When is sick non-legit?

Hi folks!

I started having a discussion with the rest of the Beeminder folks about when is sick non-legit for me, and the conversation threatened to get interesting enough we thought we should be more public about it :slight_smile:

I am personally blessed with pretty decent health and no chronic illnesses. Since I’ve got 2 little kiddos in the household, I get sick quite a bit more often, but we’re talking maybe two or three times a year where I’m out for more than maybe 2 days, and those usually wrap up within five days or so–with a smattering of “off days” beside that.

I have a few goals I do every day, but they represent maybe five minutes of effort, and I’ve been able to get through those through all my various illnesses in the past few years–but if you add up all my non-legits, data entry errors are #1, and being sick is #2.

I have plenty of times where if I’m sick, I’m not going to make progress on most of my goals–but I also am starting to feel that for some of my goals where I have to do one thing every 45 days, with my current level of health, really, I should be able to get them done whether I’m sick or not. If I’m sick on the eep day, well, maybe I should have finished it up with more buffer.

Currently, I call non-legit when I’m sick basically 100%, with no qualms at all.

Please don’t take anything I’m saying as a suggestion for you. be safe and kind to yourself.


Here are my thoughts on this issue, posted on a related thread:

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On one of my goals I included that my wife can call a derail not legit in the fine print for situations like this. That way I don’t have to make the call, but I can ask my wife to. I haven’t had to invoke it yet, so not sure how practical it really is.

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@adamwolf You pretty much describe what I have been doing so far. I also thought about this a lot. Here’s what I have arrived at:

  • Would your doctor give you a sick note? Recovery is important. Don’t drag yourself through your goals if they conflict with this. If your doctor (would have) ordered rest then do so.
  • What’s the spirit of your goal? Did you create it with the intent of simply not procrastinating the specific thing it’s about? Being sick is hardly procrastinating in my book. Also: I need a second opinion on legitness.
  • If it’s a tiny thing to do (like a 7 min workout or tidying up the kitchen right quick) I’ll do it regardless though maybe a bit more lenient (in case of the workout).
  • Lastly (and I am conflicted about this one): If it’s about tracking hours I put into something I ask myself how much quality work would I get done if I forced myself to do it. Or if I’d be better off getting some rest instead. Again, this one is not so easy. Sometimes there’s some easy thing to do that indirectly benefits the goal and can still be done despite being sick.

Maybe this is of some help :slight_smile: Also kudos for surfacing this question! I find it super insightful to talk about these things.


That’s what I’m doing and how I still feel about this. No need to find a better heuristic, than answering the question “Am I sick?”, imho. If people have a hard time deciding if there are sick enough: You are sick enough. You’re welcome. :wink: If you want to do something anyways: Don’t. It’s counterintuitive to act like this for most people like us, for sure. But I do believe in the benefits of holding back in this way. “Festina lente” and all that…

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I’m confused. Does “100% willy-nilly” mean you say that the derailment was non-legit (that is, you don’t have to pay) whenever you’re sick, as a bright-line rule? Or does it mean you call it however you feel like at the time? @matti seems to have interpreted it in the first way, but I thought you meant the second choice.

Oh maybe I read that wrong.

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I have, so far, called non-legit on any emergency within even a few days of being sick.

I will go make the willy-nillly phrasing more clear.


Yeah but:

It just seems awfully convenient to get sick on the eep day when you’ve had 45 days to do something! It seems liks paying is appropriate there - paying for procrastinating on the 44 previous days. (Thinking of me and my own procrastination here, not trying to cast doubt on anyone else’s sickness!)


This just came up for me… I called non-legit on a couple of every-other-day goals that had to be done during a specified time period. I ended up being exhausted and sleeping through that time period, which I think served the purpose of the goals (better physical and mental health) better than forcing myself up to do them. So thinking about it, I decided that my ideal would be sleeping during that time, so it shouldn’t be penalized.