Scheduled Breaks!

Thursday, September 12, 2013
By bsoule

A bee on the phone saying 'yeah, dude. i'm totally not gonna make it in next week'

We have once again knocked off what was the highest voted item from our feedback forum: you can now schedule flat spots in your yellow brick road. In fact, you can schedule any change in your road, between arbitrary dates, as long as it starts outside the akrasia horizon. Even more flexible self-control!

There are two things to note about using this feature. (1) If you schedule a break far in advance, you won’t actually see your road change. By default we only show you two weeks into the future. If you want to see your impending break, go to the goal’s advanced settings and adjust the tmax setting to be past the end of your vacation. (2) If you have a break set in the future, and then you use the road dial to change your slope, you will be changing the road only after all scheduled breaks.

“It’s fine to schedule multiple breaks, even if they overlap.”

For example, say I schedule a break in my sugarless days goal for my birthday in October, and then decide next week that my slope is too aggressive and I want to dial back to 4 sugarless days per week. If I only change the road dial, my new rate of 4 won’t take effect until after my birthday. So once you schedule a break you can only change the yellow brick road before then by scheduling additional breaks, or “breaks” (you can schedule harder sections as well). It’s fine to schedule multiple breaks, even if they overlap — the reasonable thing should always happen, like new ones overwriting old ones. (Thanks for putting up with the initial bugs there, and definitely let us know if you find any more.)

Have fun storming the castle!


 

Thanks to everyone who commented in the uservoice thread, especially Glenn Willen who went so far as to draft a spec!

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  • DanielHilgarth

    Is it possible to schedule a break for all goals at once?
    Usage scenario: I will be on vacation for ten days without internet access and I don’t want all my goals to derail.

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    That would be handy! Alas, no. (It’s actually easier said than done because it’s rare to want to have the same break scheduled for *all* roads. On some you’ll have plenty of safety buffer and not want to mess up the nice straight road, and others you’ll want to keep being forced to toe the line even on vacation. Not to mention the difference in what it means to schedule a break for Do More vs Do Less vs weight loss…)

  • DanielHilgarth

    So what’s your suggestion for those goals that I don’t want to pause but still can’t report, because I got no Internet access?

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    We don’t have a good suggestion for that just yet. Our upcoming Generalized Road Dial is going to solve that elegantly: you’ll schedule a pause and then just take the pause back out later when the data’s caught up.

  • DanielHilgarth

    When will that be released? This year?

    Oh, btw: Are you aware, that everything except the blog is down?

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    How about this: If we don’t finish it in December then we’ll publicly beemind it in January till it’s done.

    Downtime: Yes, much gnashing of mandibles at the beehive right now. See http://twitter.com/beemstat for the blow-by-blow… :(

  • DanielHilgarth

    Sounds good :) And thanks for the twitter-link

  • Brian Ogilvie

    What do I do if I schedule a break, then change my mind (still beyond the akrasia horizon)?

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    You can schedule another break (or “break”) on top of the old one and it will overwrite it.

  • Brian Ogilvie

    Thanks! If I set the new break’s weekly rate to the same as my YBR, does that erase the break entirely, or is it still there? The usage scenario I imagine for a weight loss goal with a weekly rate of -1 is:

    1. Schedule a break for the first week of March, when I’ll be on vacation.
    2. Cancel the vacation by scheduling a new break on top of it with a weekly rate of -1.
    3. Decide on Dec. 23 that I’m close enough to goal that I should change my weekly rate by dialing the road to -0.5, to taper.

    In that case, would the change in step 3 take place on Dec. 30, or would it not apply until after the “break”? In the latter case, there would be no way to see the break, since breaks currently appear only as changes in the slope of the YBR (unless I’m missing something). I could imagine a user getting confused if he or she had forgotten about a “cancelled” break. Maybe there should be a list of breaks under the advanced settings tab for each goal, with the option of canceling them there.

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    Well, the real answer to this is: hold tight for the generalized road dial. It’s going to be so great, and make all these questions moot!

    But in the meantime you can set tmax in advanced settings to peek further ahead down the yellow brick road to see what’s happening with upcoming scheduled breaks.

  • Brian Ogilvie

    Thanks again!