I recently stopped using Beeminder. I realized it wasn’t a good personal fit, for two main reasons:
- I’m a workaholic.1 2 My usual tendency is to work like crazy when I feel like it, and not at all when I don’t. Negative reinforcement for not getting work done hasn’t changed that crunch & quit behavior. I often just ignore reminders I don’t want to act on.
- I obsess about money. My lizard brain likes to label some of the most commonplace purchases as frivolous, and I can mentally spiral when I run low on funds.
This last semester I observed that when I give into these less balanced mindsets, I still get all my essential work done one way or another. The only thing that suffers is my personal life. I don’t need Beeminder to hound me to be more productive. What I really want is a system that incentivises balanced thinking and keeps my health in check during the process.
My new system is inspired by New Girl:
I call it the Paimon Jar, because I’m using a jar one of my friends painted with the Paimon sigil3 for me, and it essentially creates value from my inner demons.
Every time I successfully identify an unhealthy thought process, I put a dollar in the jar. This might seem like negative reinforcement, but it’s actually a very satisfying middle ground. The jar is where I save money to buy the essentials my lizard brain doesn’t think I need. In that sense, what I’m really doing is rewarding myself for being more mindful in the face of negativity, while turning the behaviors I tend to beat myself up over into something cathartic and even kind of funny.
I can hold my inner demons in my hand and say, “I see you for what you are, and we are separated by glass. You have no power over me.”