Beeminder Forum

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


Thank so much @hmowilliams , hope you find it useful!


Another kid on the block… I just got a Twitter ad for


Can I get more info on how BAAS is helping people? I am interested but from talking to them it sounds like they only send one email a day listing your tasks and don’t text or talk on the phone.


I’ve been using BaaS for my final two terms of university. Last term I did two things: I made a Beeminder + Toggl goal that tracked my time (making sure that I spent at least 40 hours each week on school) and I checked in with @manasvinik several times each week. At no point last term did I ever think “Yeah, I have a bunch of work due next week… but today it’s fine to just watch Netflix.” Having someone check in about my goals and knowing that if I did slack off I’d have to actually tell someone that made a huge difference every day last term.

By the time finals came around, I was stressed because it was a crazy ton of work, but I was also at peace with whatever the outcome was on my final grades since I knew for a fact that I had consistently put in my best effort, and whatever grades I got would reflect that. And they definitely did: the lowest grade I got was a B- and I got really high praise on several assignments. I highly recommend BaaS to other students. I really wish I’d been able to start this sooner in my education because the constant accountability feels like a really important piece that is missing from university overall.

Another awesome part for me was having the accountability and encouragement to take time for things I normally would not prioritize. Maybe a month after starting BaaS, I started having stress-related heart issues and my doctor said I really had to learn to calm down. So I asked @manasvinik if coloring was something she could hold me accountable for, and she did!! Being able to mentally change that task from “Ugh, I’m supposed to do this stupid thing for my health” to “I said I’d color for fifteen minutes today and send a picture” made such a big difference. After a few weeks I was at a point where I’d start feeling stressed and immediately reach for that coloring book. Similarly, I also spent a lot more time than usual socializing with friends and walking my dog, which were both huge contributors to my overall well-being which normally would’ve been at the bottom of my priority list.

Next up: Starting my final term of university off on the right foot from day one, and as I figure out the right next steps after graduation, @manasvinik and I have an agreement on what things need to happen before I start any grad school applications, since I want to be really sure that if I do go that route it’s the right decision and not just the easiest one.

I really can’t recommend BaaS highly enough for students.

other accountability service experiences?

@hmowilliams Wow, thanks! Can you tell me a little about how the checkins went with her? She sent an email every day? How would you respond and what would she say in return?

Could you also tell me about how you were able to time track with toggl? Did you keep toggl running at all times?


She’d check in every time I was supposed to have completed something, or if there was a lapse between emails. So for example, if at the start of the week I said I have this assignment due Monday, need to make x amount of progress on this by Tuesday, and I have a social event Friday that I need to not bail on, he’d check in at least those three days to see how things went. I never once felt like I fell of his radar which is a key reason why this service is absolutely worthwhile compared to just having an accountability buddy. The frequency of emails really followed my lead, sometimes I needed a little more or less often than other times, and it was really great to have that flexibility!

With Toggl, I have school as a “client” and each course is a “project.” Every time I’m doing something for a course, I log that time. I have a Beeminder goal logging all time spent on the entire client (minimum 40 hours per week), but I can also go into Toggl and see how much time I’m spending on each course. That was super useful for being able to look at the numbers and see that I needed to put in more time if I wanted to do well on an upcoming exam, or to realize that I was putting in a ton of time but not making any progress on an assignment and so I needed to go to office hours.


Thanks again! What happened when you didn’t do the assignment or you bailed on the social event? What would you say in the emails and how would she reply? What happened after that?


Hmm… I don’t think I ever did that without a good reason? I mean, sure, I ran out of time plenty of days or didn’t go through on the social events because of bad weather or the other person had to cancel, etc., but if I didn’t complete something I’d just say that in the email along with a plan for how to catch up on it. It was also just a phenomenal help to know someone was expecting to hear an update, no matter what the update was. A couple times it was “Wow, I just failed at everything across the board today and now the rest of the week is a mess” and having someone that I could say that to and also having to write out a plan for fixing things was just fantastically useful.

He’s really good at balancing “Hey, here are the things you need to be doing” with “It’s okay you didn’t succeed this time, tomorrow’s a new day!” Disappointing someone is pretty much the worst possible consequence for me personally, so the accountability without judgement was really motivating. I’m sure other people need other approaches, and I don’t envy the bosses’ jobs of having to balance all that for each individual, haha. For people who need more consequences though, your boss through BaaS can also use a Beeminder goal so you have financial penalties for not following through on your tasks!

At the end of the day, not following through with BaaS or Beeminder or any other commitment device is really just hurting yourself.


That is the epiphany I got from reading @malcolm’s excellent blog post about soft accountability – the update matters at least as much as the content.

As an experiment, I’m thinking of switching some of my Beeminder goals from hard-doing to soft-reporting.