Beemind Arbitrary Tasks Automatically with Complice

Monday, July 11, 2016
By Malcolm Ocean

Complice and Beeminder logos with arrows and symbols and icons oh my

This is part two of our announcement of the official Beeminder + Complice integration. It is also the second guest post by Malcolm Ocean. As you’ll see, this is powerful stuff for serious productivity nerds!

The Beeminder + Complice integration gets better and better. I’m really excited to announce that you can now beemind almost anything automatically via Complice.

Specifically, there’s a system that lets you match tasks that:

  • go towards a specific Complice goal
  • contain certain text (substring or regular expression)
  • are starred

…and then track:

  • completion
  • pomodoros
  • numbers
  • sums of numbers

…with a bonus feature of being able to multiply the number on its way to Beeminder. And of course, as with the rest of the Complice + Beeminder integrations, you can create new Beeminder goals from right within Complice, making it easy to quickly set up a dozen things to track.

Screenshot of the Beeminder modal for creating a Beeminder goal in Complice

This is enormously powerful. If you’re stoked and you want to try it out yourself right now, you can jump straight to it.

If you want to find out about a bunch of use-cases, keep reading.

(Aside: what’s Complice? Where Beeminder is quantified, strict accountability, Complice is qualified, soft accountability. You put in a list of things you intend to do today, then you (in theory) do them and check them off. At the end of the day, you briefly remark on the progress you made towards various long-term goals. Much more detail in my previous post or on complice.co. The feature featured in this post lets you beemind various metrics from these tasks.)

Completion

Complice only sends datapoints to Beeminder when you check these tasks off, not when you edit them in the outcomes submission process. This is true of all of the Arbitrary trackers outlined below. If you have something you want to do last minute before bed and won’t log until the morning, change your Complice day-start-time to a few hours after you get up so you have a chance to log it.

Track your Complice dailies

If you’re using the format where you put “(” in front of your daily tasks, eg “(~) get up without pressing the snooze button” then you can track each completion of a daily task by beeminding using a regular expression that checks to see if the task starts with a “(“:

Screenshot for dailies

Track some specific kind of task

Maybe within a given goal you want to do some reading, any reading, each day. Great, use:

Screenshot for reading

Pomodoros

Just like the old basic pomodoro-beeminding systems, pomodoros are tracked whether the task is completed or not. Because hey, you still did that work.

Track only starred pomodoros

Want to track only pomodoros done towards starred tasks? Easy.

Screenshot for starred pomodoros

Track pomodoros as minutes

Someone on the Beeminder forums wanted to beemind pomodoros towards their writing goal as minutes, to add to a goal that also had other input. That’s also easy! Just multiply the pomodoro count by 25.

Screenshot for writing time

Numbers

You can use this for lots of things! Track workouts or pages read or sales calls made, or the level you got your inbox to. It correctly identifies negative numbers and decimals. (Times — e.g. “8:30” — don’t work, though if there’s an appetite for that I could add it.)

Track the time you spend doing something

Here I’m tracking however many minutes I spend doing meditation each day:

Screenshot for meditating

Track multiple values in the same task

This is another one from my personal trackstack, to track my calories in one goal (do-less) and my protein consumption in another goal (do-more). I use the regular expressions to send each number where it needs to go. If you have a match group in the regex and the match group matches for numbers, then it’ll send that specific number rather than the last number in the task name.

(3) IF: {[__], [__]} 2085kcal, 129g protein

Screenshot of Complice UI with regexes for sending data to Beeminder

Sums

Note that both this one and the numbers one only trigger for completed tasks. Otherwise if you put in “meditate for 10 minutes” and then didn’t check it off, it would send a 10 to Beeminder anyway.

Track seconds of handstand practice

So the numbers thing is great, but what if you want to gradually add to it throughout the day? Since Complice tasks are uneditable (to keep you focused) you have to append text. But if you do 41 seconds of handstand practice, then another 43, then another 37, do you want to have to add those up yourself? Much easier to just put “41 + 43 + 37” and have Complice do the math.

So that’s possible too! And you don’t need the plus sign. You can just put in the numbers, space separated or comma separated or whatever. But you can also do negative numbers, and you can have a space between the “?” and the number, which means you can basically just do addition and subtraction. As with the Numbers mode, decimal values work too.

And since the Beeminder comment gets the full task name, you can see from the comment that this 121 seconds of handstand practice was composed of three pieces, etc.

Screenshot for handstand practice

Screenshot for handstand practice

datapoint: 9 135 "2016-06-09 CompliceArbitrarySum for 3) handstands 30 + 35 + 25 +45"

Track some sort of point increment/decrement

I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve heard of people giving arbitrary actions point values for themselves, and beeminding some number of daily points. So maybe you get +5 points for every 10 minutes before your alarm you get out of bed, and -5 points for each time you hit the snooze button, and a point for each serving of vegetables, and -10 points for each cigarette you smoke.

You can then make a Complice task called “&) track points:” and then by the end of the day it might look like:

&) track points: +15 got up early, -10 smoke, +3 veg, +1 stairs, +2 veg

and this will send an “11” datapoint to Beeminder when you tick off the task.

Try it out

Ready for the ultimate experience of hard + soft accountability? Go get started!

And to top it all off, anyone who sets up three or more arbitrary-task Beeminder goals before July 21 will get 25% off Complice for life! Yay incentives!

UPDATE: We pointed folks to this in the monthly beemail and said “48-ish hours” so we’re scooching the end date a little to make sure that’s true.

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