Beeminder Review – Kicked in the Butt

Dollar Flipper Blog Update, Musings 11 Comments

We all have goals. It can be weight loss, not wasting parts of your day, or a random eBay listing goal. I’ve been using Beeminder to keep track of my listing goals since the beginning of the year.

Queen Bee eBay Beeminder

I’m that little worker bee in the bottom right corner who’s getting trampled.

I already talked about the “what” behind Beeminder, but never actually discussed what happens when you haven’t planned well and you end up having to shell out some money. Not the physical transition of money, but all of the emotions that I’ve gone through during this time.

1. It stings. You not only have to pay Beeminder – I fell off the road on two goals and had to pay $5 twice, but you also get the feeling of “I did something wrong.”

Beeminder provides awesome tracking, a great amount of support, an awesome community, and new features coming out the wazoo. Even with all of this awesomeness, it comes down to you not hitting your goal.

Most of the time, when you’re not able to stick with a goal or resolution, it’s very easy to let it fall to the wayside and forget about it. You just stop doing X even though you felt great when you were consistently doing X.

Why is this? For me, it’s because life gets in the way. All this other stuff comes up. Travel, family visits, yard work, meeting a bunch of contractors, potty training, etc.

These are all things which are important but not planned for in my “ideal week.”

When it gets hectic like this, it’s hard to look at the bigger picture and continue planning ahead. You’re down in the weeds. Beeminder consistently reminds you saying “HEY, DON’T FORGET THAT GOAL!”

When I saw that I wasn’t going to be able to hit my target without losing some serious amounts of sleep, I was able to say “Is it worth $5 for me to do this?” The answer was definitely no. The next time though, it’ll be $10 if I fall off. That might make me think twice. And if not, then the next amount will.

With all of my little goals, I sometimes feel like a person who is taking psychiatric medication and falls of the wagon. Whether it’s working out, the weight loss goal, or not wasting time on the internet, I’ll say “I’ve been doing so well for a long time now. I feel great! I can let this thing (lounging on the couch, eating bad foods, or wasting time on the internet) back in. I can control it this time!”

In the end, I don’t do that well, and I suffer for it. But that’s the best part with Beeminder. It doesn’t have to be this way.

The system has an awesome feature called “take a break.” I’m not sure why I was so hesitant about using this. If I had just said “I have many weeks of on/off vacation and won’t be able to list like I wanted to” all would have been well. Instead, I blindly went ahead and hit a wall. I didn’t have enough time, energy, willpower, etc. to keep going.

I’ve since, added in a few breaks since I know we will be traveling a bit more, and it still kind of feels like cheating. I know it’s actively planning against the real world, but I definitely feel like I’m not going full-bore towards my goal. This is what I need to be OK with.

So what next? The two goals which I derailed on were eBay listings and 1 weekly blog post. I try to post on Mondays and missed out. I was feeling overwhelmed. I was trying to fit too much into my day, and it wasn’t working.

So, the new plan is to continue posting here weekly but take a break from listing on eBay. I have to do a few items just to get up to my planned break, but have a busy month coming up. Once I get to actually enjoy my summer vacations without having eBay over my head, then I’ll work on listing my back inventory. It can’t all happen at once!

Beeminder Stings but It Hurts So Good

And this is where I’d like to end. I would have originally said that I failed (or maybe I’m just mad about paying someone for me failing), but really, I feel more in control than ever.

Beeminder has taken out a lot of the guilt I normally feel when I don’t hit a goal. Instead, I planned for something and then didn’t execute so I paid a price. I’m not just whining about it to my wife, I’m actually able to regroup and re-evaluate based on the reasons for my not hitting the target.

In this case, I was too busy and didn’t use the options that I had available to me to fix that. Going forward, I’m going to be more realistic about what I can accomplish especially taking into account my vacations.

I liken this to YNAB for budgeting. Plan, execute, and roll with the punches. Only if you don’t do what you said you’d do (and subsequently poorly manage your time/goals/etc.), then you’ll get stung. But it’s totally worth it.

Image Credit: Levi Asay

Comments 11

  1. That’s pretty interesting with the goals with Beeminder, first time I’ve heard of it today. I will say with goals, you know the really big ones that you are just so happy to meet, I feel it’s OK to take a break or coast a little on some of the smaller stuff, good luck getting back to your goals soon!

    1. Post

      Yep. The break is nice. Best part is that I’m still shipping items out. I’ve built a little nugget of a pipeline (over 300 items) and I generally sell about 5+ items per week regardless of my listing process.

  2. This is beautifully put! You didn’t mention it explicitly but simpler than the take-a-break feature is to just make your “yellow brick road” less steep. I.e., decrease the number of blog posts or listings or whatever that you’re committing to per week. Actually you can combine the two ideas and use the take-a-break feature to schedule not a total break but a period where the commitment is less but still non-zero.

    Thanks so much for the insights and the beautiful testimonial here. And just to be sure, having paid $10 to Beeminder, you’ve gotten at least $10 of value out of using Beeminder?

    Thanks again,
    Danny of Beeminder

    1. Post

      There’s no question Beeminder has been valuable to me and well worth the $10. I’ve gone from ~100 listings to over 300 when I was at a plateau for a while. This has helped me be a lot more consistent with moving through a bunch of piles at my house and has given me a great feeling of freedom!

      Your notes about moving things in Beeminder are interesting, but I try to do the whole “set it and forget it” method so it’s hands off. I think that I ride the edge so much that tinkering feels like cheating!

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