Beeminder Forum

Narthur's Beeminder Journal

I don’t understand - what do you mean about having trouble ignoring it?

And how do the solitude walks work? What do you do?

@zedmango AutoFocus is, at base, just a notebook. It’s pretty easy for me to just stop picking it up. My todo-list time goal is making sure I put time into the system.

Re: /solitude-walks:

My strategy is to maintain, at all times, a single, clear problem primed and ready for cogitation. I then set aside specific times for this deep thinking in my schedule outside work. I use many (though not all) of my commutes for this purpose. I also leverage long weekend dog walks and the mental lull that accompanies time-consuming house work (Cal Newport in Deep Habits: Think Hard Outside The Office).

I’m sure I could improve my process, but for me this basically means using my morning walks to think about problems I’m currently facing in different areas of my life. One day this might mean thinking through how to approach a problem on a programming project; on another day, how to get past a roadblock in our finances.

I’ve been doing this long enough to be able to say with some confidence that I’m consistently deriving value from this practice:

  • I find creative solutions to difficult problems.
  • I feel more relaxed knowing I have time to think through hard problems.
  • I’m able to bring greater confidence to my work.
  • Solo walks are less boring and more enjoyable.

Update 2019-08-06

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 40
New goals this week 4
Goals scheduled for archive 1
Newest goal tr-email-zero (2019-08-06)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge retainer ($30.0)
Total pledges $295.0
Derails this week 2
Systems upgrades this week 12

Random Goal: walk

This goal is mostly a tracking goal at this point, since I have solitude-walk and deflate which also track walks. Walking regularly is important to me since my work is sedentary.

New Goals

  • tr-email-zero: Created 2019-08-06. Recently I failed to keep up with TaskRatchet emails for several days. This goal is designed to make sure this won’t happen again.
  • chart-updates: Created 2019-07-31. My wife and I keep a couple of paper graphs on key financial goals and metrics. I haven’t been that good at keeping these updated since we got married, so this should help.
  • plates: Created 2019-07-29. This is an experiment in weight control. Every time I get more food, I enter a datapoint. It hasn’t been restrictive so far, but I may adjust the rate to see if it’s an effective lever for losing weight.
  • finance-upgrades: Created 2019-07-29. /systems-upgrade has been so successful, I’m trying the same approach to my finances. Every time I do something that has the potential to improve our financial situation going forward, I add a +1 to this goal.

Derails

  • av-wp7-time & tr-time: 2019-08-05. I derailed on both these work time goals due to my fatigue hitting me hard after a busy weekend.

Scheduled for Archive

  • dirty-plates: If /plates proves effective, this goal won’t be needed anymore, so I’m going ahead and archiving it for now.

Overkill Top 5

Overkills occur when I do more (or less in the case of a do-less goal) than needed to keep up with a goal. A high number of overkills indicates that I’m building up buffer very quickly, and may indicate that a goal is too easy.

  • walk: 10
  • plates: 10
  • pills: 10
  • finance-upgrades: 6
  • dirty-plates: 6

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Short update today, without all the fancy stats, sorry. We bought a Windows machine for general use, so the Mac is only for work now, and I haven’t gotten all my scripts set up on the new machine.

Beeminder has been keeping me going even in the face of significant fatigue, which is a good thing. I am addressing the fatigue outside of Beeminder, as I believe it’s a health issue. My doctor had me get quite a bit of tests done last week, waiting on results.

I derailed on my retainer goal because I simply failed to notice the beemergency before I went to bed–really not ok. Derailing this way adds no value to my life. I have an idea as to how to prevent this from happening in the future. Will be sharing more about that soon, if things go according to plan.

1 Like

Derailed on one of my contract work time goals due to a lot of fatigue and some sleep loss.

I’ve revised my global fine print so that derails that occur due to clients becoming unexpectedly unavailable are not considered legitimate.

I’m also adjusting how I handle “undecidable tasks,” problems that require creative solutions that I’ve been using my morning walks to think through. I’ve switched from storing the list in Google Keep to Workflowy, which seems a lot more flexible, since it allows me to easily create as many nested layers as I need while reviewing. I’ve also switched from requiring that I spend a certain amount of time reviewing the list to just requiring that I do a certain number of reviews per week. Having to set timers and sitting there staring at a list when I didn’t have anything more to do with it was getting annoying enough that I was starting to resent the whole thing.

Update 2019-09-06

It’s looking like I’ve found a goal that gives me leverage on my weight–limit the number of plates I fill per day. We’ve already switched to using small plates at home, so right now that usually means 5 small plates per day. I don’t compensate when we’re out, so if we’re somewhere with larger plates, I’m allowed to eat more. I’m happy with it that way.

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 41
New goals this week 1
Goals scheduled for archive 0
Newest goal attentions (2019-09-06)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge deflate ($30.0)
Total pledges $299.0
Derails this week 1
Systems upgrades this week 3

Random Goal: retainer

I derailed multiple times on this recently, just because I didn’t notice it was in the red before going to bed. I’m trying to be more proactive about putting my retainer in even when the goal isn’t in the red.

New Goals

  • attentions: Created 2019-09-06. This is an experiment in requiring that I do something special or out of the ordinary for my wife on a regular basis. Planning to be spontaneous.

Derails

  • slick: 2019-09-05. I had a slow morning, was really dragging, and didn’t get myself into gear in time to prevent this one from derailing. Oops.

Overkill Top 5

Overkills occur when I do more (or less in the case of a do-less goal) than needed to keep up with a goal. A high number of overkills indicates that I’m building up buffer very quickly, and may indicate that a goal is too easy.

  • no-youtube: 0
  • vivo-steps: 0
  • vivo-sleep: 0
  • weight: 0
  • purifier-filter: 0

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Update 2019-09-20

I’m currently reworking a lot of goals to start prioritizing my health in a more meaningful way, and take the advice I’ve received from my doctor re: fatigue. That has meant taking a carving knife to existing goals to give room for the changes to take place, and then slowly adding new goals to support the new behaviors I’m trying to introduce.

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 43
New goals this week 1
Goals scheduled for archive 15
Newest goal upgrades (2019-09-16)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge deflate ($30.0)
Total pledges $288.0
Derails this week 1
Systems upgrades this week 3

New Goals

  • upgrades: Created 2019-09-16. This goal will be replacing all the separate upgrades goals I currently have. I’m not sure this will be as effective as having a goal for each type of upgrade (productivity, community, finance, etc), but combining them into one is part of making room for health behaviors.

Derails

  • tr-time: 2019-09-17. Not much to say about this one. I derailed.

Scheduled for Archive

Scheduling all these goals for archive was hard to do, since almost all of them make my life demonstrably better. But there’s only so much you can fit into one life, and I needed the space to make significant changes.

Related, I think if I had the ability to specify weekly days off, like weekends off but for all the days of the week, my “beeminder bandwidth” would be higher. Because I’m pretty sure fielding 5-minute beemurgencies every weekday takes a lot more mental bandwidth and creates a lot more stress than would having to do the same behavior for 30 minutes every Sunday. (I know, I could just get ahead on my own, but I’m an edge skater. Hence, why I use Beeminder.)

  • chart-updates
  • finance-upgrades
  • todo-time
  • ynab
  • reflect
  • undecidable-reviews
  • deflate
  • fam
  • solitude-walk
  • shred-zero
  • community-upgrades
  • retainer
  • systems-upgrade
  • walk
  • mobile-screentime

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

1 Like

Re: the script. Woah. The f string interpolation sugar is sweeet. A lot of keystrokes are going to be saved. Thanks! Can I ask why you manually seed before random.choice? It looks like python seeds it with either /dev/urandom or time anyway.

1 Like

Glad to hear it’s useful! :smiley:

I do that because I want it to select the same goal during a given day even if I run the script multiple times, like if I need to fix a bug or something. I guess it’s a personal preference to know there’s One Right Selection per day…

1 Like

Whoops, my bad. I had completely missed what you were seeding it with :slight_smile:

1 Like

Update 2019-10-02

So far I’ve replaced two *-time goals with *-blocks goals, the idea being that, for the new type of goal, I have to do x minutes to be able to register a 1, and decimal data points aren’t allowed. These are integery goals. For both goals so far I’ve defined a 1 as completing a 30 minute block of task X. This is for the purpose of combating the attention fragmentation resulting from Beeminder asking me to do 2 minutes of this and 3 minutes of that every day, when it would be more effective to do a larger block of the activity once a week (or less).

Also, Fabriq is cool.

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 30
New goals this week 2
Goals scheduled for archive 0
Newest goal todo-blocks (2019-10-02)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge worktime ($30.0)
Total pledges $173.0
Derails this week 0
Systems upgrades this week 0

Random Goal: vivo-steps

It’s a tracking goal, records the number of steps I take via my Garmin Vivofit 3. I’ve almost archived it so many times… But it’s not hurting anything to keep it.

New Goals

  • av-wp8-time: Created 2019-09-27. New contract, new time goal.
  • todo-blocks: Created 2019-10-02. This is replacing my old todo-time goal. I’ve given it a lot of extra buffer so I don’t have to think about it for a while.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Update 2019-10-22

My wife and I have been getting up at 5:30am and going to the gym 6 days a week. It’s been tough, but I think I may be starting to get used to it.

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 31
New goals this week 1
Goals scheduled for archive 0
Newest goal skipped-suppers (2019-10-16)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge tr-time ($30.0)
Total pledges $189.0
Derails this week 1
Systems upgrades this week 0

Random Goal: upgrades

This is the goal that replaced all the separate categorized upgrade goals (like finance-upgrades, community-upgrades, etc). I think these goals are more effective separately, but combining them is a compromise while I focus on my health.

New Goals

  • skipped-suppers: Created 2019-10-16. My doctor advised that I lose weight. This is another supporting goal for that outcome. I get to input a 1 when I skip a supper.

Derails

  • av-updates: 2019-10-21. I forgot when the deadline was. Oops.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

1 Like

Update 2019-10-31

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 31
New goals this week 0
Goals scheduled for archive 2
Newest goal skipped-suppers (2019-10-16)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge tr-time ($30.0)
Total pledges $193.0
Derails this week 1
Systems upgrades this week 0

Random Goal: pills

This goal has been for the purpose of ensuring I take my pills. But I’ve been so detailed with my data entry that it’s been hard to keep up with. Now that I’m taking pills every day at breakfast, I’m going to try going without the goal, so it’s scheduled for archive.

Derails

  • av-wp8-time: 2019-10-30. I had other work that needed done, so by the time I got back to this contract, the amount of time I needed to satisfy the goal was more than the remaining time until the deadline, so the derail was unavoidable.

Scheduled for Archive

  • pills: As mentioned above, this goal has become tedious to keep up with. I’m going to see how well I do without it.
  • tr-time: I’m going to attempt to shift my work schedule such that I can dedicate Fridays to TaskRatchet. I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to keep myself on the new schedule, but the first step is to archive this goal which would prevent me from making the change.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Update 2019-11-11

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 34
New goals this week 6
Goals scheduled for archive 0
Newest goal ynab-savings (2019-11-10)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge worktime ($30.0)
Total pledges $162.0
Derails this week 0
Systems upgrades this week 0

Random Goal: apt-filter

This goal makes sure I change the filter on our apartment’s central cooling system as required by our landlord.

New Goals

  • burndown: Created 2019-11-05. This goal is for the purpose of keeping me accountable to create real progress for my new employer now that I’m not contracting full-time. I’m pretty excited about the new strategy, but don’t have time to elaborate now since I’m in the middle of some beemurgencies. If you would like me to explain more, ask in this thread. :wink:
  • av-email-zero: Created 2019-11-05. A goal to ensure I’m staying on top of email at my new job.

The following goals are all for the purpose of helping me stay consistent with reconciling our YNAB budget accounts. My last ynab goal was far too vague as to which accounts I needed to reconcile to add a data point. Breaking the goal into multiple per-account should fix the issue.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Update 2019-11-20

Tasker

Today I made a couple upgrades to my Tasker profiles. I modified my gym profile to wait for an hour and fifteen minutes before posting a datapoint to my shower goal, since, if we’ve left before that amount of time has elapsed, we haven’t taken showers at the gym.

I also revisited my last attempt at creating a Tasker profile to automatically lock my phone after 3 minutes of use. The original idea was to only have it do this in the evenings, say, after 7pm. Currently it’s doing it all day. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up modifying it to only be active in the evenings as originally planned, but, in the meantime, I’m viewing it as an experiment to see how long I can go with the restriction in effect 24/7.

Burndown Metric

I’m still working on shifting my processes to support me as a salaried employee vs a contractor. As a contractor, even though all my contracts were fixed bid, I’d still track myself based on hours worked. Since becoming an employee again, I’ve created an algorithm that posts to a /burndown goal the number of estimated hours I’ve completed rather than the number of hours I literally worked.

It’s a little bit complicated in practice, but the simplest way to communicate the distinction is this: If I work 2 hours and complete a new task I had estimated to take 4 hours, a straight hourly approach would record 2, for the 2 hours I worked. My new approach records 4, since I effectively completed 4 hours of work today, even though I did it in two hours.

So far I only have one burndown goal, which tracks all my defined sprints, including side project and personal sprints. I think it’s becoming clear that this won’t be sufficient long-term, as completing a bunch of work on a personal project does not satisfy my real-world commitment to my employer.

The reason I didn’t start out with multiple burndown goals is partly because there isn’t an easy way to tell Beeminder I only want to be on the hook for a given goal on these specific weekdays. My current employer has a four-day workweek, so, ideally, I’d only want Beeminder to keep me on the hook for my job’s burndown Monday thru Thursday, and TaskRatchet burndown on Friday.

I think I’m going to end up creating a burndown goal specifically for my job regardless. If the scheduling issue proves real, I may have to add a cron job to schedule breaks in the appropriate goals. Sigh.

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 37
New goals this week 1
Goals scheduled for archive 0
Newest goal pi-blocks (2019-11-18)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge worktime ($30.0)
Total pledges $173.0
Derails this week 2
Upgrades this week 6

Random Goal: trash

This goal keeps me accountable to regularly take out the trash.

New Goals

  • pi-blocks: Created 2019-11-18. I’ve been waiting until the last minute to post updates on my Beeminder Pi light project, which results in some pretty lackluster updates. :stuck_out_tongue: Hoping that this goal will help me actually put in the minimal amount of time required to make real progress.

Derails

Both of the following derails happened on the same day. I had a terrible headache and simply did not have the mental focus required to meet goal requirements.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

1 Like

Update 2019-12-11

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 41
New goals this week 4
Goals scheduled for archive 1
Newest goal date-plan (2019-12-11)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge worktime ($30.0)
Total pledges $177.0
Derails this week 1
Upgrades this week 5

Random Goal: msda-blocks

This goal ensures I regularly volunteer time on projects for my church.

New Goals

  • half-past-eight: Created 2019-12-06. I’ve decided to start another bedtime goal. This one just requires that I enter a 1 when I get to bed before 8:30. (Yes, we go to bed early.) Conveniently, the deadline is 8:30, too.
  • date-plan: Created 2019-12-11. I have another goal that requires I plan times to discuss family matters with my wife–not actually spend the time, just schedule the time to spend. It’s worked so well we’ve decided to apply the same approach to scheduling dates.
  • food-journal: Created 2019-12-11. This goal is for the purpose of replacing my previous plates goal. The plates goal hasn’t really helped me lose weight, as I’ve compensated by loading up my plates high, even though we’re using small plates. This new goal only requires that I keep track of what I’m eating, which should hopefully build awareness and help me to be more mindful with my eating, while avoiding any adverse incentives.
  • day-plans: Created 2019-12-11. My wife has been making plans for her days, and she’s influenced me to get back to doing the same.

Derails

  • av-burndown: 2019-12-10. My wife and I had a late night traveling and the next day I was brain dead. Could not muster the energy to meet the requirement.

Scheduled for Archive

  • plates: As explained above, it hasn’t helped me lose weight. So archived it will be.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

Just checking in to say everything’s crazy and I’m probably gonna derail on a bunch of stuff but I still love Beeminder thats all bye! :sweat_smile:

Update: Amazingly, I avoided all derails. I’m… surprised.

3 Likes

Update 2020-01-14

Summary

Key Value
Number of goals 51
New goals this week 4
Goals scheduled for archive 3
Newest goal techtainment (2020-01-14)
Oldest goal worktime (2018-06-05)
Highest pledge worktime ($30.0)
Total pledges $202.0
Derails this week 1
Upgrades this week 0

Random Goal: keep-zero

This goal ensures I clear out and process my Google Keep inbox note, where I record random ideas, new todos, URLs I want to process, etc.

New Goals

  • techtainment: Created 2020-01-14. In the past I’ve found that just setting a timer before I engage in entertainment causes me to make much healthier choices, and to stop in a reasonable amount of time. I haven’t been doing this for a while, and my entertainment habits have been deteriorating accordingly. So I’m starting a new goal to fix that.
  • work-poms: Created 2020-01-14. I’m switching away from my existing time management strategies for work to simple pomodoros. We’ll see how it goes.
  • unplugged-blocks: Created 2020-01-11. I feel like I’m addicted to screens. This goal requires that I take 30 minutes to completely avoid screens on occassion. And it turns out to be very refreshing.
  • av-wp-plugin-commits: Created 2020-01-13. A GitHub-powered goal to ensure I make progress on a key work project.

Derails

  • worktime: 2020-01-10. I was quite sick last week and derailed as a result. I called non-legit.

Scheduled for Archive

The following goals are all scheduled for archive as a part of my transition to using Workflowy and the pomodoro technique exclusively for my work task and time management. My existing processes were just too formal and complex for my new job, so I’m attempting to switch to something lighter and more flexible, while hopefully also increasing my ability to spend focused time on achieving meaningful outcomes.

A skeleton of this summary was generated using a Python script and then carefully filled in by hand.

I was inspired by Dreev’s brainstorming in the New Year’s Resolutions thread to try to figure out how to beemind keeping in touch with friends.

The idea in the thread was to use neglect minding:

I decided not to use neglect-minding directly since:

  1. I don’t like do-less goals.
  2. Using beemind.me to do it seemed like I could just edit the Trello card to avoid a derail instead of actually contacting someone.

So I decided to flip it on its head:

  1. Keep track of the date of last contact for each person.
  2. Assign a target interval for each contact.
  3. Calculate a priority metric for each contact by subtracting the current interval from the target interval.
  4. Assign point values for Text, Email, IRL, and Phone contacts by adding MAX(Priority, 0) to a base value for each type of interaction.
  5. Beemind earning these points using a standard do-more Beeminder goal.

I’m using AirTable to keep track:

Couple more notes:

  1. I’m using weeks as my unit of measure for Target and Current intervals.
  2. I’m sorting first by priority descending, second by target ascending.
  3. Interaction point values are being coerced to integers.
  4. Currently, if there is no date of Last Contact, the Current interval is assumed to be the same as the Target interval. This seems good enough for now.
2 Likes

What parts of your goal to keep in touch with friends are automated and what parts are manual?

1 Like

The calculations inside the spreadsheet are “automated,” in that they’re using formulas, but I have to enter the date of last contact manually, and also enter the data points into Beeminder manually. Even though AirTable has a good API, I don’t know how you’d automate this further since I’m minding quite a few different types of interactions that would be hard to pull in.

1 Like