Planning emergency days in advance

I’ve become an avid Beeminder and TagTime user. I’m also a nurse and work 12hr shifts in a hospital. My work schedule essentially prevents me from making progress on my goals on work days (2-3 days/week). I am also unable to stay up late the night before a shift (to avoid harming patients due to sleep deprivation) and cannot plan on staying up the night after a shift (due to the high likelihood of complete exhaustion). That leaves me with 4-5 days and 2-3 nights each week in which I can work on most of my goals. I’m guessing this situation puts me in a small minority of beeminder users.

The result of my wacky schedule is that I’m keeping my goals easier than I’d like and planning far in advance in order to build up a buffer and avoid emergency days landing the night before or the day that I work. Especially since I started using TagTime, I want to give myself enough buffer that I can minimize the chances of being derailed by unusually long ping intervals. It’s starting to get cumbersome with the number of goals I have, and I’m curious if anyone else has encountered this problem or has a method for planning when their emergency days happen?

Basically what I want is to look in one place and see how much work needs to be done on each of my goals in order to provide myself enough buffer to last until my next opportunity to work on that goal. Like a system where I input my next available day for making progress on each goal and then get the amount of progress that I need to make today as an output. Or make the emergency day for the goals I’m worried about show up on my google calendar so I can see at a glance where those days will land (and watch the days move farther away as I make progress on the goal). Or maybe there’s a much simpler solution? I just don’t want to have to visit each goal page and figure it out for myself each time. Any ideas?


I’m not in your exact situation, but I have specific goals which cannot be accomplished all the time. For example, some goals must be done at work or some goals must be done on the weekend.

I don’t have any solution unfortunately. Currently I just try to look ahead a bit (which doesn’t work very well) and weasel whenever I would derail on a day that isn’t valid for the goal. :frowning:

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so sort of like having this table, for each of your goals, on one page?

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I don’t think that really addresses the issue, or at least not for me. Consider two goals:

Flossing: doable every day
Standing desk: doable M-F

Today’s Friday and both of those goals may be orange / need doing tomorrow. The table you suggest would show that they both need doing tomorrow. Maybe I could use the table to figure out that I need to do more standing desk today. But I bet that flossing will show up in the same table in the same way even though I can wait until tomorrow for that.

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I think that would work pretty well for me, and is actually what I’ve been using so far. Most of the goals I’m concerned with are timey, so I can look at the next day I’ll have available, let’s say Wed in the example you posted, and see that I need to do 0.58 more hours today in order to be safe until then. And if I want another day of buffer I’ll need to do 0.86 today, if I’m reading the table correctly.

But, I’ve got 15 goals right now and, while this problem doesn’t apply to all of them, it applies to enough that checking each goal page, and then remembering or remembering to write down somewhere how much I have to do for each that day, is really annoying. Or maybe I just need to get in the habit of making the writing down part of my morning routine on non-work days.


oh for sure, just wanted to make sure i understood the dilemma - having to click through 15 goal pages is certainly not the best of user experiences :smile:

i’m imagining a hypothetical table, maybe accessible via a tab on the goal gallery…
you’d have 1 row for each of your active goals.
the columns would be the next 7 days.
and inside each cell of the table would be the checkmark (if safe for that day) or the amount/total needed in order to be safe.

so you’d be presented with a big list and could scan down, say, tuesday, and see where you need to get more work done in order to not derail on anything before tuesday.

@drtall you’re right that beeminder isn’t currently smart enough to know whether derailing on saturday is “kosher” for a specific goal or not. but if you haven’t done enough to be safe by saturday, then you’re not actually maintaining the goal rate and you should be derailing :wink: (the annoying answer to the weekends-off request which is not wrong but doesn’t please people)

i have no idea if this is easy or hard to implement. but now that i invented it i totally want to see it!


I’ve never tried to use it for the kind of forecasting you’re talking about, but @palfrey built a Beeminder calendar integration. It’s great for seeing which days are overloaded with beemergencies. I’ve been using it happily for well over a year…

If your schedule is known well in advance, then you can schedule breaks so that work days are never emergency days. Someone wrote a script that helps with this, but a quick search didn’t find it.


The calendar integration looks like exactly what I want! Thanks! But I can’t get it to work… I’m getting a downloaded .ics file instead of a url after I link to beeminder. Going to keep messing around to see if I can figure it out…


I love this idea! I would totally use it. I like to keep my goals (mostly) green, which sometimes requires a bit of planning ahead…

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Check out the solution mentioned in my discussion with the creator here as it addresses your problem. It worked for me…


If you are using android there kinda is the table (available as a widget) where you can see when each of your goals derail, sorted by order of earliest derailment - you can then quickly see which goals you don’t have enough days left on.

I kinda had the same problem with my get up early goal (I wanted the weekend of), so I converted into a do less goal of showing up late. This is technically the same as showing up earlier more often, but I now automatically get the weekend and any holidays of (because there is no time where I can be late) - of course I had to adjust the rate for the goal account for the shorter week.

This works more generally, say you have a goal to exercise more often - solve that by having fewer days where your are at home and don’t exercise :smile:. This doesn’t work so well for none-binary goals though you could have a goal to do less sitting behind your desk and more standing up behind it.

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I ended up derailing on my running goal when I tried this method, because of variations in my work schedule. Would be easier if I always had the same work days, but unfortunately that’s not true. Which is why I now obsessively check that “Amount Due” table on my goals and am looking for a more efficient system :smile:

That fixed it, thank you! Now to test it out for a while and see if it will solve my problem!