I’ve been using Beeminder for just over a month now and was trying to figure out why I like it so much. Here are my semi-rambling yet still bullet-pointed thoughts after 30+ days of beeminding:
- I pay a lot more attention to how I’m spending my time, and finding that I have more free time than I realized.
- I pay more attention to the value that things I spend my time on are adding or subtracting from my life
- I’m giving myself permission to spend time on things that add value to my own life but do not directly add value to the lives of the people around me (this is a huge and exciting thing for me!)
- The above indirectly adds value to the lives of people around me because I’m generally in a better mood (I’m a nurse, do you have any idea how often I preach self-care to my patients’ caregivers? Yeah, maybe I should listen to my own elevator speeches).
- Feeling like I accomplished things every day is a huge mood and energy booster, even if it was just a simple task that I set for myself the night before. Today I was supposed to cook dinner, and I did! (I also practiced French and Spanish, went for a run, and made lots of progress in my current read-for-fun book. Most of those things would not have happened without Beeminder).
- Seeing daily accomplishments accumulate on my graphs satisfies me in the nerdiest way possible
- I have 8 goals now, and want more. Pacing myself in adding goals because I don’t want to overwhelm myself is a challenge.
Now for non-bulleted rambling: One thing that I wish was available (and maybe I just haven’t found it?) is a compiled list of ways to automatically track common goals. For example, I started a goal to read one book for fun each month. I had it as an autodata goal to add a point when I moved a trello card from my “want to read” list to my “finished” list. Then I realized that I mark things as read on goodreads when I finish a book on my kindle anyway, so that would be a more natural way for me to record data. With some forum searching I discovered how to set up an IFTTT recipe to check my goodreads “read” RSS feed and now have that for my goal, which I like a lot better.
If there had been a place I could go easily see other people’s solutions to “auto tracking books read” I would have discovered the goodreads RSS feed + IFTTT option sooner and saved myself some time in figuring it out. The forum is great, especially for a self-described research nerd like me, but the time needed to hunt for answers would likely be a barrier for a lot of people.
Basically, I feel like I have a limited understanding of how powerful all the tools out there are. When I set up a goal, unless I can use something that is already integrated like Duolingo or Runkeeper, it takes a lot of time for me to figure out how to use tools like IFTTT and RSS feeds because I am not used to thinking in that way, and am unfamiliar with how these things work. Plus, having a list of ways to automatically track different goals would likely result in me adding more goals because I love autodata collection!
The only other big thing on my beeminder wishlist is the ability to add more than one user to a goal, and the founders have mentioned that’s on their list too. Overall, I love it, and not just for the pretty graphs.