Orange Is The New Red

Thursday, August 18, 2022
By dreeves

A cartoon bee in an orange and red striped dress

Once upon a time, I had a prescheduled one-day break on all my Beeminder goals. I’d had something on my calendar that day and, thanks to my calendialing meta goal, I’d planned ahead to be free of beemergencies. Or much fewer beemergencies than normal at least. But then it turned out that whatever that calendar event was got canceled. So all my Beeminder graphs that would normally be red were orange. I wondered: could I pretend they’re all still red, dispatch them like usual, turning them all blue, and continue that way indefinitely?

Answer: no, I’m way too much of an edge skater for that. But it can be nice while it lasts and it works very well for some people so we recommend trying it. PSA! Schedule a one-day break on all your goals for a week from now and put it on your calendar as orange-is-the-new-red day. From that day forward, as long as you can maintain the illusion that orange is red, nothing will have changed in how much you’re actually doing/did but you’ll have successfully put a day of emergency buffer in your back pocket.

Of course the exact same thing works for any other color shift. You could even get a week of safety buffer and be entirely immune to the akrasia horizon.

When I first started recommending this I felt nervous that its logical conclusion is not needing Beeminder at all. But even people who use the trick much more successfully than me assure me that that’s not at all the case. Unless you truly do have no need at all for Beeminder, you’ll eventually eat into your safety buffer and even derail and that’s fine. “Orange is the new red” is a nice Schelling fence but you still want more of a wall in case you crash through it.

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