Why shouldn’t I use Beeminder to balance both sides of my studying?

Good evening,

This question was asked previously in January by someone else. I’ve read the question, I’ve read the comments and I’ve read the blog post about not bee minding both sides.

Historically I’ve either studied too much or too little. I’m not understanding why/how Beeminder isn’t supportive of a balance.

This is what I’ve read about the topic on Beeminder so far, prior to posting this question. I’m trying to respect everyone’s time by making a thoughtful question.

Thank you for clarifying,



Link 1: Neither above, nor below

Link 2: (Never)Minding Both Sides | Beeminder Blog

Link 3: Do More and Do Less Studying

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Hmm! Personally, I don’t see why not; I effectively do balance both sides myself, with a do-more earnings goal and a do-less working-hours goal, and all my Beeminder goals vs my goal to stop looking at Beeminder by 7pm. I think balance is really important and often neglected, buuut part of why it feels not useful/desirable for someone like @dreev is that that’s not the kind of person he is. I don’t want to speak for him too much, but my personal impression is that he’s generally good at balance, with Beeminder to guard him from akrasia. I think Beeminder generally has the ethos that people’s motivations err on the side of not wanting to do something that they should, not doing too much of something that is generally desirable.

On my part, I’m a bag of nerves disguised as a person, so I’m driven very strongly in two directions: I want to work all the time so that everyone thinks I am The Best At Working, and on the other side I need to have a fair amount of downtime. So I am more the kind of person who needs a balance goal… and I think it is doable using Beeminder (even though the primary reason to use Beeminder is to avoid akrasia).

My feeling would be that we don’t need a specific goal type for this, though, and that doing it via two goals is valuable because you can really see when you derail why you derail, and your motivation (the pledge at stake) can be proportionate to the actual temptation to fail the goal. You can be up to $270 on one goal because you always fail at studying enough, while you’re only at $10 on the other goal because you are actually pretty good at ensuring you stop for the day. Having a single goal that keeps you within a range would (to my mind) collapse that important context and proportionate response to failing.

It also allows for a bit of nuance in what metric you use to track this balance: e.g. I track my earnings, because what is actually important is that I’ve earned enough this month to cover my bills, not that I work a specific number of hours. For the balance side, I beemind staying under a certain number of hours per day, because what is actually important is having a certain amount of rest and recuperation time per day. These two aren’t exactly the same thing: if I need to I can earn more on a given day by giving a bigger proportion of my time to Beeminder and less to my other gigs, for example… while keeping the same number of hours of work in total.

I feel a blog post coming on about the idea of using two Beeminder goals to balance each other… :scream:


I was planning on a half-serious half-joking April 1st post called “Bring back the yellow brick road!”, detailing a scheme to combine the bright red lines of two goals into one yellow brick road. I decided against it once I realized that the idea had been discussed several times before. I still think it would’ve been a fun title for a post though :grinning:.

I feel much the same as you. For a while I had two work-related goals fed by exactly the same data, to make sure I was working enough, but not too much. Your thoughts are very much on point, and there’s definitely enough to say about the subject to fill a blog post with. The post I was mentally drafting would’ve been a big one as well…

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I think my family would say I gravitate to extremes to a truly comic extent, but this is nice to hear!

That does sound more common but I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s built in to the ethos. It’s like we say in blog.beeminder.com/bothsides, you’re probably akratic about either one side or the other so put the stinger on that side and just use the guidance of the graph for the other side. For me I’ll have Beeminder sting me for not working enough; @shanaqui can have Beeminder sting them for working too much. Same principle, same ethos! Both of us can do our best to hew to the bright red line with some reasonable safety margin and have a decent amount of balance.

Oh, dang, yes, this sounds like the really correct answer. (I’ve just quoted you in a comment on the bothsides post!)

:heart:, yeah, the bothsides post turns 8 years old this week!


I did say with Beeminder (not necessarily without it, but I basically think of your Beeminder goals as an externalisation of your brain in some ways, just like Lisa says it’s my “operating system”)! :stuck_out_tongue:

I guess what I was mostly thinking of is that e.g. in terms of work ethic, you do not have my unhealthy allergy to putting work down for 5 minutes (or if you do, you hide it well and give me a good example that I am trying to follow more).

Also with food – your natural inclination might be to extremes, but you corral that beautifully (for you, I’m not saying I’d do that myself) with your systems. So the balance is because you are good at setting up systems that support your weak sides… which to me still makes balance overall!

…Not sure if I’m making sense anymore, time to stop.

Alright, it’s a deal: Nicky blog post about beeminding both sides coming up!