I've expanded by beeminder goals to half a dozen. It's different for everyone, but for me the most useful productivity device seems to be something that:
* Lets me record how often I succeed
* Lets me set up something to poke me if I get busy and stop submitting updates (and a small, but not ambitious goal to say "do at least this much")
* NOT bug me every day (except for things I SHOULD do every day), I'd rather be able to focus on gym for a month, and then fall back to a low baseline of a couple of times a week while I'm busy with something else.
* NOT focus on faux-psychoanalysis. Encouragement can be useful but it can also feel dispiriting or patronising, I'm very happy to just get a row of green ticks :)
That's not exactly how beeminder is designed to be used, but it's what I've found most useful so far.
This only counts _new_ things. Not stuff that has to happen every week anyway, but stuff that represents genuine progress in my life, even if small. My target rate is set to 3 per week, and I'm doing about that.
It feels silly that I can't easily do more than that -- surely I have time. But some of the things I need to do are big and scary. And just remembering to do laundry, turn up at work, go to the pub with friends, etc, eats most of my time...
I've tended to have a spurt when there's a lot of small-to-medium things I polish off in a burst, and then a few weeks when immediate concerns overtake the graph. But it doesn't really matter what the graph shows, it matters that I have a way of feeling good about my progress.Day
I started this last week, based on a suggestion from a blog, but it seems to be going well. It records items on todo list(s) for a day that I've completed.
The catch is, the list can be as small as I like, but I have to do everything on it for it to count.
The reasoning behind that is that it's easy for a todo list to spiral out of control with the things I need to todo today getting mixed in with the things I've wanted to do for ages and only now have time for mixed in with stuff I vaguely thought I might do this week. And if I do that, then the whole evening is spent stressing over prioritising. Whereas if I force myself to be ruthless and make a list of things I'm ACTUALLY going to do, and a separate list for anything else, that's fairly easy to do. And thereafter I can relax and do them in whichever order I fancy, because doing a bit of washing up, etc, doesn't mean I'm neglecting the bigger things.
And when I do the prioritising in advance, it's easier to say "ok, one biggish thing, a few emails I've been putting off, and a bit of washing up/cleaning etc", and then I get some of all of it done, whereas if I try to prioritise as I go along, the de facto todo list becomes "agh, I don't know, I'll try to do all of it, but settle for the biggest one" and then never do the washing up.Gym
I've been going to the gym for five months -- where has this year gone? Gym membership was supposed to be last year's thing. But I'm really glad I've kept it up, I feel a lot better for it.
Since I started, I've managed an average of 2.5 times a week. That came close to failing a few times over Christmas when I was away, but has been safe since. And the last five weeks I've maintained an average of four times a week.Weight
I feel like a traitor for measuring this because so many people are damaged by the idea that only skinny is any good :( But I would in fact like to weigh less than I do now, even my ideal weight would be more than average for my height. And since I was losing a bit of weight from going to the gym anyway, I decided I might as well measure it. I've lost weight very slowly, but incontrovertibly more than zero. Measuring it has turned it from a complicated doom-filled hole into just one more thing that is under the control of my awesome organisation.Blog
Part of the idea is that I don't only track things that seem boring but necessary, but also things that seem fun but I don't get round to because I'm worried about other things :)
Hence, a reminder to blog. I still need to shift away from the idea that _every_ post needs to be a complicated essay, and have more "hey, this is what I did today" (when that's potentially somewhat interesting to people other than me).Fiction
When I started, I speculated what else I might want to track, and one was writing fic, something I like to do very occasionally but never have time to do. But alas, this one is still on zero :)StickK: shave face and shave head
I also experimented with non-beeminder tools for tracking things I want to do every week. (Shaving twice in one day doesn't make me less grizzled if I don't shave the next day :)) Success has been mixed, but it's been successful in training me to just do both automatically rather than putting them off.
You can see graphs of all the beeminder goals at: https://www.beeminder.com/jackv