Work regularly on a goal

On personal projects, I tend to work in waves. I do a ton of work for a few days, then nothing for weeks. This is not sustainable and my project I’d like to BeeMind needs regular attention more than it needs total accomplishment.

Is there a way to set the goal to “X points per week”? The “Do More” goal is approrpriate for my goals where it’s great if I get ahead and the rest of the goal types look like they work the same (maybe with a * -1 in front for “Do Less”). Any plans to add goals like this?

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If you have premium (I can’t remember whether this is included in Plan Bee or if you need the one over that) you can set a maximum amount of safety buffer you can build up in total. You can still do more work, but you won’t get “credit” for it.

If that isn’t enough to stop you from working on the goal then you need two goals: a do more goal that establish the floor and a do more goal that establish the ceiling of your work. This is expliciently cautioned against by at least one of the founders, but it sounds pretty much perfect for your problem.

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That first one sounds almost right, though I want to see work per period rather than a safety buffer that’s exactly 2x my period (so I could do something on the first day of a period and then not again until the last day of the next) because that would also mean I could skip a period (eg the one following the previous example).

Stopping myself is not a concern, I have plenty of video games to “establish the ceiling of my work”. :disappointed_relieved:

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if it’s more important to you to work 3 days a week (versus 3 hours a week), how about a goal that represents “days worked on the project” with a goal rate of 3? then you’d enter data whenever you worked on it, and we’d force you to check in approximately every other day.

you could still build up safety buffer over time by checking in for days in a row without missing any, but we do have the retroratchet feature to throw that away anytime you feel it’s grown too big!


I was trying to get “once every two weeks”, which is really different from “twice per month” or “0.07 per day”. I don’t see how to do something like that.

To talk a little more about my goal: I’ve released an open source library. If it doesn’t continue to show regular attention it won’t get much adoption, and if I don’t touch it regularly I’ll wander away entirely before too long. I always have plenty of small things I can do, but I was hoping to use BeeMinder to prompt me to stay on that rough schedule.

After reading a bit about retroratchet I sort of get how safety buffer can map to periodicity, but it’s weird. I think it looks like: set a “do more goal” at 1x per month, then retroratchet down to “the number of days left in this period + 14” each time I update to say I’ve done something. Does that sound right?

A second goal is getting regular practice with a second language. That’s much less tolerant of “build up a buffer and ignore it a long time” than the above software maintenance.

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Be careful with the regular Retroratchet feature. It puts the centerline of the Yellow Brick Road at your current position. That means you lose all of your safety buffer. I think you have more control with a paid account, but you’ve been forewarned!


the beemindery way to handle that would be a weekly rate of 0.5!


Yes, all this stuff with retroratchet sounds way too overengineered to me.
What I would do is: set the rate to 0.5 per week. In my fine print, write
something like “Data point of 1 = 15 minutes or more or work on project X”.
You can replace 15 minutes with whatever you want. The point is that you
just enter 1 every time you work on the project. You can just ignore the
numbers and do some work on the project whenever your Beeminder goal
becomes blue, yellow, or red. It will tell you something like “bare
minimum +0.036” or who knows what, but it doesn’t matter. Just put in a 1
and then Beeminder won’t bother you about it for another two weeks.


“Once every two weeks” is still really different from “0.5 times per week” because building up buffer is not appropriate and retroratcheting has to be recalculated based on when in the period the work is logged.

Thank you for trying to help, it’s still nice to know that I didn’t miss something. Maybe toss this on the potential feature backburner. :smile:

This is an interesting problem; maybe we’re missing a feature that would be widely useful.

If you mean “exactly once every two weeks”, then maybe Beeminder isn’t the right tool for tracking that. Though if you constrain yourself to only working on it once in the period, then Beeminder will settle into a pattern of “every other Thursday” (or whichever day it eeps on).

Of course, Beeminder doesn’t think in terms of calendar weeks. So if your intention is to enforce “once every two calendar weeks” then Beeminder is unlikely to ever support that very well. Though you may be able to craft a meta goal that forces you to actually use some other tracking mechanism. I have several such meta goals; e.g. conduct a weekly ‘GTD’ review.

I have many goals that I want to work on “at least once every two weeks”. For these, I’ve set a limit on the amount of safety buffer that can build up. i.e. no matter how much effort I put in, or how often, it’ll be an emergency day 14 days from the last reported datapoint. Being able to automate that logic is the reason that I personally subscribe to one of our premium plans.

This is definitely doable.

You could try using the “take a break” feature and a bi-weekly “Did I do it?” review goal.

What I mean by this is that you could set your road dial to 0 and then set a take-a-break road change for the last day of your two-week period so that the rate that day is 1 (which means setting it for 7/week if that’s the goals units (it’s the default) for just that one day). Then on your review eep day, you enter a datapoint of 1 if you met your goal at all in the last two weeks and a 0, which would cause a derail, if you didn’t. After that, you end your review by setting the next “break” for the end of the next 2-week period. It won’t record the day on which you did the activity or allow you build up a buffer, but it allows you to review bi-weekly if you’re doing what you planned, and it gives you a countdown of how many days left before the next cycle is up.

[Note that to set a requirement of +1 on, say, the 15th, you set a break from the 14th to 15th (for 7 if the goal’s units is weekly, or for 1 if it’s daily).]

Let me know if that wasn’t clear and I’ll try to untangle it a little.

I’d class that as a meta-goal. The doing is tracked by some other means, and the Beeminder goal is to ensure that you pay attention to that other system at least once every two calendar weeks. (The use of take-a-break is optional, but would make it clear that you should only record the binary meta-data on an emergency day.)

In short: I agree, it’s definitely doable. There are loads of ways to reinforce something like this using Beeminder.

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Before diving in too deep I wanted to make sure everyone’s clear on Beeminder’s philosophy on what we call chunky goals: