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RomeoStevens comments on Making intentions concrete - Trigger-Action Planning - Less Wrong

25 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 01 December 2016 08:34PM

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Comment author: RomeoStevens 02 December 2016 02:53:46AM *  5 points [-]

One frame that's proven useful for me: if I'm putting off something that I will definitely need to do at some point, and there's no obvious reason that one time is significantly better than others for it, then all I'm deciding is how many times I repeatedly have thoughts about it, all the while training myself with repetitions of thinking about a thing and then not doing it. This is a loss aversion frame, and therefore perhaps not perfect. But it has definitely spurred action.

Another is to keep adding structure until you can honestly say you would be shocked if the plan failed. This involves repeatedly adding things and checking with a premortem. Some add-ons:

  • A trigger

  • Breaking in to concrete next actions

^Obvious, but we can keep going

  • Connect concretely to goal

  • Napkin math of loss if not done

  • Clarify the win condition: what concrete sensory experience do you expect to have that will tell you you succeeded?

  • Clarify the loss condition: figure out the most likely ones and add new triggers that might help you recover

  • Building in a reflection trigger to check whether the plan needs to be modified

  • Make the task harder: easy tasks are boring, find something about the task you could potentially test of be curious about (and remember you can't bullshit yourself so it has to be genuine curiosity)

An example of combining several: TDT the task to make it more interesting. Do some napkin math on what the upper and lower reasonable bounds of value to you are and how much optimization would be approriate given that.

If at some point you are doing this and think to yourself "this is a stupid amount of scaffolding, I should just do the thing." and then you actually go do the thing, success! If the thing is so unimportant that it really isn't worth any scaffolding at all maybe check whether it is actually connected to your goals.