Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

wedrifid comments on Scientific Self-Help: The State of Our Knowledge - Less Wrong

138 Post author: lukeprog 20 January 2011 08:44PM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (493)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: wedrifid 21 January 2011 12:53:07AM 4 points [-]

Given that The 4-Hour Work Week can be boiled down to more or less:


Unfortunately, there have been fewer experimental studies on effective productivity and time management methods than there have been on effective study methods. For an overview of scientific opinion on productivity, I recommend pages 121-126 of Psychology Applied to Modern Life. According to those pages, common advice from professionals includes:

  1. Doing the right tasks is more important than doing your tasks efficiently. In fact, too much concern for efficiency is a leading cause of procrastination. Say "no" more often, and use your time for tasks that really matter.
  2. Delegate responsibility as often as possible. Throw away unimportant tasks and items.
  3. Keep a record of your time use. (Quantified Self can help.)
  4. Write down your goals. Break them down into smaller goals, and break these into manageable tasks. Schedule these tasks into your calendar.
  5. Process notes and emails only once. Tackle one task at a time, and group similar tasks together.
  6. Make use of your downtime (plane rides, bus rides, doctor's office waitings). > These days, many of your tasks can be completed on your smartphone.

Combined with some awareness of:


Factors that don't correlate much with happiness include: age,3 gender,4 parenthood,5 intelligence,6 physical attractiveness,7 and money8 (as long as you're above the poverty line). Factors that correlate moderately with happiness include: health,9 social activity,10 and religiosity.11 Factors that correlate strongly with happiness include: genetics,12 love and relationship satisfaction,13 and work satisfaction.14

... it is probably worth throwing Tim Ferris's book in there somewhere too.

Comment author: lukeprog 21 January 2011 12:56:05AM 2 points [-]

Back in 2007, I was pretty critical of Tim's book. But I don't know whether I would agree with lukeprog2007 if I read that book again today.

Comment author: wedrifid 21 January 2011 12:59:02AM *  2 points [-]

The similarity of Tim's conclusions to yours can not be ignored.

Comment author: gwern 21 January 2011 03:02:27AM 0 points [-]
Comment author: wedrifid 21 January 2011 03:07:05AM *  0 points [-]

I found it amusing that your blog advertises at the top:

lukeprog.com: where every page is easy to read

... then includes a menu on every page that is coloured to be very nearly impossible to read. Was this a deliberate irony (to contrast with the simplicity of the text) or just a terrible graphical design choice? :)

The colours look good when the text is white by the way.

Comment author: lukeprog 21 January 2011 05:15:07AM 1 point [-]

Yeah. I really should just delete that whole site. It hasn't been updated, nor its CSS fixed, for years. But people keep contacting me about it, not realizing it's way out of date, which is of course my own fault.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 21 January 2011 10:44:08AM 3 points [-]

There are no dates, so there's no way for anyone to know how old it is. You have your reasons for not organising it as a blog, but one advantage of the blog format is that every entry automatically gets timestamped.