Tminder power user tips for edge-skaters beeminding TagTime goals

Say you need 7 pings today, or, as your Beeminder graph is telling you, 4.72 hours. In the hours-needed field of Tminder you can start out with this:

4.72 - 45m * 0

Then, every time you get a ping, you increment that 0 at the end. By doing that it will always show you, to the right of the field, the number of hours you need. If you’re ever unsure if you recorded all the pings you can easily check if it matches Beeminder’s number, with no mental math.

For example, after you get your first 2 pings of the 7 you need, it would look like so:


That makes it nice and obvious that you’ve gotten 2 pings, still need 5, and 3.22 hours is what Beeminder should be telling you you still need.

There are other tricks for the second field. Like you can say “done by midnight but setting aside 30m for other beemergencies” like so:

12a - 30m

Of course that’s equivalent to 11:30p but it can be convenient to not have to do the math. You can even say “I need to get so many pings by 5pm tomorrow after getting 8 hours of sleep and with an hour for lunch” like so:

5p - 8h - 1h

Arg, seeing things like this just makes me wish even more that TagTime had the property (which I don’t think it does; correct me if I’m wrong) that you could change the ping interval at any time and it would only change the confidence intervals, not the mean, and that it would record the active ping interval each time it records a ping, and that this would work seamlessly with Beeminder integration . (I’ve been using TagTime (the Android app, only) for time tracking, with a 3h ping interval because more frequent seems so annoying I’d just quit using it, but haven’t made any Beeminder goals based on it, in part because being literally unable to prevent a derail (that hasn’t happened yet) due to randomness seems so unacceptable to me.)

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I don’t have the same strong feelings since I kind of love edge-skating TagTime goals and seeing the probability change and strategizing about it and everything.

And if you don’t like that, there’s Bee’s workaround (I guess I’ve only discussed this in a beemail so far [1]) of having another goal measured in something like tocks that makes the TagTime goal non-constraining.

In any case, this might be a prereq:

See also:

[1] daily beemail: bee & byorgey & beemergency tagtime pings

Bethany has 7 emergency TagTime pings on her goal today, so, first of all, keep an eye on that and claim her $90 bounty in case she doesn’t make it. Currently a 0.03% chance if (which is a ginormous if) she stays 100% focused from now until her 6am deadline. If she stays focused straight through till midnight there’s a 94.5% chance she’ll make it. Also a big if. Maybe 11pm is almost realistic, and gives her time to dispatch her other beemergencies due at midnight. That has an 89% chance. Of course eking back onto the road at the end of the day means the beemergency repeats the next day.

Personally I love work days with ping beemergencies. I get hyperfocused and tend to like that kind of stress. (“OMG a ping could happen at any moment and I better be working!”) But Bee is slightly more normal in this regard and does not like to work that way. Using any other form of time tracking is a nonstarter for all the reasons we talk about in so Bee came up with a way to have the best of both worlds: she just has a tocks goal – – that requires somewhat more time than the TagTime goal. That way she still gets TagTime for tracking but there’s always plenty of safety buffer. She skates the edge of the tocks goal but those beemergencies are much less stressful since you know exactly what you have to do.

Except at some point she forgot and dialed down the tocks goal without changing the TagTime goal, or vice versa, and the safety buffer gradually dwindled until, here we are.

And that reminded me of a brilliant Beeminder goal that Brent Yorgey describes in his amazing guest post about his fifty active Beeminder goals – – which I shall reproduce here:

After several very annoying episodes of forgetting to dial down my goals before a vacation or some other exceptional circumstance I decided the solution was to make yet another goal, to dial my Beeminder roads weekly []. To get a point, I have to look at a calendar and put in breaks or rate changes for any events coming up within two weeks. It’s important for it to be two weeks since it has to account for the akrasia horizon plus the fact that I only do this goal once a week; anything more than two weeks out will still be beyond the akrasia horizon the next time I dial my roads. Since instituting this goal I have had zero episodes of awkward non-goal-dialing. Except for instances where, in my hubris, I deliberately chose not to dial down some goals even though in retrospect I probably should have.

PS: It’s not obvious that would’ve prompted Bee to notice the impending TagTime beemergency since Prof Yorgey’s rule is just about looking at calendared events. But maybe it can be generalized to also review every goal that has less than two weeks of safety buffer.

Either way, @bee and @byorgey are both brilliant and we should all emulate them. Oh hey, should-statement. Ok,

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Oh god yes, a hash-based ping schedule is exactly what I independently came up with. Count this as an extremely strong vote in favor of the “new algorithm”.


Also, I really, really, really hate having multiple goals tracking the same thing, so that answer is a non-starter. (This informs pretty much every aspect of my goal design, so don’t bother trying to convince me otherwise. The situation you say Bethany is in is a good example of the kind of problem I want not just to avoid but to never even think about.)

I used to have the same aversion. Bee finally convinced me to create a weighins goal to complement my weight goal and that made me a convert. It does feel like Beeminder is falling short in some way whenever that’s necessary though.

In any case, maybe I could instead convince you to embrace the excitement of TagTime edgeskating! :slight_smile: