Maniac Mornings in the Month of May

Guess what we (me, @bee, @aaronpk, @anomalily, and whoever else chimes in in this thread!) are about to do?

Every single morning [*] in the month of May we’re going to spend 2 hours focused on writing code and make a timelapse of ourselves doing so. We’ll stitch the whole 62 hours together at the end of the month and show it off. You should join us!

Here are our notes on the technical setup, which we’ve been gradually refining:

Hit reply to publicly commit to joining us. We’ll show off all the timelapses at the end of the month!

PS: “Writing code” can be generalized to “creating things”.

[*] Or at least it will happen by midnight, in case of extenuating circumstances, like having taken our 8 & 9 year old on an epic 100km bike tour the day before.


I did this this morning. This is what my window looks like for the timelapse with my Todoist “Maniac Morning” tasks. I’m mainly writing words, not code for my Maniac Mornings.

This is also a productivity experiment in what it looks like for me to start going to the gym in the afternoons instead of the mornings - I love morning workouts, but I worry it’s eating into my most creative time for brain-related work.


Here’s mine from this morning, and my blog post about the project:


I would like to join but I don’t see step 1, step 2, step 3 etc…

I have mostly 2 monitors and I’m okay to work with the terminal.

@bcool, did you see the notes here on how to setup the screenshots, etc?

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@whackedspinach yes.

Collecting the screenshots through option 1 or 2 is possible for me I think. After that (commands for terminal) are too “unknown territory” for me. So I would be stuck with screenshots, but I want the full package: music + video.

Idea: I share a dropbox directory and someone else creates video / sound?


If you can provide a dropbox directory with images and a sound file you want to use, I’ll give it a shot.


To at least get a silent video, Zeitraffer is what I’m using now. It has a pretty simple interface; I guess the downside is that it took a while to run, but it works. Then you just have to add music. I used iMovie for music to add the soundtrack, which there should be a lot of tutorials for.


I hereby tentatively indicate an intention to sort of mostly do this, with writing… I did two hours of writing yesterday (technically, by the clock, “today”, but yesterday for me) and two hours of writing today, but there are several days in May during which I simply don’t want to prioritize work.

I’m toying with the idea of working ahead to earn those days off, in proper Beeminder style, versus just accepting the fact that my video will be a little shorter than y’all’s.

My goal is mostly to try out a more flexible and creative approach to “writing time” – instead of going to a cabin in the woods for three weeks without a phone, can I clear away distractions to turn all the long bus rides of my regular life into useful time? You will have an answer in video from on June 1.

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I’ve used this before for all my of my timelapses, and found it a lot faster despite the fact that I know how to do video editing.

And @aaronpk made a little app that will do the screenshots AND give you the clock that’s easy to download if you’re on a mac.


I’m planning to do work on research and writing for two solid hours for at least the first two weeks of May. For the two weeks after that, I’ll be traveling, so I’ll do what I can but I won’t commit. I’m on a Windows machine, so I’ve found things for the screenshots and camera, but I may or may not find time to find a program to stitch them together at the end.

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(I’m repeating myself from the daily beemail and we’re also planning to rush out a blog post about this today!)

Bee (@bee) and I have now completed the first 2 days of Maniac “Mornings” in Month of May. We call the 2-hour chunks of time our Maniac Morsels. Aaron Parecki (@aaronpk) is actually publishing his as he goes if you want a taste of the mania:

Yesterday I worked on a Beeminder + Project Euler integration (attn @insti!) and today I worked on properly importing all the ancient UVIs from Twitter to (hosted on my new favorite toy, Glitch). Bee’s working on replacing our hideous API docs with something pretty.

These are not the most pressing things but we thought we’d pick something fun and/or relaxing for our maniac time.

PS: It’s totally not too late to dive in with us! Here are the rules:

  1. Mornings are great but you should pick a 2-hour chunk of time when you’re most awake. Any time before midnight. (If it’s after midnight then it counts as morning of the next day.)
  2. You just need 60 total hours in the month so you get one freebie day. If you haven’t started yet, that would be yesterday!

Hmm, now I’m excited about properly packaging up the hodgepodge of scripts and tools into something non-nerds can use and also adding Beeminder integration so you can hard-commit to some amount of maniac time per week indefinitely instead of resorting to elaborate publicity stunts to get yourself to do it.

PPS: The prize for actually doing this (or helping other people do it – thank you @whackedspinach and @oulfis!) is… Beeminder stickers. Also glory.

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I’m in. Starting right now once I figure out the camera but will typically be doing my two hours between about 1 PM - 3 PM. I’ll be working on an important project for my business, which I’m calling my “Master Audit File Template” in a program called CaseWare. I guess you could say it involves a small amount of programming. Cheers and good luck to everyone!


Hi guys

Thanks for sharing your experiences with this technique, just starting today my beeminder experience.

Right now I am setting up everything to start my own maniac mornings trying to finish my Master’s thesis, but I didn’t find any Windows programs equivalent to your OS widgets, if you can recommend me please at least a decent always on clock I would be happy(I downloaded-installed-uninstalled a lot of clock garbage apps) or maybe a good capture screen-camera app.



Sup guys! I’m joining in late – first night is tonight. I’ll be working on an overdue paper just for tonight. Starting tomorrow, I’ll figure out a series of coding projects to work on. And I might just get my homepage rolling again – we’ll see.

I have an overall direction I want these projects to take me: getting up a good coding portfolio --with an emphasis on iOS, Swift, and JS-- so I can find and take up remote work. I have never managed to get together a decent portfolio before. (If you have any suggestions, feel free to message me directly!)

My schedule is slightly different day-to-day. But I am aiming for 60 hours by midnight May 31!


Hey, the Electron Maniac Clock shows “Sun May 0” today. Any idea what might cause the date error?

In index.html, this line:

  document.getElementById('day').innerText = days[today.getDay()]+", "+months[today.getMonth()]+" "+today.getDay();

Should be replaced with:

  document.getElementById('day').innerText = days[today.getDay()]+", "+months[today.getMonth()]+" "+today.getDate();

Thanks @whackedspinach! I turned it into a pull request for @aaronpk


Here’s my timelapse!

Thanks to @aaronpk – for the soundtrack!

Btw, I accidentally used the original Maniac Clock with the bug some days so it seems to jump around but is in fact in order, 2 hours every day from May 1 to May 30!


I did more days than I skipped, and definitely spent more time writing than I would have done without Maniac May, but will need a bit of time for video post-processing! I’ll have something up here before June 7.

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ok… I finally compiled the timelapse. It’s really hard to remember all the sensitive things that I have to keep out of view. There were like two days in there where I had a diff sitting in the corner of one terminal showing production keys for something. GRR.