Tuesday, February 3, 2015
By dreeves

A bucket with bees painted on it next to a ruler

In which Danny dispenses advice on beeminding your bucket list.

This first came up in the context of maniac weeks but don’t stop reading if you think those are idiotic! It’s about how to make sure you do something you intend to do but which isn’t amenable to just putting on your calendar or otherwise immediately committing to. Something like running a marathon or taking a trip. Bucket list items, let’s say.

Let’s start with what not to do: Make your bucket list and beemind ticking off one item per month or year. You can technically make that work but Beeminder works best when it can enforce daily incremental progress.

So here’s what you do: Start a Beeminder goal for spending an hour a week on preparation: researching, coordinating with people, scheduling, ordering supplies, clearing your schedule, announcing it, scheduling breaks in your other yellow brick roads, etc. The adventure or whatever it is can also count toward that goal, so whenever you actually embark you’ll immediately shoot way above the yellow brick road. If it was a one-time deal, you can then safely archive it.

It’s a way to meaningfully commit to making something happen eventually without having to commit to a date off the bat, which is so easy to procrastinate indefinitely on. But creating that Beeminder goal should take 30 seconds and involve no work till next week!

At which point Bee wrests the keyboard from Danny’s hands

Yes but the problem with beeminding time spent on travel planning is that you can spend countless hours in vaguely planning-related tasks without ever going on a trip.

“Apparently Hawaii is nice. Though a little lush and tropical for my tastes. Myanmar, I hear that’s a place. Ooh, what about Alaskan cruises… :clicks through 8000 pictures of the Alaskan coast and tundra, discovers YouTube videos of foxes hunting for mice in the snow: OMG but the ice caps are melting!! Maybe some eco tourism is in order… You know what we should do — Peace Corps! Or Doctors Without Borders seems to be doing amazing work. Maybe I should go to med school!”
    — Hypothetical Bee following Danny’s bucketminding advice

Here’s how I do it, borrowing a clever idea from Malcolm Ocean that we’ve been calling fractional beeminding.

Bee's Adventure goal

I’m allowed to enter any fractional amount under 1 that it seems like the work I’ve done counts for, but I can’t enter the final amount (and actually get to “1”) until travel and accommodations are paid for and there’s one thing planned for each day of the trip. Of course this requires picking actual deadlines for the adventures, as well as being halfway reasonable about the fractional estimates. On the plus side, fractional beeminding instead of beeminding time means you don’t end up going to medical school.


Related lifehack for a future blog post: The Anti-Resolution Resolution. UPDATE: I Resolve Not To Resolve; Or, The Anti-Resolution Resolution


Image credit: Factory Direct Craft

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  • http://dsernst.com/ David Ernst

    “Fractional beeminding”— interesting! Have there been any success stories you can share yet?

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    Bee’s adventure planning and Malcolm Ocean’s blogging are the only two examples of this that I know of so far.