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Bee at a big boss desk

We’re so excited to announce Beeminder’s Even More Official partnership with Boss as a Service, of which we are big fans! Some of us on the Beeminder team use it every day, in fact. In the past, Beeminder actually attempted to provide this service itself. We called it The Beekeeper Program and it almost killed us. It’s hard to do this right, but BaaS has. And as Manasvini is about to explain, Beeminder plus Boss as a Service now provides the best of all worlds!

Hi, I’m Manasvini from Boss as a Service!

Boss as a Service is a human accountability service. What’s that? Well, we help you stay on track to your goals, by giving you a “Boss.” A living, breathing human being, who will check in on you, and hold you accountable to achieving your goals.

If you’ve ever noticed that it’s easier to get stuff done at work than it is to hit your personal goals, you probably know the magic of human accountability.

Personally, I felt this keenly when I quit my job and struck out on my own a few years ago.

I rapidly found myself tumbling into productivity hell, where absolutely nothing got done. I made some vague plans, but the few deadlines I set whizzed past me, with nobody to enforce them.

As I scrambled to piece back some discipline into my life, I found myself thinking back almost wistfully to when I had a full-time job.

When I worked for someone else, I never missed a single client deadline. Because other people’s work depends on your coming through, and you wouldn’t let them down.

But it turns out that it’s very easy to let yourself down all the time. And having a Boss — someone to ask you why you haven’t done what you’re supposed to do — is actually a bit of a productivity hack.

Boss as a Service aims to provide that system of accountability to those who don’t have it. Maybe you don’t have it at work, or maybe you work for yourself. Or perhaps you have it at work, and want it to make sure you hit your personal goals. Either way, if you’re akratic like me, a Boss is a great secret weapon to have!

How Boss as a Service works

BaaS is super simple to get started with.

  1. Send your Boss your todos. You commit directly to your Boss and tell them what you’re working on, and what your deadlines are. Choose whichever medium you’re most active on — we support email, Whatsapp, and Telegram right now — and we get started right away. We have no interface, no todo app or forms, just committing to a real person via direct chat. (We really find that committing to a person is more powerful than writing down a task in an app.)

  2. Send us proof that you did it! When you complete your tasks (woohoo, go you!) we ask for proof. Most of the times, a screenshot or photo works great. For example, if you went running, you could give us a screenshot of Strava or Runkeeper.

  3. Or we’ll keep bugging you. If you don’t finish your tasks, we do exactly what a real boss would do. We ask questions. What happened? Why didn’t you finish it? How can we ensure you’ll get it done tomorrow? And we’ll follow up (read: keep bugging you!) till it’s resolved.

  4. Till you get everything done! You consistently hit your goals and ascend to the higher planes of productive awesomeness.

How Beeminder and BaaS work together

If you’re already using Beeminder, BaaS can complement it nicely, and combining the two can be very powerful. BaaS adds an extra layer of accountability between you and your Beeminder goal.

Your Boss will keep track of your goal. And if you don’t get your task done — well, we’ll rat you out to Beeminder. (Sorry but not sorry.) And Beeminder will then derail you.

When you know someone’s watching you, there’s a lot less temptation to weasel out. Not to mention, you have to prove that you completed the task to BaaS — so essentially you’re weasel-proofing the goal.

Plus when someone’s waiting for updates, cheering you on and holding you accountable, you’re that much more motivated to get stuff done!

How do I get started with Beeminder + BaaS?

Step 1: Create a Beeminder goal

Figure out what type of Beeminder goal will suit your task best. As you probably know, Beeminder has two main types of goals — Do More and Do Less.

Setting up a BaaS Do More Goal

A “Do More” goal is something you want to do more of — like working out. So every time you work out, and send us proof that you’ve worked out, BaaS will send a datapoint to Beeminder. [UPDATE: BaaS user Evan Wolfenden has an example of how a Do More goal with BaaS might look like.]

One caveat — we’ll need to make sure you send your updates in good time. If you send us your update close to derailment time, your Boss may not have time enough to verify your proof and send a datapoint to Beeminder before it ends up derailing.

Setting up a BaaS Do Less Goal

A “Do Less” goal, on the other hand, is one that you want to do less of. For example, “eating less than 1 sugary treat a day.”

You can make a catch-all Do Less goal by framing it as “Not missing a commitment submitted to my Boss”. Then you can just start sending BaaS your daily tasks — and any time you do miss completing a task / proving it, BaaS will send Beeminder a datapoint.

You avoid the risk of accidental derailing with Do Less goals, since BaaS will only send a datapoint when you fail. Make sure that your Pessimistic Presumption option is switched off!

Here’s some great fine print for inspiration, on a Do Less goal, thanks to Aian!

And if you’d like to brainstorm, your Boss can help out any time!

Once you figure out what type of goal is best for you, just create your Beeminder goal.

Step 2: Tell your Boss.

Let your Boss know the goal URL. That’s all you need to do! We send datapoints using Beeminder’s email bot with special dispensation from Beeminder and don’t need your account credentials or passwords. (And feel free to use Beeminder as usual for your other goals — it won’t affect your BaaS goals in any way!)

Step 3: Get working on those goals!

Now it’s time to start working and hitting those goals! We’re in this together and we can get this done!

To wrap up, here are some quick tips and ideas to get the maximum from BaaS.

  • Beemind your daily BaaS check-ins! This works really well to make sure that you’re planning the day out every morning, and committing the plan to your Boss.

  • It’s great to schedule a weekly / even daily retrospective with your Boss! Do some strategic thinking, what went right, what went wrong this week, and how to fix it next time round. We nudge you to introspect about these questions regularly as well.

  • Be active! Send us daily / weekly goals! We see people who’re interacting more, end up getting more done. Shorter feedback loops and a quick retrospective every day means you find your sweet spot and hit your stride quickly!

If you’d like to join BaaS, here’s the magic link:

Boss as a Service -- Get Stuff Done


Image credit: Faire Soule-Reeves