More Schwag, Less Beeminding

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
By dreeves

Damoclean goal tracking

This post is a random assortment of items and announcements. Normally we use the beemails for that, but (a) it’s an emergency blog post day and (b) we wanted to let you blog readers know that we’re actually sending regular beemails, so if you want more of this kind of thing, bump up your beemail frequency (it’s in your account settings)!

  1. Huge progress on the Android app lately. You can sign in with Facebook and Twitter, and the widgets are improved a lot. For example, widgets for Do Less goals now tell you, right on your Android desktop, how much more you can do today. Same goes for Do Less goals in your gallery, even if you don’t use the widgets. We (by which I mean Uluc) are working on proper push notifications, but we think we have a reasonable stopgap if you set it to check for graph updates every 15 minutes. There seems to be no perceptible battery impact from that, but please let us know if you see otherwise.

  2. We caved slightly on the New World Order, aka universal precommit-to-recommit. You can opt out of that in goal settings. See the update to our New World Order post. We’re pretty sure that almost no one wants to opt out but we got a particularly persuasive complaint and decided there was little harm in having it be a setting.

  3. We got covered in SHAPE magazine this month! On page 130, we’re one of their three suggested apps for “turning your smartphone into your cruel, heartless taskmaster”. Actually it was for “making your smartphone smarter”.

  4. Beeminder cofounders Daniel Reeves and Bethany Soule will be at the global Quantified Self conference (sold out!) next week. Hopefully we will see some of you there? We’ll be giving out tshirts and stickers, and Bethany will be presenting. We’re also thinking about selling tshirts afterwards, so let us know if you’d potentially buy one.

  5. There are some excellent discussions going on on Akratics Anonymous right now. One is about the fact that we’ve been been adding and changing functionality (precommit-to-recommit and concomitant changes to make that sufficiently friendly, retroratchet and max safe days, scheduled breaks) so fast that it’s causing both confusion and outright brokenness. We agree. We’ll keep plugging along at one UVI per day but we intend to focus them on fixes and streamlining and de-confusing for a bit. We’ll get back to piling on the awesomeness soon enough. (Thanks so much for all the feedback on that; it’s been amazing!) Another Akratics Anonymous discussion is about the overwhelmingness of trying to beemind lots of goals and how Beeminder’s interface can ameliorate that.

On the last point, my advice is actually to beemind less. Not necessarily fewer things, but beemind everything less so. When you’re first starting I recommend that you pick one thing (or a handful at most) that you’re blatantly, egregiously akratic about and focus on it. That may also be good advice for veterans who are feeling overwhelmed. Dial down all but a handful of goals so they’re no-brainers, put them below the fold in your gallery, or even archive them.

Not everyone views it this way but to me Beeminder is the nuclear option. Try every other lifehack in the book to get yourself to do what you want to do. Establish habits, set up environmental triggers, success spirals, social support, you name it. Beemind everything as well, but whenever possible find ways to keep that sword of Damocles securely tethered to the ceiling. Think of Beeminder as your insurance policy against falling below a minimum awesomeness threshold.

More and more people are excited to beemind every aspect of their lives (like this person or this person or this person or this person) and we’re obviously beside ourselves about that. But one of the above people is the one who brought up the topic of feeling overwhelmed by beeminding so much.

In my experience, you can beemind myriad things at once without it feeling overwhelming as long as you have other ways besides Beeminder’s looming sting to keep you on the good side of your yellow brick roads. Beeminder will feel overwhelming when your expectations for yourself are out of whack with reality. That’s your cue to scale back.

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  • April

    One of the things I love about Beeminder is that it lines my
    expectations up with reality. First of all, I have to be very precise
    about what exactly I am willing to commit to when I set up a beeminder
    goal. Second, having a beeminder goal helps me see very quickly which
    things I really just needed a little nudge to do and which things I am
    not actually willing to do. Letting go of unrealistic expectations frees
    me up so much! I love it.

  • Daniel Reeves

    Love this comment! It’s making me think that the second half of this post — about how to keep Beeminder from getting overwhelming — deserves to be a separate post.

    April, any chance you’d be interested in guest-blogging about this?