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FrankAdamek comments on Experiential Pica - Less Wrong

81 Post author: Alicorn 16 August 2009 09:23PM

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Comment author: FrankAdamek 18 August 2009 03:50:45PM *  6 points [-]

As for the habits of highly effective people, you might check into the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"... my father had a copy and it's really quite good, it's far from being the superficial "think positive" kind of book that it's often assumed to be. Not much about Akrasia though.

I might be considered someone little affected by akrasia, or who's standards for akrasia have risen substantially. I sleep polyphasically (the "Everyman" schedule, about 4.5 hours a day) and spend about 14-18 hours a day trying to bring about positive futures and avoid existential risk. Of course that focus doesn't translate directly into getting something done, but that's improving too.

The ultimate lack of akrasia might be an ultimate lack of "downtime", the real goal being the accomplishment of your objectives (recall the 12th Virtue). Though if you truly need downtime to be most productive then it's not akrasia. I do still have downtime, mainly video games and socialization, which have for me the highest motivational/recharging benefit per time. I also exercise, which you might count as downtime. In regards to activities I look at what I'm getting out of them, what's making me keep doing them (new games -> bad idea for me), and what are the best ways to get the first and avoid the second.

The main thing that keeps my "akrasia-fighting efforts" going is huge amounts of motivation (6.7 billion people is a hell of a lot), and it's been a long process of a little over a year, getting to where I am now. The most productive thing has been slowly aligning what I consider normal and personally acceptable with what I expect is the best course of action, so that being that active just feels assumed and takes little willpower (usually). I.e. it becomes a habit. A year ago I used to scold myself for playing through an entire RPG, now I scold myself for playing Unreal Tournament 15 minutes longer than I need to overcome sleep inertia.

There's hasn't been any single magical thought that let me drop huge swaths of irrational behavior, it's been innumerable smaller thoughts and an intense motivation to keep improving. This level of activity was impossible before I had a goal so much larger than myself. I recently started a blog about this motivation, NormalHumanHeroes, though it doesn't yet have anything about akrasia. It's aimed primarily at transhumanists, with some limited focus on the problem of FAI.