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Akrasial Motivation

with 5 comments

My significant other just started a productivity blog as a motivational tool.  It’s been helping us both get things done around the house, almost by virtue of being there.  Part of that may be that it’s being read by family members who want to know more about our life and kids.

This one isn’t, as far as I know.  In fact, it’s read by almost nobody.  I’ve considered submitting it, or at least certain of its categories, to an aggregator or two, but that’s not really its point.  The point is that I need to write.

But I’m a procrastinator, so I spent a couple of years posting only here and there, until I read a post on self-binding by Daniel Reeves.  I signed up for the Beeminder service it described, and was greeted with the happy news that a bot could even fill out the graph for me, from my blog’s feed.  It took a bit to get things rolling, but I eventually got into a habit of posting once a week.  Granted, my procrastination led me to habitually let the graph touch the bottom of the yellow brick road before posting, but I was more or less on track.

However, sometime during this process, the post-processing bot stopped filling things out.  By that time, I had the graph in my head, so my posting schedule kept on track, but my page on the site has flatlined.  Worse, I think I’ve missed a week or two, so I’m probably below the yellow brick road for real.

Therefore, I’m hereby making a new commitment.  I will post once per week for this whole year.  More specifically, I will maintain a rate of at least one post per full seven days from this date.  If I slip from that schedule, I will donate USD$500 toward development of beeminder.com, to Beeminder LLC.  That’s enough that the manager of my money will freak out, but not so much that we’ll be in serious trouble of missing a bill payment.

I think I can do it, but it will probably still be tough sometimes.  One of these days, it may be important to admit that I have money riding on it, but I hope to avoid that fate.  I haven’t even admitted yet that I have a blog of my own…



Written by eswald

3 Jan 2012 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Lifestyle

5 Responses

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  1. Hi Eric, wow, love this! (For obvious reasons!)

    Note that you have at least one reader of this blog. :) And not because I got a google alert about “daniel reeves” or “beeminder” — in fact, I’m not sure why I didn’t get one! (Maybe you’re more invisible than you intend to be.)

    Sorry that our automatic blog monitor flaked out on updating your yellow brick road on Beeminder!
    We only had a couple people using that and even for our own blog we found that we kind of preferred to do it manually. Check out the sidebar of http://blog.beeminder.com . (Normally I love beeminder graphs that auto-update but for the blog each post is momentous enough that it’s kind of nice to go update the graph after posting.)

    Automated or not, I’d love to convince you to do this like a normal Beeminder goal, where you start out with nothing pledged but each time you derail you have to pledge an exponentially increasing amount.

    What do you think?


    Daniel Reeves

    4 Jan 2012 at 5:27 pm

    • The exponential idea sounds interesting. I’d forgotten about it, partly from thinking in terms of what I should have originally committed. I might try that next year, particularly if one of us gets a blog monitor back up. (I’ve done all of the pieces in various projects, it’s just a matter of wiring them up and installing a cron job.) For now, the one-shot time-limited deal is simpler to understand, particularly if I have to explain sometime just how much the post is worth.


      10 Jan 2012 at 6:48 am

      • Good plan! Well, I’ll keep reading and yell “KA-CHING” in the comments if I catch you below your post-per-week average. :)

        Daniel Reeves

        10 Jan 2012 at 4:42 pm

  2. Ka-ching? I haven’t worked out the average interpost rate but I’ve been reading faithfully all year and this is the first time I noticed more than 7 days go by between posts! If you’ve had more frequent posts occasionally then I think the fine print has you covered. Either way, I’m delighted if Beeminder has provided some (perhaps indirect) motivation to keep you posting regular. Some really great stuff!

    Daniel Reeves

    27 Nov 2012 at 1:38 pm

    • I’m mostly working on the schedule set by the original Beeminder road, which established a hard deadline on Tuesdays. Every once in a while, I try to push myself into posting every six days, just to get ahead of schedule, which is why I’ve posted a few Mondays lately, but somehow I keep falling back. And yes, there was one night I panicked when I realized what day of the week it was.

      I may even have slipped an extra post or two into the schedule, but I’m not counting on it. Next month I’ll crunch the numbers and report.


      27 Nov 2012 at 2:18 pm

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