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vinayak comments on Applying Behavioral Psychology on Myself - Less Wrong

53 Post author: John_Maxwell_IV 20 June 2010 06:25AM

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Comment author: vinayak 22 June 2010 12:11:59PM 10 points [-]

If you have many things to do and you are wasting time, then you should number those things from 1 to n and assign n+1 to wasting time and then use http://random.org to generate a random number between 1 and n+1 (1 and n+1 included) to decide what you should do. This adds some excitement and often works.

Comment author: Divide 23 June 2010 11:14:41PM 5 points [-]

I thought I'd share my pick-thing-to-do-at-random app that helps somewhat. You just add things and then it shows you them at random. You can click to commit to do something for a while, or just flick to another thing if you can't do that now. I've added hundreds of both timewasters and productive activities there and it's quite cool to do this kind of lottery to determine what to do now.

Obviously it won't work if you just keep flicking until you happen upon a favorite timewaster, nor when you have something that needs to be done now. It's also essential to have clearly defined activities, even if it's just "think really hard about what to do about <whatever> and make that a new activity" or whatever. Tell me what you think.

http://things-be-done.appspot.com/ (google login needed for persistent storage, but you can play without logging in, data will be associated with a cookie left in your browser (and will be transferred once you do login))

Comment author: mwengler 25 June 2010 08:50:25PM 0 points [-]

i used it for a few hours then it broke, and now all it will do is give me an error dump with this last line: 'BadRequestError: cannot get more than 1000 keys in a single call"

Comment author: Divide 27 June 2010 05:46:50AM 1 point [-]

It should work now, please test. Sorry about that problem.

I needed to change the method to pick a random entity -- no easy feat in app engine, apparently. As a side effect, there might be some apparent nonuniformity in sampling when you have few todos. It will smooth out as you start/stop them and add more.

Comment author: Divide 26 June 2010 04:32:19AM 0 points [-]

Thanks for the report! I'll look into it.

Comment author: vinayak 24 June 2010 06:08:28PM 0 points [-]

Pretty neat. Thanks!