Inspired by @penten’s journal and @matti’s “tagebuch”, I’ve decided to start my own Beeminder journal. I’ve added a goal to post an update once a week, which will probably end up coinciding with my weekly beetuning goal.
I’m starting this journal for a few reasons:
- I tend to procrastinate on optimizing my goals, and I hope this journal will break me out of that pattern and get me to be more methodical in thinking about my systems.
- I hope that sharing my challenges will make it easier for others to share theirs, and that maybe someone might learn from what’s worked for me.
- I anticipate learning from the insights of the community in response to my updates.
Below are the goals I currently have, their purposes, and how well or not-well they currently seem to be working.
Basically a list of sites I never want to visit. Currently YouTube, Twitch, and Steam. This goal has been working ok, but not as well as I’d like, for a few reasons:
- It’s a do-less goal, with all the regular downsides they carry.
- Presumptive pessimistic datapoints are turned off, so it’s easy to ignore. I originally turned them off because I didn’t want to be charged simply because I forgot to enter a datapoint, and I’m very sensitive to how much effort just using my goals takes on a day-to-day basis.
- The sites that are actually banned are buried in the fine print, making it easy to forget which sites I don’t want to visit.
- For YouTube, the goal doesn’t accurately represent my desired boundaries, as I do allow myself to use the site for career learning, which leads to the goal becoming fuzzier over time.
- Even if I’m not using YouTube, I can just as easily waste time on online video using Bing video search. Probably still better than using YouTube directly since Google knows so much about me that they are frighteningly good at sucking me in. But the problem doesn’t feel quite solved.
- I shy away from adding site after site to this goal like its flexibility allows, since it feels like a never-ending game of system 2 banning time sinks while system 1 finds more to replace.
For all these reasons, I think this goal needs to be seriously rethought and probably replaced.
Next action: Schedule archival and add a goal for screen-free meals.
Once a week I’m required to look through my goals, schedule breaks, tune commitments, etc. This is a must-have to make the akrasia horizon limits work for me. However, my beetuning sessions have become rather shallow, which I’m hoping this journal will help to combat.
Next action: Start this journal.
I added this goal recently, inspired by @matti. The name comes from Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog, in which he recommends that you order your tasks by impact, and then do the most-important, most-impactful task first. I’m keeping this goal pretty simple—I add a zero datapoint with the task in the comment, and then change the datapoint to a one when I’ve completed it. As soon as I complete the task, I add a new zero datapoint. So far it’s been working great.
Next action: None.
I work from home, so I can easily never leave my bunker if I let myself. This goal was intended to at least get me outside my door. I only added this goal recently, and it’s currently far too lenient, at only 3 exposures per week.
Next action: Change the frequency to 6/week, rename to /walk and require taking a walk instead of just opening my door.
This goal is for the purpose of prompting me to help my wife around the house. However, I think it’s too vague as it stands. I think I would be better-served by replacing it with two or three goals for specific chores around the house.
Next action: Replace with chore-specific goals.
This one is a ban on all computer & video games. I feel rather conflicted about this one. It’s done quite well for me, but I just bought Cities: Skylines, and so obviously this goal is scheduled for archival. I’m a little nervous about how I’ll manage not having this goal, though. I’ve considered replacing it with a do-less goal with a specific amount of time per day (half an hour? an hour?). Then I imagine I’d decide how much of my time I’d spend on the game before starting, and set a (preferably visible) timer for that duration before I start playing.
Next action: Try replacing with a do-less goal.
Perfectly boring and perfectly effective. Reminds me to take my vitamins.
Next action: None.
This goal is a time-based do-more goal. I like it a lot better than my prevous page-based goals, since I read paper, Kindle, and Audible books, and this allows me to switch seamlessly between books and mediums. However, at 0.5 hours per week, this goal is currently far too lenient to make any impact.
I could either increase the commitment on this goal, or add new goals to impact my reading indirectly. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding a no-screen-meals goal which would make it more likely that I’d do more Audible listening, though I’m just as likely to instead increase my podcast listening instead, so I think raising the slope on this goal would still have value.
Next action: Increase my commitment to one hour per week and see how it goes.
Requires that I put my retainer in almost every other day. I skate quite a bit on this one, and that’s fine with me. Works great.
Next action: None.
A recent addition. This goal was inpsired by @matti’s “asi” goal, which was, in turn, inspired by Beeminder’s “uvi” goal. It currently requires that I make three upgrades to my systems per week. I was super unsure how hard this goal would be when I created it, hence the low commitment + a high initial buffer. I think I’m ready to raise the commitment and retroratchet, as this goal has exceeded my expectations in both ease and impact.
Next action: Increase commitment & retroratchet.
vivo-sleep & vivo-steps
These are two goals which are only for tracking purposes. I use a Vivofit 3 to collect the data. At some point I have this idea that I may write a simple dashboard to pull the data from these two goals into my own graph to help me visualize the impact of these two metrics on other measures of productivity and well-being.
Next action: None.
I only added this goal recently, and it’s quickly become one of my most important goals. Since I work from home, it falls to me to ensure I put in the work my job needs. In the past I’ve found this very challenging due to headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and distractions only a few clicks away. There have been several things outside of this goal that I’ve done already to address the challenge, but this goal has certainly pulled its weight.
At the beginning of the day I set a datapoint with a negative number large enough to put me in the red. In the comment, I include the number of hours I’m committing to work that day. Once I meet the commitment, I change the datapoint to a positive one. When I created the goal I shortcircuited it to a ridiculous $2,000+ stakes to remove any question of whether or not the goal is optional.
This strategy effectively addresses the anxiety and distractions issues by allowing me to remove the option of backing out of the time I’ve decided to put in for the day. I often find adding my initial datapoint for the day to be a great relief.
The goal does, however, have problems:
- While the goal will pull me through my headaches and fatigue, it doesn’t directly address these issues, and I think it would be expecting to much from one goal to ask it to. I need to be experimenting with other goals along side this one to help with the well-being aspects.
- On especially-lazy or akratic mornings, it’s far too easy to put off making my commitment until late in the morning, or to not make one at all.
I could prevent myself from never committing by simply increasing my weekly commitment (I’m currently only requiring four successful commitments per week). But preventing myself from putting off the commitment until later in the day is trickier. I could define a commitment as only being successful if I make it before a certain time in the morning, but that doesn’t feel like it’d be worth losing $2k over. I’m currently leaning towards making an additional meta goal for making the commitment before such-and-such a time in the morning. If anyone has an easy way I could automate data entry on that, I’d love to hear it.
Part of me does wonder if I just need to bite the bullet and create a weekly hours goal. I had one in the past, but didn’t have a very good experience with it. That may have been due to the stakes not being high enough, however short-circuiting a ridged 40-hours-per-week goal to a high stakes level is pretty scary given the other issues I’m still working to address. Also, I’d want to subscribe to a plan with weekends off. Should I make the plunge?
Next action: Create a time-committed meta goal.
I created this goal recently in the hopes that it would help me be more intentional about investing my relationships with my coworkers. Being a remote worker it’s too easy to disconnect from my colleagues. At one thanks per week, my current commitment is too low to really give it a chance.
Next action: Increase my commitment.