Beeminder Forum

Martin's Beeminder "Tagebuch" (journal)

One option is to turn on autotrim and then put in the fine print that derailments on weekends don’t count.

I’d like to hear more about this scheme and your tree structure!
Have you looked into MyLifeOrganized at all? It’s great for organizing projects in a tree structure.

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Basically it’s my own little URI naming scheme. So anything can (and in theory should) have a relation to a tree of “projects”. A project can be very broadly defined as a temporary or permanent subsystem (a system here is very generally thought of as a structured whole and a subsystem therefore would be a self-contained system within that whole. The whole here is the tree of my projects. It is strongly related to my life and is a structured articulation of my world).

Alright. With that said the goal of the tree structure is to relate, in a context appropriate way, all the things back to this tree structure:

  • in taskwarrior, the project field is an obvious choice for codifying a place in my tree
  • in my notes app of choice, TiddlyWiki, the tags field makes the most sense
  • in the file system naming the folders according to the scheme is the way to go
  • and so on…

So how does the scheme look? Here are two fictional examples:

07-work.2-chatbot.1-research.1-machine-learning
07-work.2-chatbot.1-research.2-react-hooks

  • projects and subprojects are divided by a dot (or an appropriate substitution within the context, e.g. in the file system it would be folders and subfolders so in the terminal it’d be a slash)
  • root-projects start with a two digit number followed by a hyphen and a short descriptor of the project
  • subprojects follow the rules of the root-projects, but add two digit numbers only when needed

The growth of the tree according to this scheme is governed by a small list of rules:

  • branch out deep rather than wide
  • if a new subproject could branch out from two equally plausible points, branch out from the stronger one
  • branching out temporarily/in a bad way is better than not connecting things to the tree

This ever growing tree is documented inside my notes app, accompanied by a description of the naming scheme, the aforementioned rules and a changelog.

Projects (or rather their identifiers) are created as soon as a thing is understood to be related to a project not yet named (and therefore not yet connected to the tree).

Finally: A thing might in practice be related to more than just one project. That’s fine. The tree is not meant to track every possible relationship between the things it’s connecting and itself. I strive for “the best” relationship at present and in context. By utilizing cross-references (e.g. a text file in the folder structure in the file system, a note in my notes system…) a migration to a different place in the tree is possible.

I looked into it after you mentioned it! It reminds me a lot of OmniFocus actually which also allows for (in theory) unlimited branchability, a property that is mandatory for any software that’s supposed to be more than an intermediary.

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Neat, thanks for sharing. What are the problems this system is solving for you?

Workflowy is kind of an unlimited tree, as well…

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It’s little bit like when Linnaeus figured out a way to name all plants: By having an all-encompassing system like this it’s possible to have a “semantic anchor” that relates to a more or less arbitrary aspect of reality, that can be used to describe the environment of that anchor better and to orient oneself within one’s world. In other words: Having a system like this (it could also take on the shape of a network or a tag cloud or whathaveyou) allows for a holistic view. In a picture: It relates a map to a territory by putting up street signs in the real world that can be found in the map.

Secondly an easy naming scheme makes it possible to take the possibility of order anywhere. That means two things: 1) I can use the system for anything, since it doesn’t express the essence of the thing, it’s just (if very important) metadata. 2) I can use it anywhere where I can write something down. Any app on any of my devices, but also real-life folders for real-life paper, for example.

Thirdly the system itself has emergent properties as it connects things that I would have not connected consciously. It’s serendipitous in that way. This means at a certain tipping point a holistic system like this starts to work for you, especially for theoretically inclined people that like to write a lot of notes like me.

True!

The cool thing is that having a system like this negates the need to only rely on one app. It of course still makes sense to maybe not use OmniOutliner, Dynalist and Workflowy at the same time, but it’d be possible - opening up this room of platform agnosticism frees you from the need to find the app™. Apps are just implementation details or articulations of the general system which itself is not reified as an app or a collection of apps anymore. There might be a present setup, but exchanging apps or changing whole workflows doesn’t change the order of the tree, which makes it a reliable conceptual tool.

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General

  • “You can set a travel-friendly slope overall and use the so-called take-a-break feature to schedule periods of more intense work.” - What an amazing idea to keep in mind, e. g. when testing out a new slope.
  • My project naming scheme (see here and here) has “usurped” my older, less well thought-out scheme for notes and reference material! That also means I’m getting closer to actual platform agnostic “semantic anchors” everywhere, which is great. Beeminder goals are still exempt, though.
  • I had the crazy experience of recommending beeminder to a coworker today! :grimacing: There is this eternal fight in me: I like sooo many nerdy things and I’m happy to discus and comment on them openly online, but I’ve never been comfortable sharing my journey in the form of distilled down advice or in a chit-chatty way with others in real life. I’m not exactly sure why, though… But people see the results of my life organization habits and so there is some inevitability to being interested in things like beeminder as regards to having to share those experiences. I tried my best though! I explained that it won’t necessarily be able to bring purpose to your life (even though you might be able to brute force it if you have the right mind for it) but it can help build habits and help you find some discipline. I explained that discipline doesn’t come cheap. The service costs money and earning the opportunity to learn how much you truly want to do (or avoid to do) something comes at a price. I mentioned brain.fm as well as Alex Vermeer’s 8760 hours and his procrastination poster as a starting point. I also mentioned stoic philosophy, which I’m a big fan of. Don’t know how well received any of the things were, but I tried Beeminder folks, I tried! :wink:

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

I have lowered my memrise goal (3000 → 2000) since that’s more realistic and upped my clozemaster goal (112 → 224) since that’s also more realistic.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

I derailed on my showers goal (payed $10 → now $30) and was thinking that maybe I should keep it at 10, since I like the option to go over once in a while.

What I have done instead is slightly lower my commitment on all of these goals so that I can build up safety buffer (every goal’s commitment 1 → 0.95; that works out to one buffer day per month).

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

I renamed my reading goal (lesen → read) and my consume-some-news goal (nachrichten → news) in effort to keep the naming more consistent.

Lesspods is on two podcast episodes a day at the moment, which seems to be the sweet spot. I might deceive myself though, since it could be that a 7 episode buffer on the weekend is simply too much, but so far I like it. Even just entering all the episodes as a comment when I add a data point to this do less goal makes me mindful of how much I consume this form of media.

General Productivity

Current goals:

I have decided to allow both most urgent tasks and tasks tagged as +frog in taskwarrior (the frog tag should be prioritized before urgency) as my definition of a permissible +1 on the eatthefrog goal. The former is now part of the fine print.

I’m not sure how, but weeklyreview now derails on Saturdays instead of Fridays - I just can’t remember that I changed this! Anyways, I like it, so it stays. It gives me more time to actually do a gtd style review and keeps my taskwarrior list relevant.

Weight Related

Current goals:

My weigh-in goal got renamend (wiegen → weighin).

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What are your top-level projects? Are they sort of like areas or scopes (“work”, “family”, “personal growth”)?

Yeah, kinda. The tree started as a list of my yearly goals divided into subgoals, though. I have to refactor the tree sometimes. Right now I’m working under the assumption, that this won’t be necessary as much as I continue to improve the tree. Again, in plant systematics there have been a lot of changes since its beginnings, but nowadays the general outline is pretty stable.

My top level projects include:

  • archive
  • meta
  • growth
  • a book project
  • my apartment
  • theory
  • adventure
  • a weight loss goal
  • finances
  • my job
  • relationships
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General

  • I’m going on vacation tomorrow! Therefore all my goals are paused until the 11th.
  • “Ultimately I think the way forward is going to be to perhaps find the goals where cheating is more effort than not cheating. I have no idea how to cheat a weighing scales on a daily basis. Likewise I’d have no idea how to cheat a step-counter. If I only ever use Beeminder to lean into the goals that I don’t know how to cheat on, that’s still a good way of doing it.” How well put! Not knowing can be a huge plus.
  • Taking part in the first alpha of TaskRatchet has been a lot of fun. Seeing and being able to use a thing like this - even for a short amount of time - has really shown me how much I would LOVE to have a One-Off-Commitment-Contract-Tool like TaskRatchet.
  • I had to keep my reflections rather short this time, since I still need to pack before leaving tomorrow.

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

No changes.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

One slack day per week on all of these works. I’m less stressed and still have to do the thing every day.

wakeupontime actually derailed non-legitely, because my wifi didn’t work (or rather the wifi did work, but not my cable modem).

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

My new blogging process consists of three goals now. I have to come up with a topic for a post before writing a draft of a post and finally publishing it. Hopefully this’ll help me raise the quality of writing over there.

General Productivity

Current goals:

No changes.

Sports, Weight Related

Current goals:

The Yoga course is going well, but I have stopped losing weight, I think. Not sure yet what to do about it, but maybe I’ll come up with something when I’m on vacation.

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  1. The Beeminder Blog
  2. Messy Matters (well, I haven’t posted anything there in a long time but can’t hurt to add it just in case!)
  3. Slate Star Codex
  4. Scott Aaronson’s Shtetl Optimized
  5. Matt Levine’s Money Stuff (free as an email newsletter; I haven’t figured out how to automatically get it into Pocket)
  6. PutANumOnIt
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Thanks @dreev!

Just for anyone interested (not that it’s that hard to find): The newsletter signup form is here.

P.S.: If anyone else has anymore recommendations (could also be your own blog), I would be happy to try them out!

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Oooooh Flowstate looks dangerously good. Like I am getting similar vibes as when I first discovered Beeminder. I got to try that!

Addendum: There is a similar tool for git repositories:

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General

  • I’m going on vacation today! Therefore all my goals are paused until the 11th.
  • “Ultimately I think the way forward is going to be to perhaps find the goals where cheating is more effort than not cheating. I have no idea how to cheat a weighing scales on a daily basis. Likewise I’d have no idea how to cheat a step-counter. If I only ever use Beeminder to lean into the goals that I don’t know how to cheat on, that’s still a good way of doing it.” How well put! Not knowing can be a huge plus.
  • Taking part in the first alpha of TaskRatchet has been a lot of fun. Seeing and being able to use a thing like this - even for a short amount of time - has really shown me how much I would LOVE to have a One-Off-Commitment-Contract-Tool like TaskRatchet.
  • I had to keep my reflections rather short this time, since I still need to pack before leaving.

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

No changes.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

One slack day per week on all of these works. I’m less stressed and still have to do the thing every day.

wakeupontime actually derailed non-legitely, because my wifi didn’t work (or rather the wifi did work, but not my cable modem).

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

My new blogging process consists of three goals now. I have to come up with a topic for a post before writing a draft of a post and finally publishing it. Hopefully this’ll help me raise the quality of writing over there.

General Productivity

Current goals:

No changes.

Sports, Weight Related

Current goals:

The Yoga course is going well, but I have stopped losing weight, I think. Not sure yet what to do about it, but maybe I’ll come up with something when I’m on vacation.

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@phi @matti

How does this Flowstate thing work? I don’t understand - everything gets deleted if you ever stop writing? Do you lose it forever? Seems like you’d need a keystroke logger with it…

@matti @dreev

I’m hooked on fivethirtyeight.

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Great :wink:

You choose a timespan for your session (and a font), e.g. 10 minutes, and Flowstate WILL MAKE YOU WRITE: If you stop for more than 5s you lose what you wrote in that session.
Once you made it through those 10 minutes the text is yours to keep. Forever. The app changes colours and you can then edit the draft you just fabricobbled to your heart’s content.

It goes without saying that this is also a prime example for a commitment device.

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General

  • Vacations and all the breaks associated with it are really important. I cannot overstate how helpful it is to step away from Beeminder for a week or two and come back to it with fresh eyes. Take breaks everybody!
  • I stumbled up on a very helpful course “Learning how to learn”.
  • I have removed all my recurring goals in Taskwarrior. The app is just not great in handling recurrence, yet.
  • Work Cycles sounds like an interesting idea.

Learning Finnish

Current goals:

The new Anki goal is not a autodata goal (for now). I simply log a point if I use it every weekday.

I started to use anki when I was doing the aforementioned online course about learning and I have found it to be a much more intense learning experience than both clozemaster and memrise have been. I still try to find out what is a good amount of new cards for me each day before making this an autodata goal. Also I have two decks in anki which are not about learning Finnish, but about web development and learning, these might have to be tracked independently, but let’s see first if that’s necessary.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

No changes. But I’m thinking about adding a quitontime goal to give me enough time each day to decompress.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

blogdraft has been changed to be an input based goal. I’m very happy with the draft for my next post, but it’s not finished yet and I don’t want to rush it. I have decided to invest two hours a week to work on my draft. It is ready when it’s ready. This might mean that my blog and/or blogtopic goal needs adjustment, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I have retroratched lesspods. I’m addicted to listening to podcasts. And I’m cheating myself to listen to more podcasts than my rational mind would want to (by having a too lenient weekend allowance). I want to listen to one episode a day and maybe one before going to sleep, while laying in bed. So committing to two a day is fine. But I have also dialed down my allowance on the weekend to 3 (was 7) for the weekends-off feature.

General Productivity

Current goals:

No changes.

Sports, Weight Related

Current goals:

No changes.

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General

  • After removing the Urgency integration of Taskwarrior and last week also removing all my scheduled goals AND having problems of entering a lot of tasks with proper metadata quickly and correctly into Taskwarrior AND being frustrated how hard weekly reviews had become since I started using Taskwarrior AND incidentally reading about deep work on the doist Blog I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t justify the amount of work I had to put into Taskwarrior to just keep it up to date anymore. I felt I needed to change this asap. I also felt that I couldn’t go back to OmniFocus directly, because I would just face the same frustrations as before I made the change to Taskwarrior (namely: no good way to integrate with Beeminder, slooowww improvement curve of the software itself and therefore added frustration about the uncertainty how long it would take for Omni to have an api, webhokks, ifttt-Integration, etc.). The same goes with all the other task management apps and services, I’ve tried. Every one of them had something else I found frustrating or not ideal. I wanted to try something new (to me). And since I found myself already on the page of doist. I almost on a whim signed up for a year of todoist premium (it was just 30$ and therefore easily justifiable). This again means a lot of changes to my productivity system. But the first few days have already been much better.
  • I will also just generally note here, that I have created 11 ifttt triggers (yoga, weighin, weeklyreviews, news, journal, callmom, callgrandparents, calldad, callbrother, bmndrjrnl, anki) and 2 direct label integrations (asi, eatthefrog) to beemind from todoist directly.
  • Work Cycles has been a fantastic addition to my productivity toolkit! I’ve used it about 10 times already since last week and I love the structured approach to work.
  • Focusmate on the other hand doesn’t work for me. I just found it too stressful.
  • I have tagged all goals in Beeminder with a camelCased version of the heading under which they appear in this journal. This should help keep me organized when I add new goals. If they don’t yet have a tag, I probably haven’t added them to the Tagebuch either! (More about beeminder’s hidden tagging feature)
  • I have started to plan out my whole day in my calendar. This has been especially helpful in the evening, when a little bit tired, because I already made the decision of what happens next. I replan the schedule if needed, but I rarely have to delete appointments with myself to the a specific task. It helped to realize how much time I actually do have at my disposal and led to creating a quitontime goal (see below).

Learning

Current goals:

I have renamed the section to learning, since it now includes not only goals pertaining to my goal to learn Finish, but also to my goal to become a better developer.

New goal: Freecodecamp makes me do freecodecamp lessons for two hours each week. I reset my progress there last week, because I did FCC such a long time ago, that I missed out on a lot of lessons and also felt like I needed a refresher on some of the basics. Weekends are off as per usual. I use the timer feature of the iOS-App to track my time spent with FCC.

I doubled my commitment to clozemaster (112 -> 224 points per day). I slightly raised my commitment to memrise to (2000 -> 2200 points per day). The memrise iOS-App seemingly stopped working for the community courses I use (as was announced a while ago), so I have started using the decks website on my phone, which actually works quite well and even has some advantages over the app:

  • I can use the difficult words feature
  • I can review all my words in all of my courses at once

It has two annoyances, though:

  • When writing my word, into the text field, iOS automatically capitalizes the first letter, which means I have to remember to tap the shift button once before writing my word
  • Autocomplete remembers what I have written and makes it sometimes easier than it should be

Still, I’m mostly happy so far, actually.

The new Anki goal works and consists of three decks right now:

  • [W/ audio] Finnish - English Core 900 (Spoken Language)
  • a FreeCodeCamp deck
  • a self made deck to the online Course “Learning How To Learn”

I don’t see the need right now to track progress anymore closely than “doing all the cards every day”. I have it set to show at most three new cards every day per set.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

I have added a quitontime goal which should help me to leave not latter than 8 hours and 30 minutes after I came into work. The way I have set it up is this: I enter a 0 datapoint with a comment of my planned quitting time (giving me a chance to stay longer if work makes it absolutely necessary). When I leave I update that datapoint to a 1 if I left on or before the set time.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

blogdraft as an input based goal has been great! I have made it so that it automatically trims safety buffer after 7 days.

After admitting last week to being addicted to podcasts, I actually stopped listening to them as much and got a lot more done. I also started to take some vitamins, so I’m not sure exactly if it is listening to podcasts as much, but I listen to about one a day now and have therefore lowered my allowed podcast episodes per day to 1.5 for now.

General Productivity

Current goals:

No changes.

Sports, Weight Related

Current goals:

No changes.

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General

My Top 3 for Work and Life

I used this last weekend to reassess my priorities for this year/my current situation and focussed heavily on my top 3 goals in my working context and my life context. This has helped hugely to calibrate what I really need to do right now and what I need to do less of.

Commitments- and Time-Budget

"Considering we all have 24h a day, we have to budget for the commitment debt we sign up for. That way we don’t have to prepare 5 talks in a week, but can hold 5 talks. We can do cool things and realistically gauge if this fits into our life, as every commitment debt is budgeted for. No (ok let’s be honest, less) crunch nights and no flaking out. It’s a debt we owe and there will be collection.

That’s the idea of commitment debt and using Beeminder to get out of commitment debt and not biting off more than we can chew."(@mufflon)

After reading about budgeting time and commitments I have put together a spreadsheet with all my commitments:

Basically I have written down every commitment (the screenshot only shows part of Beeminder’s commitments) in minutes, throughout each day (Monday to Sunday). If there are commitments that don’t have a specific day on which they should happen their durations are added to the weekly column. I then calculate how much time I use for these commitments each day and each week and see how much time I have actually budgeted already.

I can see if I overcommit in this way pretty quickly, how I use my time and if I have enough unplanned for time (I aim for about two days (minus 8 hours of sleep per day) of completely free time each week).

Monthly planning with Ultraworking Comming Up

I have committed to take part in a free online training event from Ultraworking, which will happen on Saturday. I’m curious what awaits me here, but this sounds interesting:

It’s free and will be hyper-practical: it’ll be only about 30% theory; 70% of it will be guided review time to go deep into how your past month went, how you want your next month to go, and installing the relevant tools and processes to ensure you have a great month.(Ultraworking)

Learning

Current goals:

Two new goals: up2date is like a second reading goal and tries to make me keep up with current trends around web developments (commitment: 20 minutes each workday).

Code2code is a goal meant to make me try new things out, programming wise. Maybe it’s a new library, a new (to me) concept or pattern. Maybe it’s a kata or two. The idea is to just code for coding’s sake, hence the name.

Keep a Daily Rhythm

Current goals:

I have upped my commitment to quitontime (3 per week to 4 per week). I also have changed how I enter data: Instead entering a 0 with a comment each morning telling me when I have to quit working for today at the latest. Instead I do the same but with a 1. I’d remove the point if I don’t make it.

Stay in Contact With Family

Current goals:

No changes.

Reading, Writing, Consuming Media

Current goals:

I decided to archive blog since blogdraft (an input based goal) is a much nicer metric for me. I have read some of the replies to the recent topic about these type of goals, going purely input base here makes sense for me, since developing my blog is not in my top 3 priorities right now.

General Productivity

Current goals:

No changes.

Sports, Weight Related

Current goals:

No changes.

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How’s todoist working for you? How does the ifttt integration work?

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