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Procrastinus comments on How to Beat Procrastination - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Procrastinus 06 February 2011 11:11:38PM 12 points [-]

What a wonderful post!

I considered the benefits of meditation as a procrastination control technique and you will find it in the notes section of the book. I have practiced mindfulness meditation but no longer keep up with it. Though the mindfulness part does give you an option to reduce the power of temptations, you are quite right that it also can expand to eliminate value in general (nihilism). However, the reason I rejected it as viable solution is that it takes so long to master and this is the exact type of discipline that procrastinators will put off aquiring. Good in theory but of little practical value because people won't take the time to put it into practice. Maybe this is why the Pali Cannon calls procrastination "moral defilement."

As for self-rewards, I did debate whether to include them. In my original doctoral dissertation, I wrote this "However, it is uncertain whether rewards will be as effective when self-administered. Ainslie (1992) indicates that self-rewards are very susceptible to corruption, where the rules are bent to the extent that they are no longer effective. I suspect that the use of self-rewards will be negatively correlated with procrastination, but weakly."

Consequently, I tried to express self-rewards in the book in a way that will actually work, which is called "Impulse Pairing, " as well as acknowledge its inherent limitations, that is"But this method has its risks as well. Engaging a partner to help you finish a report or prep for an exam, for example, can degenerate into an evening-long bull-session with little learning to show for it."

I really appreciate the level of thought that is being shown here. Impressive.

Comment author: jsalvatier 09 July 2011 01:44:51AM 6 points [-]

for others reference, I believe this is Piers Steel.

Comment author: [deleted] 07 February 2011 01:16:42PM 2 points [-]

However, the reason I rejected [mindfulness meditation] as viable solution is that it takes so long to master and this is the exact type of discipline that procrastinators will put off aquiring.

I'd tend to agree with you here. For me, the same applies to (strength-based) exercise. I loved it when I do it, it improves my work, but when I'm trapped in massive procrastination, I can't use it at all to get me out of it. I'd consider both more advanced techniques, or maybe maintenance.

However, personally, I don't have any choice about meditation. Once you get past a certain threshold (aka stream entry), you will continue, if you like it or not. People keep on cycling through multiple stages and progress regardless of their actions, although continued practice makes this much more pleasant and efficient.

Therefore, I would not recommend anyone working on their motivation that hasn't (in some form or another) crossed stream entry to pick up meditation (at least not primarily), but if you're already there, more practice helps and is kinda inevitable.