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Group Rationality Diary, May 16-31

3 Post author: therufs 16 May 2014 03:09PM

This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for May 16-31. 

It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like:

  • Established a useful new habit
  • Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief
  • Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations
  • Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior
  • Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something
  • Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life
  • Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you
  • Tried doing any of the above and failed

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves. Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to cata for starting the Group Rationality Diary posts, and to commenters for participating.

Previous diary: May 1-15

Next diary:  June 1-15

Rationality diaries archive

Comments (10)

Comment author: Jayson_Virissimo 21 May 2014 05:30:10AM *  4 points [-]

I asked for advice regarding App Academy here and Less Wrong really came through for me. Thanks for all your help!

I will be attending the August cohort in San Francisco. If anyone else from LW will be there, please get in contact with me via PM.

Comment author: therufs 21 May 2014 05:21:11PM 0 points [-]

Yaaay, congrats! Hope to hear about how it goes.

Comment author: Barry_Cotter 18 May 2014 01:46:42PM 3 points [-]

I have started using HabitRPG to reinforce reading on a daily basis, Anki usage and exercise, as well as doing some programming, though that last is less well established. I had the program on my phone for a while but kept on forgetting it so I just set two daily reminders in Google calendar. Problem solved. I uninstalled remember the milk as HabitRPG's todk functionality is good enough.

I am now spending a lot of time that was previously unproductive internet time reading textbooks on my phone's Kindle app. Almost certainly inferior to paper books but my phone had pretty much killed that habit already. I amn't able to read and process highly technical or mathematical texts but for psychology textbooks and the like it works fine.

I've been going to the gym two or three times a week, ttavel excepted for three months now. I'm still above my ideal weight but more of said weight is muscle. I feel like I should do some kind of minimal daily exercise routine in addition to lifting at the gym but am unsure what I should be doing.

Comment author: hamnox 18 May 2014 06:23:04PM *  0 points [-]

Go Habit!

How are your todos functioning for long-term repeating tasks, or tasks that have a long while before they become actionable?

I applaud your more productive use of internet time, and your exercise habits. Read any really interesting textbooks lately? There was talk of effective daily exercises here in the last journal thread.

Comment author: Barry_Cotter 18 May 2014 10:46:20PM *  0 points [-]

How are your todos functioning for long-term repeating tasks, or tasks that have a long while before they become actionable?

Dailies, forget about it or Boomerang.

Read any really interesting textbooks lately?

Cambridge Handbook of Expert Performance and Psychology, Themes and Variations are it so far. They are large tomes so I feel okay about going so slowly.

Comment author: erratio 21 May 2014 11:34:39PM 2 points [-]

I am troubleshooting my method for writing papers in an attempt to make the process go faster or at least more efficiently. So far, I have asked a couple of my colleagues about their methods, and intend to try to collect a representative sample before I try to extract any important general bits

Comment author: jd_k 19 May 2014 02:47:32PM 2 points [-]

"Established a useful new habit" (Background: I have a tendency to experience peak excitement about a new idea early on and then drop it entirely once the excitement wanes.) I have surprised myself by continuing to use HabitRPG for over a month now. I am very happy with the software; it really seems like it works for me.

"Established a useful new habit" I have been thinking for a while that I wish I was reading more philosophy, but I never quite got around to doing it. I finally decided that I would commit to just reading something -- I created a daily task in HabitRPG that would be satisfied by even a single paragraph. That task is now my longest running streak, and I usually read much more than a single paragraph.

"Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief" For a long time I approached the notion that minds are material things with mild scorn -- "what sort of misguided a priori commitments would motivate someone to believe that?" At any rate, it was not an issue that I thought about with any frequency. This past month, I found myself encountering some of the brain damage/stimulation research again, and this time my reaction was, "this seems terribly more probable in a world where minds are what brains do." I then went through a whole series of questions in this way (viz., "on which approach is aspect X of thinking more likely?") and came up with the same answer each time. I also realized that the idea of a non-material mind feels kind of goofy to me, and I asked myself, "why would I need to posit that? what do I lose without that?", coming up empty-handed. I have no dramatic level of confidence in my new belief, because I haven't done the real research, but I am perfectly happy with the level of confidence I have. So it is not really a matter of having found new evidence, but of approaching the issue in a new way. Honestly, I think the biggest factor is all the time I have spent over the past few months working through the sequences: I just think about things differently on some basic levels.

Sorry for the wordiness; it was an interesting and pleasant experience to watch myself work through that process.

Comment author: hamnox 18 May 2014 06:52:46PM *  2 points [-]

sat and thought for a few minutes about what I was attempting to do with my journal. Realized that I had several different objectives that were kind of mutually exclusive, such as wanting to have all my hardcopy data organized CHRONOLOGICALLY and by TYPE at the same time. My phone will now ping me at random intervals to get a better distribution of my day. I have a page dedicated to listing which wellbeing indicators I'm collecting at any given time, such specific indicators (as opposed to random thoughts and a general description of my day) are written in the left page margin. Emotion/Belief processing is to go on a separate sheet of paper--or, even better, done digitally so thoughts don't have time to mutate as I transcribe them--with only the premises and end conclusions referenced in the journal proper.

Stopped using anki and duolingo as my default action when bored. This was not intentional. Anki because it keeps crashing on my phone, duolingo because I've discovered the web app is so much better. I've also been generally mentally exhausted, it was only this week that I've succeeded in doing perfect day streaks on HabitRPG again. I have so many little to-do's that need doing... It hurts just to look at the list.

Comment author: Raythen 21 May 2014 04:33:35PM *  1 point [-]

Change the dates to May 16-31?

Comment author: therufs 21 May 2014 05:17:23PM 0 points [-]

oops, thanks!