|Dec. 2nd, 2013 @ 10:08 pm Beeminder: A year later|
I started using beeminder.com about a year ago. It's been immensely useful. I don't think beeminder is the only thing that could have done that, but I think it came along at just the right point in my life to be incredibly useful. (Thank you DReeve and team!)|
I've used it to track over half a dozen different graphs of my life.
Long term ones include:
* Doing gym (or other equivalent workout). Now averaging three times a week.
* Half-hour units spent actually concentrating on work, not just faffing around trying to get started. This started off noticeably less than "hours in the working day", but admitting that made it a lot easier to slowly increase it to the point where I felt I did a good day's work every day.
* Weight. I explicitly didn't set a goal for this, but it's moved to a level I prefer.
* Long-term items crossed off todo list. This number is fairly meaningless, but simply recording it a lot easier to do things and not feel there's no point as there's an infinite number more.
* Daily perishable todo lists (eg. do washing up). As above.
* Blog three times a week.
What I find incredibly useful:
* Having a graph that shows progress.
* Getting reminder emails if something falls off my radar and I don't do it for a few weeks.
* An external measure that I've done "enough" for the moment, that I don't need to wait until I have time to do ALL OF IT.
What I'd actually like to be able to opt out of:
The premise of beeminder is anti-procrastination, that you can commit in advance to keep some particular goal, and in order to force your future self to stick to it, you pledge an amount of money. This works very well for many people.
However, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it at the beginning, and I found that simply having a goal at all was more than enough pressure. Sometimes I need to resort to panic to make progress, but the more often I can be motivated by hope instead of fear the better I work. Having a giant red klaxon saying "you've failed" seems to demotivate me more than motivate me.
The few occasions I've failed a goal, or nearly failed a goal, it's clearly been because I set up the conditions wrongly in advance. Either it's because I chose bad conditions to begin with, or because something genuinely more important but non-catastrophic came up, or because I mismanaged the grace period when I was on holiday, etc. Not something where I wish I'd had the fortitude to do it anyway! (If it's genuinely a screw-up, even if it's your fault, Beeminder are very good about resetting the failure.) If I'd pledged, I'd have paid, because I think I failed by the terms I initially set and I don't want to encourage myself to quibble. But I didn't fail by the terms I should have set.
So, basically, I want beeminder (with graphs and emails) but without the anti-procrastination checks (and maybe a monthly fee). Beeminder do offer a monthly fee for infinite pledgeless goals, but they sort of say they think it's a bad idea and don't encourage it.
I'm not sure. Should I (a) go with that or (b) look for another website that does something similar? I could just use a spreadsheet now I have the habit of doing it every day anyway. But I'm still scared that changing the routine would break the habit.
The other thing I wish was easier is that that EVERY datum I enter is for today, and the vast majority of them are "1", and most have one of the three most common comments. I wish I had a shortcut for "goal gym, today, 1, swim 20" with one click, not four clicks. I think I should be able to do that with beeminder with the API or the email bot, but I haven't yet had the time to figure out how.
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