyed I have no idea what’s going on, and turn it off. I consider this a more organic way of imposing a limit, so to speak, than imposing a time limit (which I absolutely do not want to do for myriad reasons).


I’m working on some similar issues, and here’s how I’m dealing with them. Firstly, for tv watching, I’ve bought a timer and keep a reminder note where I sit.

I usually only watch tv while I eat, so once I’m all set at the table, I set the timer for some amount of time, like 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, I allow myself to reset the timer if I want. So I’m not necessarily restricting my tv watching time, but rather, I’m making sure that I am recognizing the passage of time.

I also have a stationary bike in my living room, so the note is another reminder that I can utilize time watching tv while biking, which is another beeminder task.

So what typically happens is I watch for 15 minutes while eating, reset the timer once or twice, then clean up and get on the bike, then do that until I’ve completed my bike minutes goal.

Sometimes I’ll also tell myself “I can continue watching tv if I want, but I need to turn it off and take at 5 minute break first”, which invariably breaks me away from the tv.

I have a beeminder /x_tv_timer with a rate of 0.01 per day, auto ratchet to beemergency every day. This beeminder will practically never derail… if I don’t watch tv on a day, I’ll enter 0.01. If I do, I’ll enter 1. Its not really much of a commitment contact, it’s more like a daily recurring task to remember to use the timer, whether I use it or not. (Hmmm… I might just rename it r_tv_timer and mark it 1 every day, simply for remembering it.)

I know you said you didn’t want to do everyday data entry, but this type of repeating task helps remind me how important it is to use the timer. The daily entry and pseudo threat of payment is there to help me establish and entrench this as a long standing habit and lifestyle, but I can also eventually reduce the frequency of the reminder down to once per week or less.

For the issue of cramming my beeminders late at night, I have /allbeesdoneb4_9pm, 3x per week. I also have /x_allbeesdoneb4_8pm, which is another helper-mulligan goal (0.01 per day, always a beemergency, counted for 1 for success and 0.01 as a mulligan if I don’t get them all done). “All bees” doesn’t include some of the obvious late night beeminders. So in this way, I’m reminded but not required to get my beeminders done every day before 8pm, but I’m required to get them all done before 9pm, 3 times per week.

I have to say, this system seems to be working well for me. But we will have to wait and see if it withstands the test of time.


Thanks for going into all that! I like the minute break idea.

This might sound a little bit simple, but I would just frame it as a do less goal like “Don’t watch TV while doing nothing else”. You only have to input data when you derail. And that’s it.