Trying to Beemind studying and getting up on time using Tasker. Feedback would be appreciated!

Hi! I’ve been using Beeminder for quite a while now but haven’t really gotten into using the forums much. I have found a lot of great information here lately, so I’d like to get more involved in the community!

I’ve found that data points which are automatically added (such as step counts from my Fitbit) are the only ones that are effective for me. Ever since connecting my Fitbit to Beeminder, I’ve consistently met my step goal, only derailing twice in over a year, if I remember correctly. I’m a student on a limited budget, so the threat of losing money is extremely motivating to me. I’ll be honest though, if datapoints are left up to me to enter, I’ll put in whatever makes me not derail. This is why I’m only interested in setting up new goals where data is automatically added.

I have two terms left before graduation, and they’re both pretty intense. I know that in order to maintain both my grades and my sanity I need to study consistently, and I’m fortunate enough to have the time available to dedicate to school full-time. I just have to stick to studying when I’m supposed to.

I also need to wake up on time consistently, which is something I’ve never been able to do. I’ve read a lot of great suggestions here for using Beeminder for waking up on time, but none I couldn’t cheat my way out of. I wish I had more self-control, and hopefully I will someday (I’m reading the bookclub books!), but right now I know that my sleepy brain cheats whatever system I set up and goes back to bed.

So my plan is to use Tasker to auto-log the time that I’m in the buildings where my courses are or the library. I’ve set up a 40-hour per week Do More goal to track those hours.

For waking up, I set up a Do More goal and put an NFC tag in another room. The tag will log a 1 if I activate it between 5 and 8am, a window which I’ll ideally narrow over time to 5 and 6am. Outside of that window, it won’t log anything. After I try it out for a few more days to make sure there are no unexpected issues, I’ll set the max safe days so that I can’t have “cheat days” which throw off my schedule. (I also have a Do Less goal set up to log the time I spend on my phone when I should be asleep to limit the late nights which contribute to sleeping in).

So to get it to work, I have an alarm on my watch, and to get the Beeminder “point,” I have to wake up with my alarm, go to the other room, and tap the tag. The time window makes sure that I don’t just stay up past midnight and log the “wake-up time” then, or log it when I finally get out of bed at noon. :stuck_out_tongue:

My next concern, knowing my tendency to cheat, is how to penalize myself for turning off the Tasker profiles, ha. Ideally, I’d love to fully automate this, since that’s cheap and consistent, and I’ve thought about creating a Tasker profile which logs a data point anytime I disable the other necessary profiles and setting that to Weaselproof, but I don’t want to get charged for any technical glitches my doctor obviously can’t write a note for, haha. My alternative plan is some kind of accountability buddy who would be notified instead and require a legitimate explanation/proof. If they don’t consider the explanation good enough, they could send an email/text with a specific code which triggers an immediate Beeminder charge through IFTTT.

If you got through that whole thing, thanks for reading! I’d love to know what you think and if you can spot any potential loopholes.

  1. I love that you are able to use Beeminder to help you get your goals accomplished, and that you’ve figured out the guardrails needed to keep yourself on track.

  2. I wonder if there is a way to lock yourself out of the Tasker application without stopping Tasker from working. Have you tried asking the Tasker folks? (Not saying don’t ask here–I hope we can help, but I don’t think there are a lot of people who use Tasker here.)

  3. I use IFTTT to check me in when I get to places based on GPS. It works well, bbut there have been enough people talking about Tasker recently that I wonder something. If it isn’t too much hassle, could you write an explanation of how you set up your NFC wake up stuff in a way that other people who have a hard time with Tasker (i.e. me :)) can follow? :slight_smile:

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To prevent yourself from turning off the Tasker profile you can use an app like AppBlock.

You can choose which apps to block. To weaselproof you can set the app into strict mode. In strict mode you have to provide a pin number, which a friend can set up. Every time that you attempt to open the app it will automatically close and show a block screen.

I personally use this to prevent myself from accessing the Google Play Store and a whole host of other apps.

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  1. Thanks! Beeminder’s really changed my life, I love it :slight_smile:

  2. Thankfully cgamer1 just suggested one I’ve never heard of! This solution is brilliant, thanks!

  3. I’ve used IFTTT for years, but have had numerous reliability issues with it. Tasker has a steep learning curve, but the reliability and flexibility make it well worth the time to learn. The possibilities are incredible! I’m in the middle of moving so it might be a day or two, but I’d be happy to put together a tutorial of the NFC stuff! The tags are super cheap and soooo versatile.

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Thanks so much for letting me know about this app!!! This looks absolutely perfect. I hadn’t even heard of this one before. I love the idea of blocking Tasker instead of other apps directly. There are a surprising number of legitimate reasons to need access to “time wasters” while I should be studying, such as reading tutorials on reddit or checking in with a school organization that communicates via their Facebook group. The adjustable time restrictions for AppBlock are fantastic too!! It’ll be great to ensure that I don’t adjust anything on Tasker while I should be studying or waking up on time, but that in the evenings after school I can still get in to fix any issues without bothering anyone else. Thanks again!!!

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Android P’s built in app timer is not weaselproof at all, by the way.

Ohh, just saw the tip about how to reply to multiple people in one post. Sorry about that!

I actually ended up with some free time at my new place where there’s nothing to do yet, so here’s that walkthrough :slight_smile:

Things needed:
Android phone with NFC capabilities
NFC tags Here’s the link to the kind I got.
Email Send Tasker Plugin
I think I paid a small amount for Tasker and the plugins, but they’re inexpensive and, I believe, completely worth it.


  1. On Tasker, create a new Task and name it something clear and memorable, like Beeminder–Log Awake Time :stuck_out_tongue: .

  2. Add an If statement (click the add button, type in “if” without a space, scroll down until you see an option that’s only “If”).

    %TIME is the variable that will match to the current time. So this statement is “If the time is past 5:00AM, but is before 8:05AM, then email Beeminder.” Use a 24-hour clock and be sure to use the format HH**.SS. HH:**SS will not work!

  3. Add EmailSender action. It will automatically put itself nested under the If statement. The bar beside it will be red if you’re currently outside the time range and green if you’re currently within it.

  4. Configure email information.

    This is probably the hardest step. Hopefully this goes without saying, but if it seems like it’s not working, do not leave nasty comments on the plugin!! It does work. Setup just takes a bit of work the first time.

  5. For Gmail, using this plugin requires going into your account settings and allowing less-secure app access. If you don’t do this step, the plugin will not work. I don’t like lowering my security settings, so I setup a throwaway Gmail account with the ability to send mail from my main address (this is a Gmail setting). So in this image, I have the following information filled in:
    data I want sent to Beeminder

    You can also replace the line with your own email address and test everything out before you start sending data to your goal! Just remember to switch it later :slight_smile:

  6. Open NFC Tools PRO and select TASKS then “Add a task” then “Various” then "Tasker

  7. Conveniently find your exact Tasker name using the nifty search option!

  8. Click OK.

  9. Click Write (the size may be different, that’s okay!)

  10. This screen will appear.

    Tap the NFC tag you want to write to, and a green checkmark should pop up! If so, you’re done – Congratulations! :slight_smile:

There are a few things that need one-time setup so that the apps communicate. If you have trouble with any of the steps and can’t find the solution online, let me know and I’ll do my best to figure out what’s going on. The first time can be tricky, but once everything’s working smoothly you can set all of this up for other tasks in a minute or two. Overall, it’s a pretty simple process! Enjoy!