I’m a bit surprised that no one here has asked this question so far, given the most recent blogpost about “Beemind [ing] Easy Things”.
To start things off here’s mine. I decide that at least once per day I will tidy something up, after all there’s always something to tidy up. This simply entails that for ~5 minutes I will order, clean or organize something, anything! Desk, virtual desk, wardrobe, whatever! It’s easy as hell and to my surprise turned out to be a nice break from work.
Results so far:
My desk is pristinely clean and tidy (not that it was horribly messy to begin with or anything!)
My Linux distribution folder *cough cough* is super organized now.
Everything in 2 meter radius around me is super tidy. (Except for the wardrobe)
The tidiness radius is expanding by about 0.2 meters per day.
I feel motivation to tidy up the wardrobe, because it’s an evil infestation into my tidiness bubble.
I’ve done beeminding teeth brushing/flossing in the past, and it was definitely effective. I, uh, also beeminded hair brushing at one point, iirc. I… have a hard time with regular habits.
Currently, my ‘easy’ beeminds are taking pills (because otherwise I FORGET the damn things, and also whether I’ve taken them), adding health info to my Clue tracker, and making my daily journaling notes (not, like, feelings and things; just a few words like “Friday: went to gym; met w/K” for memory purposes). I have both of the latter set up to ping every 2 days, because I’m juuuuuust about able to remember yesterday when it comes to entering things in trackers, but I can’t remember 2 days ago.
On the ‘just slightly harder’ level, I beemind leaving the house (I’m currently on a break between graduating and starting a new job, so I could theoretically never leave the house for days, which is bad for me) and doing laundry 2x a week.
I recently had a goal about making time for myself, but it was too rigid (and I derailed) and I replaced it with a number of goals about doing things I enjoy (reading, studying Japanese, music) all set to very easy levels. Whenever I do a nontrivial amount I end up with a large buffer, but when I don’t do any they drift back and remind me to do them.
Also I have a single goal where at any given time I’m focussing on small easy thing (vitamins at the moment) that I really should remember to do every day but don’t. Trying to beemind all of these things is too much beeminding, but my hope is that cycling through them will help me create habits. Set to 5 days a week because some days I’m not going to remember anything.
Huh , that’s a pretty witty way to use Beeminder! I hadn’t thought of that!
The goal’s easiness pretty much guarantees you putting in some work. However, what makes this idea really powerful is that the hardest thing is not actually doing something it’s starting to do something. Once you start studying or working it’s extremely easy to continue, but picking up something that you’ve been procrastinating on is super hard.
You can easily trick yourself into starting to do something by promising yourself that you’re going to do it just for a few minutes to fulfill your Beeminder contract, but then end up doing far more because you got into the flow. (yay!).
You could probably get more out this by cutting the safety buffer after you do more or getting beeminder premium thingy and automatically trimming the safety buffer.
Right now, stepping on the scale each day is my only active beeminder, and oddly enough, it’s a meta-beeminder in that it triggers when I make an entry into my outcome based weight loss beeminder. I say it’s my only active beeminder b/c my actual weight-loss beeminder is capped at $5 and really just a metric. It is, after all, an outcome. But stepping on the scale daily is in and of itself a weight management action and something that I would absolutely have stopped doing if not beeminded.
I actually don’t like planning to trim safety buffer since it removes the feeling that I’m always accomplishing something when I do more. I’ve thought about creating some scheme involving changing slope based on buffer that would create diminishing returns so that it was always valuable to do more but the buffer didn’t grow too big, but I’ve never implemented it beyond a really unsystematic “that looks like a lot, I think I can do more” / “huh, it’s getting low and I don’t really want to do that much, I think this lower slope would be a good idea”.
Another option for what I think you’re getting at is to beemind a binary “did some of X today” with some number of days per week/month. I think that would be good for things where it’s a nuisance to track more precisely, and would work even when one wants more done, since like you say starting often leads to doing more. Why add tracking overhead when you don’t need to.
Also, for these hobbies that I’m beeminding, I’m partly beeminding to reframe “I sometimes do a bunch and then I forget about it for a long time” as “I make slow but continuing progress”. So they aren’t among the things where I toggle the slope up when I get a very large buffer.
mfw i find out other people beemind/have beeminded brushing their hair it’s totally a thing!
anyway, i’ve added two more easy goals recently - food logging and a mustdo.
i’ve started & quit mustdos multiple times before, usually when i start putting Hard Things (e.g. shut down the computer by 9pm) in them. this time i’m going to try to stick to silly little chores that i would ordinarily use for procrastinating (e.g. vacuuming) or things that i’ve Totally Been Meaning To Do but never actually do (e.g. replacing my car license plates ~15mo after i received them…).
I have the exact same issues with trimming safety buffers: it makes me feel bad, like I’m “losing progress” (even though the ACTUAL progress is safely IRL). I have set up buffer trims on some goals where long breaks ARE actually losing progress, like anki or my inbox or leaving the house regularly.
I’ve been considering beeminding my hobbies – I have a lot, and they have been very neglected recently – but I worry that will reframe them as ‘work’ and ‘things I should feel (more) guilty about’, which seems counterproductive for something I theoretically do for enjoyment and recharging. That’s an interesting point about using it to reframe the way you think about ‘neglecting’ them for a time, though!
@mary had a brilliant autodial script for this, setting the slope automatically, not based on safety buffer, but on actual average performance. i.e. as you get better at the doing, the slope encourages more doing.