Suggestion: different notification as deadline approaches

I think this is where I’m supposed to put this?

Problem: As it stands, I get the same sort of Android app notification three minutes from a deadline as I do seven hours before it. I have five goals running right now, and I don’t really get a sense of urgency from seeing them, and sometimes I just straight up miss deadlines because I staggered my goals so as not to be doing dishes + reading + answering email all at the same time and that means I get a constant flow of notifications coming in throughout the day.

Solution: It would be nice if Beeminder could let me know somehow that I’m in “super-eep!” at some user-defined time before a deadline. That way if I know a goal is going to take me 30 minutes every day I can set “super-eep!” notifications to 45 minutes before.

Implementation: I’m not going to worry about technical feasibility and just list possible ways this could be achieved:

  • different app notification colour/shape in tray
  • different LED notification colour
  • different (much longer) vibration pattern
    — hard mode: somehow bypass my system ringtone setting and make an alarming sound even if I’m on silent/vibrate
  • start sending me emails later than app notifications, so I can IFTTT emails from -> set ringtone volume and then all future notifications will draw my attention to my phone
  • change my lock screen background to a red screen, so I know something’s up

Yeah, I could just set alarms, but I’d have to fiddle with them every time I change my goals/deadlines and you could say that about standard reminders anyway.


The chief problem seems to be one of ‘hitting snooze’ instead of doing the thing. Any ignorable alert will be ignored and is rendered pointless. Worse, we start ignoring the alerts that shouldn’t be ignored.

Crying wolf, even when it’s an accurate forecast that a wolf is slowly making its way into the valley today, means that our productive villagers stop taking notice.

I seem to remember reading that when factories introduced safety alarms, workers started pushing the machines harder than the did back when they had to gauge the tolerance by ear. Because alarms are always set conservatively, they’re always safe to ignore. Until they aren’t.

This is actually a vote in favour; let’s clearly segregate the useful FYI notifications of today-is-an-eep-day from the fire-lighting do-it-now alerts.

For myself, I do this by configuring the first notification to be fairly close to the actual deadline. I look at the website or app often enough that I know what’s eeping today. And I use the calendar integration to make future eep days differently visible.

Admittedly, I don’t always react to the notifications, so this is a good reminder for me to change how my notifications are set up. Too many come in at the same time, and many of them are set too early in the day. So I ignore them, which isn’t good for anybody.