How do I tell Beeminder what day my week starts?

If you're coming here looking for info on how to make a weekly goal with Beeminder, we have a whole separate article for that. If you've got that all figured out, then you probably already know that the answer is that is... well, that's the wrong question!

To elaborate: Beeminder doesn't care when you do the work; it just forces you to stay on the good side of the bright red line every day. To do that, you need to meet your daily rate... on average. Say you start a "6 workouts per week" goal on Monday. The average pace for this goal would be about 0.86 workouts per day (6 workouts divided by 7 days in a week). If you do one workout per day for the first six days of the week, you'll earn a day off on Sunday. You can do all 6 workouts on Monday and coast the rest of the week! (Not recommended.) But you can't procrastinate and make up a week's worth of workouts on Friday, because you'll have fallen below the average pace before then.

So you don't necessarily have to work a little every day if you've already done enough work to stay on track for a while. Just that if you ever end the day on the wrong side of your bright red line, you'll derail.

As a result, if you want to customise when data starts being due, you want to think about safety buffer. When you create a new goal, you can opt to start with some initial days of safety buffer. (You can also add safety buffer later, by adding breaks. Those can only kick in seven days away, of course!)

For something you only want to do once a week, on a specific day, think about when you're setting up. If you want it to be due on Monday, and today is Friday, then you need 3 days of safety buffer to begin with (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). If you want it to be due on Fridays and today is Monday, then you'd set the initial safety buffer to 4 days. If you want to align your weekly schedule to M-F, add enough initial safety buffer so that your first beemergency is next Monday.

If you don't want to derail until the end of a week from the day you set up the goal, then you can set up the goal with 7 days of safety buffer. You'll need to start work on your goal right away, even though it's not due yet! At the end of the week, if you've kept up with your goal, you'll have seven days of buffer. There's a visual representation of that which might help make it clearer, but keep in mind this was drawn on the old graph style, so it won't look exactly like this (there's no thick yellow line, but a bright red one instead which serves as a hard boundary).

Example graph showing that each +1 entered gives you seven days of buffer

(We get this question a lot, which means we need to do a better job of making it clear upfront, but in the meantime, we have this help page to point you to! There's also an ancient blog post describing these types of "chunky" goals.)

Keywords: daily vs weekly confusion, newbees

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