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:

Douchebag Jar

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.

Paimon Jar

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.”

  1. See this post 

  2. And this post 

  3. To understand this reference, see Hereditary. It’s spooky, weird, and filmed in my high school!