BeeminderThis new online tool forces you to shape up—or pay up.
Here’s how Beeminder co-founder Bethany Soule describes the Web-based, incentivized task tracker: “When I met my co-founder, Daniel Reeves, he was in the doldrums of dissertation writing. That’s when we started concocting a series of incentive schemes and productivity hacks called the Voluntary Harassment Program. It was so effective that he finished his Ph.D. that year and then asked me to marry him. After that, we built a simple website for friends that, paired with small side bets, became indispensible for tracking all sorts of goals. The project evolved into Beeminder. It’s a motivational tool where you pledge money to stay on track to meet any goal. We show your progress using a digital yellow brick road, and we integrate with popular fitness and productivity sites to help you keep pace with your achievements. The way we motivate you is simple: If you miss a milestone, we take the money you pledged—which can range from $5 to several hundred dollars. We’ll even let your Twitter followers know you’ve fallen behind. Most goals are fitness-related, but some use Beeminder to boost productivity at work or fulfill lifelong goals like learning to play guitar. We use it to guarantee at least one improvement to the site each day. We’ve made more than 600 since we launched, and we’re just getting started.”