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Dorikka comments on How to Beat Procrastination - Less Wrong

156 Post author: lukeprog 05 February 2011 06:49PM

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Comment author: Dorikka 05 February 2011 08:32:24PM 16 points [-]

In general, this post looks useful and well researched, so upvoted. This is my only problem with it:

Another method is to make failure really painful.

For me personally, this is a really bad idea because it'll kick me into pain motivation mode and uselessly cause me more stress (decreasing my effectiveness.) You've clearly read much more then me on the subject, and so this may work for some people, but I think that it has a chance to significantly backfire for others.

Comment author: Procrastinus 06 February 2011 11:20:53PM 6 points [-]

The best way of making this technique is focusing on the negative sides of engaging in temptation, of what would happen if you played video games instead of working for example. This is basic application of Walter Mischel's attentional control research as well as covert sensitization.

Though everything in the book is backed up with research (that was my standard for inclusion), I like where how you are focusing on it. Any of these techniques can misfire if applied inappropriately or in the wrong way. Devil is always in the details.

Comment author: lukeprog 06 February 2011 03:07:44PM 4 points [-]

Making failure painful is a way of pre-committing. There is some research that shows the effectiveness of pre-commitment, but I'm not aware of experimental studies on that particular kind of pre-commitment, so perhaps you're right. On the other hand, a great many people have found such "penalty" methods of precommitment very useful. And, if I have to bet on advice between a leading researcher in the field and a guy whose website looks like this, I'll bet on the former.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 08 February 2012 07:02:09PM 2 points [-]

The kind of pain is probably important. "Fail and you've just proven you're a really bad person" is not helpful.

Comment author: CronoDAS 06 February 2011 11:26:43PM *  2 points [-]

I expect that there might be a great deal of difference between an externally imposed threat and a self-imposed threat. "Start working, or I'll do something nasty to you" never seemed to motivate me very much if the task was at all difficult. Threats tend to make me less inclined to attempt whatever task it is that I am being threatened to do, rather than more.

And it seems stupid to precommit to a penalty for not achieving a goal that I think I'm likely to fail at.

Comment author: helm 07 February 2011 11:13:37PM -1 points [-]

Then induce a penalty for not trying.