legit derail or not legit derail?

i will derail on my ndu – enbee – beeminder goal today. i don’t know if these things are still welcome, but i would like to get hive mind thoughts on whether or not to call this a legitimate derailment. (similarly to this forum post from 2019.)

the reason i think of that forum post is also because i believe our situations are somewhat similar. imo there’s a key difference, though. (i guess others might disagree. or even if they don’t, they might still think mine is a legit derailment as well.)

anyway, to lay out the background facts, in a hopefully concise enough way:

  • my ndu goal is for me progressing with the uni application i would like to hand in this summer. this would be for an additional course at a different university, and it requires me to have 3-4 creative things + a book idea/draft to show them. i didn’t really use to think of myself as a very creative person before, and in any case i don’t just have things lying around that i could use for this, so i need to / want to make them all new ones. (i guess maybe technically i could dig up one or two things from a decade-ish ago from school , but that feels both a bit like cheating and also i have enough ideas and it’s fun enough to work on these new things, so.)
  • i guess i didn’t intend to fractionally beemind the goal from the start, but it’s turned out that way. and it’s working well so far, i think. i absolutely believe i’ve gotten more done than i otherwise would have.
  • there’s +0.2 things due tonight, otherwise i derail.
  • i had planned to do a draft of my mandala idea today. i even already put out the pots to trace circles around. (this is just a draft, and i don’t have a pair of compasses at home. i will grab them from my mother’s place, where i am right now, so that i can use them whenever i make the draft.)
  • i don’t know if i would have all the things here to do a mandala draft at my mum’s place. i’d want a3 paper, i would need to see if there is any here. i wouldn’t have the pens i would have liked to use. i guess i could use others, since it’s just a draft. in any case, i don’t have the brainspace for any of this.
  • i guess technically i could refine one of my ideas in my head, which has gone through a lot of shifting and changing, and which is still kind of uncertain, what it will end up being. after enough time of contemplation and hopefully having a clearer direction to go in, i could count that as a +0.2 to keep me from derailing. but i don’t feel like i have the brainspace for that either.
  • i could have worked on my draft yesterday. i was happy to take a break yesterday, though. i assumed i’d have enough time to do it today, and i had planned on doing it today.
  • today went like this: i woke up, went to uni to do some scans of some articles for work, i went home again because it didn’t nearly take as much time as i would have been able to spend on it. i knew i had a hairdresser appointment at 5 pm. i had an hour or more before needing to leave for that. i spent that time cleaning up the living room a bit, and then i actually opened my newly bought block of a3 paper and wanted to start drafting, i think. however, the first page of that block was a colouring page. even though it was very very basic (aimed at little children probably), i was excited about the idea of colouring it, so i started doing that. i knew that i would have more than enough time after the hairdresser’s to still do the draft, once i’d finished colouring the first page. shortly after i started colouring the page, my mother texted me saying she’s taking a pill that a doctor recently prescribed her, to take if necessary. she said she felt unwell after taking it, and asked if i could come to her after the hairdresser. while not completely unexpected, that fully threw my mind into all kinds of bad thoughts. i agreed to visit her. at some point (i don’t remember exactly if i was already out of the house at that point) it occured to me that she might ask me to stay overnight, which she did once i was here. point is, i didn’t know i’d be staying overnight when i left the house, so i didn’t really plan for it, and also didn’t take any application draft things with me.
  • i guess my emotions say that the derailment won’t be legit, because my mental capacities have drastically dwindled. that would be a valid reason for me not to call legit.
  • i guess the back of my mind says that that doesn’t matter in this case—i could have done something yesterday. i could have done something sooner today (maybe). yes, something unexpected happened, but that wouldn’t be a problem if i’d done stuff earlier.
  • i guess part of me feels like, because many unexpected things happened at once (my mother is unwell; i’m staying over at her place tonight), and also because they’re not “fun” things, this situation is somewhat different from the one in the blog post i linked in the beginning. this is not me deciding to go to a spontaneous birthday party instead of doing the draft. this is not me binging netlifx instead of doing the draft. yes, i guess technically i could have told my mother i wouldn’t visit her, or i could have said i can’t stay overnight—but those also don’t really feel like options i could have taken, and even if i had, i probably wouldn’t have the brainspace to work on the draft, anyway.
  • i guess i’m struggling to decide for myself if sometimes calling not legit “retroactively” for the day is okay. (i only started to feel bad at some point in the afternoon. does the situation and my emtions warrant me calling non legit for that reason for the whole day, when i didn’t feel so horrible the full day?)

if you’ve read this far, thank you for your patience! looking forward to hearing thoughts, if anyone has any to share.
also, mandatory mara mug shot for your troubles:

Other than money, the reason why you should avoid calling derailments non-legit is setting a precedent.

Are you OK with your goals morphing from “work on my uni application” to “work on my uni application - but I get a free pass if I failed to plan for a margin of error?”.

I fail a lot of goals due to poor planning… Before, I would call non-legit. Now, I prefer to learn how to plan “the hard way”. This stings a lot though, because I’m a slow learner when it comes to meta stuff! I’m still edge-skating beemergencies even though I know that I’m bound to lose money this way.

The most important part is not saving your 5$, but rather protecting the huge power that beeminder gives you. If you do set a precedent, make sure that this precedent is only going to potentially screw up THIS specific goal and not the entirety of beeminder (e.g. don’t go and start allowing yourself travelling in time a few hours in the past or entering almost-fake data - because all of your vision of beeminder is changed and you get a bad experience as a result)

So I’d say:

  1. Work on your uni application for what’s worth 0.2 points. If you cannot, then derail. Do not enter 0.2 if you just “thought” about something in your head - I know that this is real work, but this is a slippery slope.
  2. If this kind of problem happens rarely to you, call non-legit because you’ll only diminish the power of beeminder on “unexpected bad days” + “poor planning” = 0.5% of days. If it happens frequently, get stung 5$ because otherwise, you’ll keep your bad habit and periodically cry in the beeminder support like I did.

TL;DR: hard to say!! make sure that you are not setting yourself for failure by setting this precedent. don’t beat yourself over all of this too

Cute mara mugshot! I wonder what crime did it commit.
(Probably being too cute for our world)


super sorry for the super late reply, but thank you so much for your insight on this, @sheik!

you’re very right! i did end up letting the derailment be legit.

i want to clarify one point though, even though it’s way past being relevant anymore:

i misphrased that (or i guess i omitted details because i didn’t want to make yet another Huge Post).—the bulk of the work would have been “just thinking” about the thing, but i would have absolutely written down the results as well. this for me counts as minor progress in such a case. kind of like if i wanted to hand-make a present for someone, the brainstorming part of it (what do i want to make? what materials do i need, etc.) counts as legit work to me as well. but i agree that “just thinking” alone isn’t enough; especially with my memory, which can’t remember anything a day or two later.


here’s another one! i think this baby is absolutely way too cute for our world!! just look at all that fluffy fur!! :purple_heart::purple_heart::purple_heart: