As I write this I have 6 Beeminder alerts on my phone, all for goals that will derail by midnight tomorrow.
It isn’t impossible for me not to derail on any of them, but this situation causes an extreme amount of stress for me. Part of the purpose of Beeminder for me is to create stress, but this level of stress seems excessive and counterproductive.
The obvious strategy would be to decrease my number of goals and/or required level of achievement in them, but let’s assume my goals are important to me. The other strategy I’ve heard of is Beeminding Beeminder-free days, but that seems really unrealistic starting from a place where 6 alerts is only on the high end of normal.
I was inventing a system that would score my goals by how close to derailing they are, and Beeminding that, but I’m not sure adding even more complexity (and yet another thing to update; I don’t have a good way of automating most of my goals) would really help.
I have a weekly task to check on the reminder length for my beeminders. I
have found that managing the reminder length, for me, is key to reducing
the stress. Too low, and “ahhhhhhh i have to get a whole PCB made in one
day?!!?” Too high, and I get 50 alerts a day, and don’t actually read any
of them that aren’t emergencies…
I have strong opinions about this, and don’t think more Beeminding is the answer. Rather if you are struggling to keep up it is a sign that you are not approaching them in the best way, and Beeminder’s main strength for me is that it is a dispassionate tracker that nudges me to correct course.
Just about every goal comes down a desire to build up a better habit, and there are many things that go into building good habits, and the accountability that Beeminder provides is just one of them. I would ask myself questions like what inspired me to make this a goal in the first place? Can I reconnect with that? Do I have a specific plan to achieve these goals, and is there more that I can do to set myself up to succeed? For example, there is a big difference between having a goal to exercise more, and having a goal to jogging in the morning and a routine where you set out workout clothes before you go to bed. Maybe you just need a little time off and can come back more focused.
I am mildly horrified when I read about people who wind up going jogging at 11pm before they go to bed because they realized they haven’t done their exercise yet and Beeminder must be appeased. If that happens rarely that is fine and admirable discipline, but if it happens regularly it screams out at me as a goal which needs to be approached with a better plan.
I’ve spent a lot of time tuning my reminders. My current setup is working pretty well for me at the moment.
I’m pretty lazy. I’m not really motivated by anything except a red goal that is about to fail catastrophically. That in mind, I only get notifications for goals that are going to derail. And I’m only set to get them pretty late - if I theoretically want to do something at 10am, I set the reminder for 10:15.
Notifications are painful in themself, so trying to avoid being notified is a smaller motivation ahead of the actual deadline.
Secondly, I try to stagger goal due times - I never want to be in a situation where I can’t possibly actually do all my goals. So I have to do A by 3pm, B by 6pm, that sort of thing.
Thirdly, if a goal takes a lot of time (like pomos), I often like to have supporting goals requiring me to do part of it earlier in the day (yeah I need micromanaged pretty bad).
So yeah shoutout to the arbitrary goal deadlines (and weekends off) for making beeminder much less stressful.