Beeminder Forum

Which goals do you do first?

I’m sure this must have been discussed before, but if so I can’t find it.

I have a goal (not itself tracked) of keeping all my goals at or over 7 days safety buffer – in practice that means usually trying to keep them a bit above that, because I don’t do every goal every day, and to avoid all goals landing on the same day.

Whenever I check my goals, I usually look at a simple list like this (actual data from today):

...
- Floss: 1 repeats due in 4 days (Sun)
...
- Exercise: 1 repeats due in 6 days (Tue)
- First thing: 1 repeats due in 9 days (Fri)
...

I realise I nearly always start with whichever goals that are at or just below 7 days: so based on the numbers above, I’d likely exercise before I flossed my teeth (and before that, obviously, postpone them both by hyper-analysing something on this forum).

It’s clearly because what makes me feel better is maximising the number of goals that are “good”. That seems to matter to me much more than how far behind I am on any given goal: other things being equal I’m happier letting “Floss” (and others not shown above) go right down to the edge of 0 days but getting “Exercise” into the green (7 days +) than I am with starting with flossing my teeth and getting no goals into the green (in fact Floss is on 11/week so one repeat won’t even buy me one extra day – but even if it bought me 2 days to get me to 6 days, I’d still be relatively unmotivated to do it first, because 6 is less than my 7 day target).

Is everybody else the same way?

Is this a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? I think I’m not too bothered about it as long as I’m not derailing and as long as I’m getting somewhere close to the spirit of my goals.

I’ve certainly found that for goals that are hardest to win back lost safety buffer, it has sometimes led me into a quick loss of all my safety buffer followed by a long hard slog to get it back that I’ve regretted, and occasionally into derailing.

This maps pretty closely to my experience, and pretty close to how I use Beeminder.

So it’s the colors that motivate you?

If you could custom-control the colors, would your preferences change?

I was speaking metaphorically: they’re not literally green / red in that list.