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

rthomas6 comments on How to Beat Procrastination - Less Wrong

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

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

Comments (150)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: rthomas6 30 July 2014 04:19:33PM 1 point [-]

So this may be other-optimizing if you heed my anecdote, but contemplating my own swiftly approaching death (an idea I take from Stoicism) helps my procrastination. In the context of this article, I think it works because it decreases my impulsiveness by forcing me to view my time as a finite resource, thus reducing some (not all) hyperbolic discounting of rewards. When I get up in the morning, if I say to myself something like "I probably have less than 20,000 days left to live, and this is one of those days," I find it easier to do tasks that my rational brain knows are more valuable to me, versus tasks that generate immediate reward chemicals in my animal brain. This visualization idea drives the point home even harder. When I am dying, I don't want to look back on my life and see that I wasted days binge watching House of Cards or reading interesting articles instead of doing something worth writing an interesting article about. I think this technique gives an immediate reward through my recognition that I spent an extremely scarce resource efficiently, thus giving some immediacy to long-term goals.