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dreeves comments on How to Beat Procrastination - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: dreeves 04 January 2012 12:04:55AM *  2 points [-]

I really like parts of this, but other parts -- like "focus on doing what you love" and "increase your expectancy of success" -- strike me as banal or vacuous. Note that I have a very biased view of this stuff, as will be clear from my recent anti-akrasia post on LessWrong: Anti-akrasia tool: like stickK.com for data nerds

So it won't be surprising that the part of this I really love, and what I think is the part that really matters, is commitment devices and setting goals that are measurable, realistic, and time-anchored (so-called SMART goals).

Btw, I would say that StickK does commitment devices better than Beeminder but everything else about goal setting and goal tracking (per the SMART criteria [2]) worse. And more and more I feel that getting the commitment contracts perfect doesn't matter. If you're the type to cheat and weasel then self-binding websites will have no appeal to you in the first place, since, as a cheating weasel, you're unbindable!

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

Comment author: Procrastinus 07 January 2012 02:53:04AM *  2 points [-]

You would think that career selection and vocational counseling would be obvious to everyone, but sadly only a sliver of humanity take it seriously that career selection is driven by three criteria: i) Demand (is there a need for this, especially in terms of salary), ii) Skills (can you do this or are you willing to get the education), iii) Job satisfaction (will you like it). There are huge differences in what the literature calls person-job fit, so getting these three things right matter. However, people often go into careers knowing little about how they match on these points. Lucky ones get it right.

Of note, on SMART goals "Since the mid-eighties, over five hundred books have stressed S.M.A.R.T. goals, an acronym that has both too many and too few letters. S.M.A.R.T. stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Anchored. There are too many letters, in that Specific is redundant with both Measurable and Time-Anchored while Attainable is redundant with Realistic. There are too few in that it is still missing major concepts."

A modern day acronym, updated with 30 years of research, would be the "CSI approach." Challenging, Specifiic, Immediate and Approach. Now SMART goals are good; its just time for an update.