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Beeminder Experiment

Beeminder April

So in the month of April I experimented with Beeminder to keep up with my writing schedule. The goal was to write 3 posts per week (for this blog, and for I have to admit when I first read about the idea I was quite skeptical. Why on Earth would I give these people my credit card number for a pledge to keep track of a habit? Then two things happened; first, I read about how the author of Motivation Hacker Nick Winter pledged 7,000 USD to write the book, and how it worked for him. At the end of the time period, the book was written and no money was taken. Then, I listened to a podcast by College Info Geek where he interviewed the founders and they explained that the idea behind beeminder is that it provided short-term pain for slipping on a long-term goal by taking away the money that you pledged (basically, varying the Delay parameter on your Procrastination equation as discussed in the last post). Also since at first, you can add your goal without adding your credit card information, I thought to myself, why not? Give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, just archive the goal. Apparently, deleting the account is quite a hitch, which could be the catch.

Anyhow, so far, I’ve stayed on the fancy yellow brick line for the whole month of April, and the only reason I’m posting this today is because of the reminder email I received and the red countdown at the top that sent me to a writing frenzy. That shows that so far it has worked for me, and I think it’s a good idea at the beginning of building up a habit to gain momentum.

However, I think now it’s time for me to archive the goal.

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Published inPersonal DevelopmentProcrastination
  • Wow, thanks so much for the awesome testimonial! I’m surprised you’re still inclined to archive the goal though. What about just setting it to a really conservative slope so Beeminder will only hassle you if you really fall far behind your intentions for blogging?

    • Hi Daniel. Thanks for the comment. I’m actually archiving it because my May schedule is about to get disrupted due to traveling, but I’ll probably restart it again after my routine returns to normal. Thanks for reading!

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  • Hanan AlDarmaki

    So I guess this adds an extrinsic motivation to a goal that doesn’t have one. Hmm. I think it’s a brilliant idea if you really can’t muster the motivation without external rewards/punishments. But isn’t there something that gets lost in this? I’m sure this works, but I have a feeling that some sort of inner quality would be lost if one’s motivation always relies on monetary values. I realize there might be an unrealistic idealism in that thought, but I’m just wondering if this hack might have an additional hidden cost, a sychological one? But I guess if it works, maybe it’s worth it?

    I just noticed this article has been written about a year ago. Are you still using this tool? Is it still working for you? I don’t think I’ll use it (I like to think I have immense inner power just waiting to be unleashed–you can roll your eyes here–), but I’m curious 🙂

    • Hi Hanan. Thanks for commenting and your point is valid. I used it recently for writing my thesis and didn’t go through as much stress as my colleagues as I started the beeminder 4 months before the deadline. It was motivating also when I would see the page count increase cz when you manually input you actually get to write comments & stuff. So I manipulated my own psychology too. As I said I tend to experiment on myself and see what works then stick with it, but towards the end the money was not the main focus – but the progress I was making and inputting on the dashboard. So for a later project I might have just input the progress on Excel and Khalas but I really appreciated the tool. When I first used beeminder, I didn’t have to put in my credit card but now I think they’ve changed. Let me know if you try it. The pledge caps are like 10 usd or 30 usd only.

      • You can still use Beeminder without putting in a credit card! We’re just a bit more pushy about it now. Like we sometimes (we’re experimenting with this) insist you enter one (not pay anything, just enter it) before creating a 2nd goal. And of course if you ever go off track on your goal then you have to enter it (again, not pay anything, but risk paying next time) if you want to keep going.

        But for at least one goal on which you never go off track, you don’t have to ever enter a credit card.

        We might change that, but that’s how it works for now! (And we’re always super generous about grandfathering.)

        PS: Thanks so much for the amazing Beeminder testimonials, in the original post and your comments here!

        • Thanks for commenting! Thank you for developing beeminder as it helped me finish my 180 page thesis with no pressure. So I always tell anyone who’s abt to graduate. Just set a goal 4 months in advance and you’ll be surprised.

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