Beeminder Forum

The Open Journal of an Akratic

Beeminder is awful. Why? Because it has so many amazing tools and people and threads! It’s fantastic! And I hate it. But here I am, literally giving my money to be a part of this.

Too many forum topics to read. Too many Git repos to explore and readme files to read! I’ve spent more time exploring the forum, blog, and links, than I have on schoolwork!

So here I am, confessing, in this booth, my sin of Akrasia. I literally started this topic, and before I even wrote a title or any text, I went through the available topics and found “CommitsTo.” Guess what I did. I went and read the github readme.

It’s a problem. The same exact problem that made me choose to sign up with Beeminder and BaaS and RescueTime in the first place!

So what to do? Expose myself!

I suppose I’ll go ahead and start a new chart to Beemind a do-less for and utilize my email client for actually replying threads for a bit! I should probably do-more time in my IDE and my school’s Instructure subdomain. Grr.

Call this Day 0.


All right. Thoughts after a day.

Rescue time’s “timing” doesn’t seem to always be accurate. Apparently they use some sort of heuristic to guess whether a person is AFK. Which is probably bad for my courses considering there a lot of staying in one place and reading over a lot of info at once. It also has embedded YouTube videos, and I think it’s counting the time I spend watching those videos as actual YT time. That’s going to be a pain if I don’t figure it out.

Trying to achieve two hours did help, though. Probably not enough to make sure I’m getting everything done in a week (12 hours a week definitely isn’t enough for all schoolwork) but it’s a start.

Part of my problem is getting stuck on what to do. I’m going to try to solve this by compiling the full list of things I need to do for school this week into one list, then get it ordered into “should be done by” date instead of their given due-dates. Once they’re organized, I’m going to send that to BaaS.

As this goes on, I’d like to utilize Todoist, since A. Beeminder has an integration, and B. I already paid for a year’s subscription a few months ago.

The next question would be - is Todoist something that could play well with TaskRatchet? With so many available tools, it may prove difficult to choose which to use. Maybe this will be a sort of journey like choosing a window-manager on my Arch install. I’ll just have to try different things until it works the way I need it to.

Speaking of window managers, I’ve been putting off reconfiguring mine. But if I’m not careful, I’m going to end up spending hours on that instead of things that are actually important. Same goes for my website. (I own both and but don’t look, because they’re hideous.)

I was having difficulty updating the website, so I continued testing by changing colors. So… it’s currently red-on-blue. Seriously, don’t look >_>

And now I’m going to make that list I was talking about.

Edit: I just remembered “FocusTime” is a thing on RescueTime. I’ll test that out while I make that list.

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Interesting to hear your thoughts on Rescue Time. I have been thinking about the same problem. Not all YouTube videos are created equal, and neither are all the pages on the internet. Dreeves talks about that in the TagTime article.

A possible solution could be an approach where a program randomly takes screenshots, and you then manually label them at the end of the day. Of course, at that point, you might as well use TagTime itself. Have you considered using TagTime versus Rescue Time?

I still like the screenshot idea because you could use the tag/label pairs to train a classifier algorithm, and eventually, that will do the labeling for you.

That is an easy problem. Just install DWM, and you will never look back. If you don’t want to configure DWM manually, you could use larbs to get a nice setup out of the box. Of course, I am joking. Don’t go down that rabbit hole, or you won’t see the light of the day for the next couple of days. But seriously, I love DWM and larbs is a super-easy way to get started. You might want to check it out.

I feel you, my website is in a similar state.


I’m currently using DWM because I jacked up my XMonad configs. DWM is
okay, and I understand how to configure it, but you gotta get off Luke
Smith’s teat :wink:

He’s definitely a cool guy, and he helped me with a lot of stuff (I set
up my email server using his script), but I honestly don’t like DWM that
much. It works well, but it’s not alone in that category :stuck_out_tongue:

Regarding screenshots, youtube, et cetera. I’ve tried Smitop’s TTW, but
I found that I’m awful at tags. I don’t mind seeing YouTube in my
RescueTime debriefing, but I do need to make sure it’s not counting
YouTube time when it should be counting Instructure time. If that’s a
shortcoming of RescueTime, I may look into another solution, but at this
point, I don’t want to go down another “solution” rabbit hole (which is
why I’m sticking it out with DWM instead of reconfiguring XMonad for the
time being).


I’ve been using RescueTime for a long time and don’t recall having an issue with the heuristics the way you have. In fact, the past I’ve actually derailed because I’ve left a distracting website open and it logged it for several hours during afk.

I also have YouTube set as distracting and only do my learning on other websites (Lynda, Kanopy’s Great Courses, Coursera, Udemy, DataCamp, etc.) but that might not be applicable. And I take notes on the computer while I’m watching things, so I’m never truly afk. I also have it set that the screen shuts off after 10 min. of inactive use.

I also definitely feel your pain regarding the paradox of choice with utilities, particularly when you have the sunk-cost of a year’s subscription to one. “Perfect is the enemy of good” is the approach I’ve been taking the past few months with my own self-accountability experiment.

I take whatever approach is the easiest and most obvious, and then baby-step into a more advanced solution. Eg. I’ve been writing down what I eat manually in a Beeminder log, but plan to transition to log things in more detail with Fitbit to actually look at nutritional and caloric intake.

P.S. BunsenLabs FTW! Who needs bleeding-edge when you have an incredibly outdated secure OS? :smiley:


Haha, nevermind. I didn’t know you are an expert already. Honestly, my setup is pretty basic. I have changed the key mappings a little, and that’s it.

I am glad that it is working well for you!

Have you ever tried using RescueTime on Windows with a Linux VM (or vice versa)? I assume RescueTime uses the active window to gauge what you are doing. In other words, if I am inside the VM, it knows I am using the VM, but not what I am doing in there, correct? Or is it smarter and takes a screenshot and uses image processing to figure out what application I am running?

It is not a hypothetical question. It is the actual setup on my work machine, and while I need the VM occasionally for work-related tasks, I mostly slack off in its context.

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Ah, RT is definitely not that smart. I think it either scrapes window titles, URLs, or process management task names and then categorizes it based off of how it compares to the majority of other user’s scrapes.

I’ve never used it in a VM, but they surprisingly have a help article on how to get that working properly. Which is just installing it on both the host and the VM and then ignoring the VM window in the host.

They also have a help article on inactive screentime measurement, and it seems that if you’re afk for more than 5 minutes, it stop tracking. Of course, there might be something else on your computer keeping it “awake” like I have.


Cool, thanks for finding that. I will definitely give it a try if tagging doesn’t work out for me. Okay, I will stop hijacking bettyance’s thread now :slight_smile:

PS: I enjoy reading your Beeminder journal, brennan. Thanks for writing it.


It doesn’t feel like it’s been more than a week since I last updated this, but considering the contents of that week, it makes sense. So very busy.

I wrote down everything for school that would be due by Saturday and organized them into when I should start doing them (Nothing due on Thursday? Get started on some Friday stuff. Essay due Saturday? Start Wednesday. Et cetera). That worked really well for helping me figure out “what to do.”

But then I got a puppy on Wednesday. And had to clean house and do a bunch of other things. And I got sleep-deprived because puppy has a tiny bladder and isn’t house-trained.

Seven Habits talks about the importance of doing things that are important but not urgent so you don’t end up with as many emergencies. E.g., change the oil in your car (important, not urgent) which will take up some time but will prevent having to replace the entire engine, which will take more money and a lot of time. I’m in emergency mode with a lot of things, and I’m trying to catch up to them and take care of the other maintenance type things so I don’t end up killing the golden goose.