Interested in having someone monitor your progress and bugging you for defaulting? Accountability as a service


#1

Hello,

I’ve been a Beeminder user and a lurker on the forums here for a few years now. I’ve always found that it’s easy to work for someone, and difficult to work alone. I never missed work deadlines, for example, but miss my own deadlines all the time – I’m sure this is a familiar feeling on here.

I’ve tried working with accountability buddies – it’s never worked well for me, because for one thing, friends are busy and don’t have the time to chase you up, and for another, they feel uncomfortable pushing you beyond one or two reminders. It always starts out enthusiastically enough, but peters out in a week or two, when the novelty wears off and real life intervenes.

I think I need something more hard nosed and persistent, that forces me to at least confront the fact that I’m defaulting, and not polite check-ins which I easily fob off.

So I thought I’d make a side project of it. I’m tentatively calling it Boss as a Service, since the general idea is that it works as a real life boss would – it monitors and supervises your progress by making sure you’re completing your planned todos, and if you’re falling behind, follows up and demands to know why. Beeminder used to have a tier called Beekeeper which has since been discontinued, that offered life coaching, but I’m not looking at something that comprehensive, at helping you set or strategize goals – I’m only looking to make sure you do what you said you would.

In practical terms, I see it working like this:

  1. you send your todos for the day / your todos with a specific deadline
  2. at the end of the day/deadline, you send proof that you completed it
  3. if you don’t, we follow up and don’t leave off haranguing you till it’s resolved one way or the other

Would anybody be interested in beta testing this idea with me? Right now it’s very much at an “idea” or “MVP” stage, but if there are enough people interested, I’d like to make the concept “Pay us a monthly subscription to be your boss.” I’d like to go live for the New Year if possible.

Thanks to Beeminder and team for letting me post this here and for creating Beeminder in the first place! :grinning: (@dreev)


#2

I actually had a similar motivation for creating www.GetMotivatedBuddies.com, but altered that concept a bit for various reasons. Happy to discuss it with you! Just shoot me an email! And yes dreev is the god.


#3

thanks @beestrom ! will get in touch!


#4

I’d be very interested in using something like this if it gets off the ground.


#5

Awesome, @oldmannick! I’ll PM you with details.


#6

Yes I love this idea… I need to get in the habit of writing every day even when I’m not working on a paid project.


#7

How about crowdsourcing this? Like, I promise that I’ll do this before that time, and my promise goes public, and everyone with internet access can make me accountable?

Oh, wait…

But joking aside, it sounds nice. I’m not sure I’d actually pay for that, though. I think this might be the main problem: many people would probably say “well, it sounds nice, but I don’t think I really need that - maybe tomorrow I’ll devise this cool system that will finally work, and I won’t need to pay hat guy”. So I’m a bit afraid it might flop. But it might be enough to restate the thing in a more “attractive” way.


#8

People have had secretaries , business managers , etc for some time now though , right? How is this that much different?


#9

I think @manasvinik’s concept is precisely to recreate that as closely as possible for people who don’t already have it! I think it’s a really powerful idea that complements Beeminder beautifully.


#10

My point is that these services already kind of exist, just not being called “boss”


#11

Hi @apolyton, yes, that’s true – as dreev said, that’s the relationship we’re trying to recreate, for people who don’t already have them. “Boss” is just a loose, catch all description for anyone you’d be working with normally.


#12

Is anyone from the forum using this service? I’m intrigued by it, but haven’t seen any reviews yet. Reminds me a little of StickK and Coach.me.


#13

I was embarrassed to say I hadn’t actually tried Boss as a Service and said to myself that I should totally try it and so I just now signed up!

So, stay tuned!

I can vouch for @manasvinik in any case.


#14

Cool, keep us posted!


#15

Even after day 1 it’s unambiguous that this is worth the $20 or $30 a month or whatever it is. It’s possible I’ll end up thinking it’s redundant with commits.to or some other system I’ve concocted (maybe Habitica guilds serve a similar purpose for some people?) but others should absolutely try it and see!

In any case, I promised to tell the daily beemail folks more about it next week. http://dreev.commits.to/tell_dailies_about_baas_next_week which I may do by posting here and pointing them to it.


#16

Thanks for trying out BaaS, @dreev! :grin: Hope we prove helpful!


#17

Report after week 1: BaaS is working great! This morning they even messaged me reminding me of my next deadline at the end of the day. It’s unambiguously a human you’re interacting with and I don’t know how they’d handle it if I started getting super flakey but my hopes are high that this will continue to be valuable long-term.

The other possibility is that this will end up being redundant with something like Complice or Commits.to. (I’m actually now using BaaS to commit to things on Commits.to that I’m hopelessly late on. Facepalm.)

My recommendation is to at least try one of those things. Where by “those things” I mean a tool that prompts you to think about overall goals and what one-off tasks you want to commit to and then be prompted to follow through. If you don’t have the patience to learn a new system or don’t want to be all public about your commitments then Boss as a Service may be just the ticket.

There’s no setup, you just start chatting with them about what you need to get done.


#18

omg, as a university student who constantly struggles to keep up with everything, this could be a total game changer! I just signed up, and if it’s helping as much as I expect it to by the end of the month, I’ll be recommending it to my friends who are students, as well as professors and administrators who could recommend it to students in similar situations. Can’t wait to see how this goes! :smiley:


#19

After I saw @dreev vouched for @manasvinik and was trying BaaS, I also decided to give it a try and signed up last week. So far, it’s great. It’s helped me make and keep some workout commitments that I otherwise would not have. @manasvinik/BaaS are nice folks, but it’s clear that they mean business when it comes to you meeting your commitments. We’ve also set up with a “do less” goal (do less missing of workouts) on Beeminder so that there is also a Beeminder sting added if I miss a deadline (with BaaS providing the data via email to Beeminder bot). I intend to try BaaS with some other commitments also, but workouts has been a good little experiment so far.

I haven’t used Complice or Commits.to, but I agree that there probably could be some redundancy with those based on my limited knowledge if you are aiming to conquer a goal or commitment to a bunch of one-off tasks. However, for me, it seems like a good alternative to self-reporting my data to Beeminder when I cannot automate it. (Without automated data, I am totally tempted to be a Beeminder data weasel.) With BaaS, you have to provide actual evidence that you met your commitment for a real person to review or BaaS says that they’ll take you to task and stay on you to get it done. Also, I’ve found it easier to schedule recurring tasks at uneven intervals via BaaS than Beeminder because I don’t have the technical understanding to manage it with Beeminder (sorry, Beeminder - it’s true). I think that a combo of BaaS with Beeminder can be powerful in some situations like these.


#20

Wow, thanks so much @dreev and @kerrie for the reviews! Really glad BaaS is helping and really appreciate the time you took to write these detailed reviews!

Please do let me know if you have suggestions, and hope it continues to work well! :smiley: