Beeminder ♥ Pocket

Thursday, June 3, 2021
By dreeves

Beeminder and Pocket logos

There are a lot of Pocket fans in Beeminderland. Me personally included. I find it a powerful anti-procrastination strategy to save an article to Pocket when it threatens to suck me in during the workday.

But that strategy really depends on my having some confidence that saving to Pocket isn’t tantamount to throwing it into a black hole. If you add things to your Pocket queue faster than you read them, then that’s certainly what you’re doing. We’ve written pretty extensively about this kind of backlog problem.

Point being, to feel good about saving something to Pocket and getting on with your work, you need to commit to actually keeping up with your Pocket queue. Which is to say, you need Beeminder.

And our Pocket integration now lets you beemind your Pocket queue automatically. It’s so slick!

The entire instructions are are just, fill out this form to decide how many articles a week (or day or month) to commit to reading:

Screenshot of the interface for picking your Pocket commitment on Beeminder

From then on, no interaction with Beeminder is needed. Just archive articles in Pocket; Beeminder will magically notice and add datapoints to your graph. [1] And of course we’ll bug you and buzz at you when you need to read more to keep the bee happy.

You can adjust how much you’re committed to (how steep the bright red line on your graph is) at any time, but changes take a week to go into effect so you can’t just flatten your commitment because you “got busy today”. You can flatten with a week’s notice, like to schedule a break, or to archive the goal altogether.

I recommend adjusting the slope control-systems-style: make it a bit steeper if you’re still saving articles faster than you’re reading them and make it a bit shallower if you actually find yourself close to emptying your Pocket queue altogether.

Ready to dive in?

Beemind your Pocket!

PS: It’s specifically hitting archive on a Pocket article that automatically sends the +1 to Beeminder. Deleting an article doesn’t give you a point. And if you archive and then unarchive an article, you still get the +1 (don’t do that!), but we do remember which things you archived so you don’t get a second +1 for re-archiving it.


 

Footnotes

[1] A question that we’re relegating to a footnote for now: Is it cheating to archive something without reading it? Our answer is no! Admitting you’re not going to read something counts as dispatching it from your to-read queue. I personally have a hard time with this and typically feel compelled to read something before counting it as dispatched. But I don’t endorse that. I think I feel compelled to read or mostly read something before archiving it because if I just archive it, it’s tempting to be like “I can still go find this on the internet again and read it after all!” Which should be considered filthy, filthy cheating. (Thanks to Lanthala and Shawn Koh for these insights.)

Deciding to archive something is highly valuable for your reading goal because you’re consciously doing the triage. You’re saying “I have to get rid of something; all these somethings I’m not willing to get rid of, so I’ll get rid of this something.” Without doing that you have no hope of reading the other somethings because they’re buried in a sea.

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