Beeminder Forum

Martin's Beeminder "Tagebuch" (journal)

#1

I wanted to have my own beeminder journal, since I’ve found them very helpful and could see actively writing one myself could be even more beneficial. I therefore have pledged to write an entry at least every other week (or 0.071428571 per day).

I guess it would make sense to start with a list of goals, I’ll try to categorize them roughly:

  • learn finnish:
    • mondly - 1 per weekday - do one daily lesson per day
    • memrise - 1500 points per day - akrasia auto goal; do memrise lessons until you reach 1500 points
    • clozemaster - 40 points per day - Clozeminder auto goal; do clozemaster lessons until you reach 40 points
  • keep a daily rhythm:
    • wakeupontime - 1 per weekday - wake up (and stand up) before 9 am
    • leaveontime - 1 per weekday - leave home before 9:50 am
    • sleepontime - 1 per weeday - go to sleep before 01:00 am
  • stay in contact with family:
    • callmom - 1 per month - call mom or get called by mom.
    • calldad - 1 per month - call dad or get called by dad.
    • callgrandparents - 1 per month - call grandparents or get called by grandparents.
  • reading, writing, consuming media
    • journal - 1 per weekday - write an entry (at least five lines) into my private journal
    • nachrichten - 1 per weekday - Nachrichten ist German for news; consume some form (podcast, mostly) of news.
    • blog - 1 per week - Publish something, anything, on my blog every week
    • lesen - 8 Minutes per day - Lesen is German for reading; read a book for at least 8 Minutes per day
    • bmndrjrnl - 1 every two weeks - Update this thread at least once every two weeks
  • general productivity:
    • asi - 1 per weekday - actual setup improvements; modelled after beeminder’s own uvi; do one thing that improves my productivity setup every day
    • eatthefrog - 1 per weekday - inspired by Brian Tracy’s Book; do that one thing that is most important that day (in my case this has developed to be the one thing that I can do on top of my responsibilities at work, which I’m fine with)
    • of3dailyreviews - 1 per weekday - Review all goals in Omnifocus daily
    • of3weeklyreviews - 1 per week (only Friday’s) - Every Friday I review my Omnifocus situation; if there is an eep day that’s not a Friday I enter Data until the deadline is on a friday.
  • weight related
    • loseweight - 5 kilos less by (currently) 4th of May 2020
    • wiegen - 1 per week - Wiegen is German for to weigh; weigh myself once per week

Two general things to know:

  • I use the weekends off feature on (almost) all of my goals
  • I actually try to reuse archived goals when applicable, since I like the higher pledge when starting a commitment (again) and in most cases I have already a perfectly fine goal that is configured in the way I like, so I don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

A quick thought about my weekly review goal: I really would like to have a generalized version of the weekend off feature (as kinda described here): Let me pick which days should be active days and which days are automatically scheduled as “breaks”. For example my of3weeklyreviews goal will (almost) always happen on Friday. So the only day which should ever be an eep day is Friday. I have now trimmed the safety buffer so that Friday is the eep day again and set it so it would automatically trim the buffer at 7 days. This is not exactly the same thing, because to me it would be great if I could make progress earlier than Friday without it messing up what day should be considered an eep day, but maybe that’ll work.

Generally, I think I should be able to configure which days of the week I want to be strict to myself. This would help configuring my commitment - or rather the device which helps me to fulfill the commitment - in a way that takes some cognitive load of me as a user, since I don’t have to translate what’s in my head to what beeminder actually does as much.

Put in a more abstract way: It would be great if we would have (even more) tools to configure goals in a way that reduces friction coming from translating the mental model and the beeminder representation.

This first post is way too long as it is (and the length of this entry is not gonna be typical for entries in this journal), but I at least wanted to mention that I finally finished my yearly review and goal setting project for 2018/2019 using Alex Vermeer’s 8760 Hours guide. So there might be new goals the next time there is an update here.

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Narthur's Beeminder Journal
#2

Inspired by Narthur’s Journal I have decided to write at least a small thing about all of my goals if there is anything to say. This means the posts will be longer than anticipated but doing this every two weeks should allow for a little bit longer posts.

General

  • I’m going to visit my girlfriend and have therefore scheduled a break for all of my goals starting next weekend until the 4th of March.
  • being in the red is what gets me going, but only if I can rush to do something about it in the time I have left

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

The goals work, although there are some problems:

  • Not enough progress - My slopes for the auto-goals (memrise, clozemaster) are not very steep. I decided to up the ante a little bit, so that I will have to stretch a little bit more to reach my daily goal.
  • Not enough time - I have about half an hour on my evening commute back home to finish my vocabulary sessions. So I need to make sure that I don’t overcommit. So the new commitments should be gentle enough.

mondly

No changes. It would be great to make this an auto-goal (maybe through an omnifocus integration), where I check this task off every day anyways?), but I have yet to make time to look into this.

clozemaster

Commitment changed:

  • Old: 40 points per day
  • New: 56 points per day

This translates to about one additional repetition of an already learned word (16 points). Or 4 completely new or forgotten words (worth 4 points. Or 2 half-mastered words, worth 8 points. Or one new word and one three-quarter-mastered word. Or any other combination of those.

Practically this should get me faster through my “to review” pile and in turn gently lead me to having to learn more new words.

memrise

Commitment changed:

  • Old: 1500 points per day
  • New: 1700 points per day

The memrise points system is a little bit more involved but I also here went for “the repetition of one already learned word” (200 points) as my additional commitment to the goal.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

The goals work, but I decided to slightly adjust my times as described here.

wakeupontime

Deadline changed:

  • Old: 9 am
  • New: 8:45 am

leaveontime

Deadline changed:

  • Old: 9:50 am
  • New: 9:35 am

sleepontime

I had a not-legit derail because I went to sleep and fell asleep before entering data and before the deadline.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

The goals work. I put into the fine print for all the goals that calling and getting called counts. And calling my brother is now also part of this category.

callbrother

Key data:

  • one call per month
  • weekends off activated

New goal! I see no reason not to include my brother in my trying to stay in contact.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

Goals that work: journal, nachrichten, bmndrjrnl

Goals that need work: blog, lesen

blog

This goal is fine, but there is no day on which I normally publish and I do almost always publish a half-assed journal post. No new commitment yet, because I’m in the middle of rebuilding my website using gatsby, but it’s something on my list for march.

lesen

I will have to move around a lot more pieces of my setup to make this goal worthwhile, but 8 minutes a day is just not enough to make meaningful progress.

I’m experimenting with temptation bundling my podcast consumption and my sports watching, the two things that use up most of my free time during the week, with other things. This should help free some time for reading.

I’m also thinking about limiting the amount of podcasts I listen to to 7 (one per day). The less podcasts I’m subscribed to, the less episodes will end up in my podcatcher and the less time I will spend listening to podcasts. This also would free time to do other stuff like reading. However I’m worried to not discover new podcasts anymore. But maybe that’s a sacrifice I have to accept if reading is actually important to me.

Right now I’m still trying things out, so this will be something for march as well.

General Productivity

Current goals:

Goals that work: asi, eatthefrog, of3dailyreviews

Goals that need work: of3weeklyreviews

All in all these goals do what I want, but I realized that my OmniFocus backlog had become somewhat stale so I used the weekly review to rework how I organize about my projects.

(If you’re just interested in beeminder then you can safely skip the next paragraph.)

There is now a Backlog folder with projects that can be considered active but not committed to yet. Active projects are moved from this folder to my private and job folders and will have to be done before moving on to the backlog projects. I might need to include a work in progress limit. Right now I just try to have the next two to four weeks in mind and judge if the current projects fit into this time frame.

of3weeklyreviews

Since I do daily reviews of my projects I had to define a little better what constitutes a weekly review for me. The one thing I came up with, is a question, inspired by Malcom Ocean’s “Pareto Improvisation” technique he talked about in a recent newsletter[^1]:

Would any part of me not accept this work as a weekly review and can this part convince all the other parts?

If the answer is yes (that is, a part of me doesn’t think this should be counted as a weekly review and it can convince all the other parts of me to agree), then it’s not a weekly review and I have to put in more work.

This is a pretty lenient red line. But it’s a start. I have put this in the fine print of the goal.

P. S.: If I remove the “not” from the question this red line becomes much harder to achieve, I might try this if I need to push myself a little harder.

[^1]: If anybody is interested what inspired me here: It’s the idea of a question or guideline I can answer or adhere to subjectively in context, but that I must answer regardless of opinion or context.

of3morning

Key data:

  • one ToDo-List per day
  • weekends off activated

New goal! Create a ToDo-List for every workday in OmniFocus. This list should at least include three items, but it’s unimportant how it is implemented.

This hopefully helps to step up OmniFocus usage in general. No output is tracked yet and the implementation is left pretty open, since I don’t know yet how I want to handle this.

Weight Related

Current goals:

Nothing new here goals-wise. But I might need to track my calorie intake. That’s something to consider for next time.

I also might need to invest in a more accurate scale. My current scale is only accurate within half a kilo, which makes it hard to see progress and weight differences in general.

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#3

General

  • Visiting my girlfriend for about 10 days and taking a break from Beeminding and trying to be productive in general has brought into focus, how I need to stop listening (or half-listening) to so many podcasts!
  • I recreated my goodreads profile
  • I really enjoy using Brain.fm, which will also help me to retrain the habit of having podcasts on all the time
  • I have a new digital scale!

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

I’m thinking hard about removing the mondly goal, since the App itself doesn’t use a spaced repetition system and therefore I don’t really learn a lot while doing the short daily free exercise. I would go all in on memrise and clozemaster, but memrise has announced that community created courses (such as those I use for learning Finnish), will be moved to a new service called decks. So I first want to see how this plays out and will make a decision afterwards.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

The goals do what they are supposed to do. No changes here. I guess I would like to shift my times another 15 minutes earlier, but not right now.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes here either.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

blog

I looked into 750words recently, decided it was not for me, but also thought writing longer journal entries might be a good idea. Also: Maybe I should beemind the actual words written, instead of just that an entry happened. But I won’t change it yet. I still have to finish my new website, before any changes.

lesen

Last time I wrote that this goal needs a lot of work. And also that I discovered too many podcasts to be one reason why I don’t read as much as I would like to (see the lesspods goal below).

I’m playing around with @mary’s MCM-Dashboard right now and if I get it to work reliably, I will use it, to autodial my reading goal with the dashboard:

autodial.php dials your goal rates (of the goals you list) to the average for the last 4 weeks. Note that it currently only works properly for cumulative goals, but other types are coming soon.

So no changes yet here either, but hopefully when I have finished my work on a dockerized version of the dashboard, which should make it much more easier to use, I will have a self adjusting goal.

lesspods

Key data:

  • Allow one full podcast episode every day
  • Weekends Off (allow 10 episodes extra = 12 episodes total on those days)
  • manual data entry, would love to automate this somehow

New goal! I will be able to listen to one podcast episode for fun every day, but not more. I’m not yet sure if the weekends will allow for too much buffer, but I’ll see about it and if so will adjust accordingly.

This goal hopefully will help me to read more, listen to podcasts more mindfully and generally use my time more productively. I have listened to so many podcasts over the years that my ear became accustomed to the background noise. But this background noise was a low level distraction too. I’m really hopeful that this will make a huge difference!

General Productivity

Current goals:

eatthefrog

Key data:

  • Finding frogs is now tracked in its own goal

I think that I need a list of goals or something that I can chose the frog from if it doesn’t come to me (in theory this should be OmniFocus). I had now some days where I really couldn’t think of a “froggy” enough task so I just took any task that came to mind to be my frog for this day, only to discover later the same day, that there is a big fat frog right in front of me. Or I couldn’t think of anything when the day was almost over. I think splitting the goal in findthefrog with a deadline set to 12pm and eatthefrog (deadline at midnight) might help.

findthefrog

Key data:

  • Find a frog by noon

As I said in the eatthefrog section, I want to condition myself to think of the frogs earlier, so this goal makes sure I think of them at least before 12pm.

of3morning

Key data:

  • Derailed, new pledge: 10$
  • Deadline set to 12pm

I derailed on the goal, because my deadline was set to midnight even though I could only work on this goal before 12 pm. And since I didn’t notice it between my other goals in time, I had to wait for 12 long hours before the goal finally derailed. Super frustrating. Setting up goals more carefully should be an overarching goal in the future.

of3inbox

Key data:

  • Clear your inbox once a day (the inbox doesn’t need to stay empty)
  • Weekends off

New goal! This goal should help with clearing out tasks from the inbox, but also make sure that I won’t feel like I can’t dare to put new stuff into my trusted task manager.

Weight Related

Current goals:

I have a new digital scale! I’m actively looking for a Yoga studio! Lots of activity in this area!

wiegen

Key data:

  • changed the commitment from weekly to daily
  • deadline changed from midnight to 9:30 (before I leave the house)

The new digital scale makes it much easier to weigh in and the reported weight is much more accurate. I therefore decided to weigh myself as part of my daily morning routine.

mfp

Key data:

  • log three meals with myfitnesspal every weekday
  • weekends off, for now

New goal! I have decided I will log my calorie intake and myfitnesspal is a great free service (or rather a service with a free tier) that allows me to do just that. I had this goal unfrozen/restarted, actually, so there was not much to set up, except weekends off. Let’s see how it works first before thinking too much about it.

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#4

this is great! how did you sync beeminder and memrise? I’m looking for a way to automatically have memrise send my points to beeminder

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#5

Thanks!

I’m using akrasia by @csu for that. Check it out, it has many more integrations!

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#6

General

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

I have marked the mondly goal to be archived. I have made the decision to leave everything else as it is and will revisit this next month. Memrise has decided to develop an app for their new decks service.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

showers

Key data:

  • Go to shower 35 minutes before sleep
  • Deadline is set to 00:25 am
  • Weekends Off

New goal! This goal is meant to give me enough time in bed to wind down and look at my phone for a little bit before actually going to sleep. Going to the shower before bed is the last thing I need to do each day. I have found that I at least need about half an hour to wind down, for me to be in a relaxed state before I go to sleep for real, so I go to shower (and brush my teeth, etc.) at least 35 minutes before sleep.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

All goals now automatically trim their safety buffer to 30 days.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

lesen

Changes:

  • automatically trim safety buffer after 7 days

As I wrote last time, I looked into @mary’s MCM-Dashboard, but sadly I couldn’t get it to work well enough to do the dialing of my road automatically.

Still not enough reading time. So I put in an auto trim after a week.

bmndrjrnl

Through the weeks I kinda always wish I would write a weekly journal, but when it’s finally the day, I’m super stressed and also I have no recollection of what has happened.

lesspods

Changes:

  • Weekends Off (allow 7 episodes extra)

Logging how much podcasts I listen to alone has given this some perspective. But giving me 12 podcasts on the weekend just meant I had an amazing amount of extra buffer left. So I shrunk this to 5 + 2. Let’s see if this’ll make a difference.

General Productivity

Current goals:

I have renamed a bunch of goals and archived three (daily reviews, of3inbox, findthefrog). Since I’m using taskwarrior now, I have a ToDo-List with a built-in urgency algorithm. My integration tracks the completion of the most urgent goals and adds a point for each completed most urgent task to the frog goal. This still needs some fiddling (since I’m now doing more than one frog on some days) and using a different task manager also means some different habits. There is no inbox, so no need for that goal, finding a frog is as easy as looking at my ToDo-list (in theory at least) and a daily review is not as needed in a single list system like this.

I also derailed on the findthefrog goal, because I was held captive in a meeting for way longer than I thought.

Weight Related

Current goals:

I hate the mfp goal, but I think it helps immensely, so it’ll stay. The new scale is great, though. I non-legitly derailed two times because I weighed myself, but didn’t put it in the wiegen goal.

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#7

General

  • my Girlfriend visited me last week so I had scheduled a break for almost all of my goals. Again, this was super-instructive and helped me gain some perspective, which boils down to this: Know why you do it and then do it right. Goals should have a good reason and there should be “metagoals” attached to them - something I already try to do if you look at the headings
  • Taskwarrior and beemind-hooks have been a huge win for me, even though I’m still learning how to use it
  • I’ll simplify my approach for the journal somewhat, since I’m moving to a weekly schedule for these entries

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

No changes here.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

The showers goal has somehow managed to make me go to bed even earlier than I need to - sometimes more than half an hour! I also spend more time playing games on my phone before bed, which turns out is a good winding down strategy for me. I really enjoy my last 45 to 60 minutes or so and am ready for bed in this way. I’m gonna leave everything as it is for now, but maybe I should enforce this behavior by changing the deadline of my showers goal.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

I have cut down the time between calls for every goal to every three weeks (0.048 calls per day) and automatically trim my safety buffer now at 21 days. I missed a recent change of my brother’s career plans and I want to stay in contact more.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

blog

The blog goal now has a fine print: “Every blog post should have at least 750 words. Only if there is a good reason for the post to be shorter, I can go under.” This is related to the website 750 words, which states:

I looked this up. 250 words per page is considered to be the standard accepted number of words per page. So, three standard pages are about 750 words. Of course if 750words.com hadn’t been available, I would’ve totally found a way to prove that 249 words per page was the accepted standard. It really just comes down to the fact that this amount of writing feels about right. You can’t just fart out 3 pages without running into your subconscious a little bit… 750 words takes a bit of effort, and it never fails to get me typing things that I have wanted to articulate without realizing it. And that’s the point.

As I said before the service itself is not for me - I have my own elaborate notes system - but the part about that little bit of effort it needs to write down 750 words resonated with me.

lesen

I doubled my commitment to about 15 minutes a day, since I’m still not reading enough. The problem is that I read in bursts and then have ridiculous amounts of buffer. I have already buffer autotrimmed to seven days (since I want to be able to get my reading in on the weekends if it’s a particularly stressful week) - but I might still make this three or even one if this continues to be ineffective.

bmndrjrnl

I changed the commitment to write one of these every week.

lesspods

Still too much safety buffer so I have ratcheted it down to having about 5 units instead of ~35. I also love how I can see what podcasts I listen to. I’m thinking of introducing a similar goal for the minutes of sports watching I’m doing, since that is my other time sink.

General Productivity

Current goals:

For asi, I turned weekends-off of and turned let beeminder automatically trim safety buffer to 7 days, since I didn’t have an eep day since I have switched to taskwarrior.

The same is true for eatthefrog.

Taskmorning has been scheduled to be archived. I might exchange this for a goal that asks me to add or log a task when doing a thing to get into the habit of using taskwarrior (even) more consistently.

Weight Related

Current goals:

Still hating the mfp goal, but I have lost weight in the last few weeks, sooo :shrug: I derailed on my wiegen (weigh ins) goal since I can’t seem to remember to log the data point when I have actually stepped on the scale. So I have moved the deadline back a little.

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#8

General

  • I have started to organize not only my notes, but also my projects according to a growing tree structure, which I’m trying to keep in sync through different apps and services. I may rename a lot of goals according to this new scheme soon.
  • Briefly I had a goal called lynda which would’ve tracked if I spent 5 hours every week on learning through the website, but I have decided that I’m not ready to commit to that.
  • I also bought a lifetime subscription to freedom.to which I haven’t really used that much recently but I plan to do so.

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

I have not had an eep days in ages, so I have decided to double my commitment on both goals (clozemaster 56 -> 112; memrise 1500 -> 3000). Doubling the amount might be too much in the long run, but I would like to feel at least some heat here.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

Sometimes external stressors can be useful. The neighboring apartment is being renovated right now and the workers start relatively early every day, which meant waking up to drilling noises. This has made me shift my daily rhythm one hour earlier, something I had considered in the past, but couldn’t bring myself to commit to. But I have now changed the deadlines of all these goals to be one hour earlier (wakeupontime 8:29 am -> 7:29 am; sleepontime 0:59 am -> 11:59 pm; leaveontime 9:50 am -> 8:50 am; showers 0:25 am -> 11:25 pm). I also changed all goals to start sending notifications an hour before the deadline.

I also non legitimately derailed on sleepontime, since I fell asleep before I could enter a point but woke up after the deadline had passed.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

Since I have reduced the buffer on lesspods I have derailed already once. I’m still of the opinion that derailing might not always not be failing, but in this case it was valuable to notice that actually upping other goals gets the job done better. I have upped the doless goal lesspods to allow for two podcast episodes every day.

I’m reading more so the lesen goal finally makes a difference! :partying_face:

General Productivity

Current goals:

I have upped the frog goal a little (1 -> 2) since I have noticed the same problem as @Narthur did: Taskwarrior emphasizes (over)due tasks in their urgency algorithm a lot.

Weight Related

Current goals:

No changes.

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