Trivial Inconvenience Day (December 9th at 12 Noon PST)

byHypothesis10d7th Dec 20181 comment

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Hi everybody, it's been 9 months since I wrote my report on Trivial Inconvenience Day. I wasn't quite sure when to run a sequel event. I wanted to give people an opportunity for deferred tasks to pile up again. With three seasons under the bridge I think it's safe to say that the procrastination coffers have since refilled. This post is your invitation to join us this Sunday, December 9th, to cross nagging tasks off your list.

Event Information

Shortly after reading Scott Alexander’s LessWrong Crypto Autopsy I found myself agreeing with the point so strongly I was brainstorming ways that its dismal outcome could have been prevented. Peoples personal accounts of why they didn’t buy bitcoin seemed to converge on a central theme: Buying Bitcoin was a trivial inconvenience. Pondering what might be done in light of this, I was reminded of Boston Rat’s Bureaucracy Day. The Bureaucracy Day is essentially a designated day for people to beat the ugh field effect by getting together and going through the whole mess of annoying tasks, paperwork, and other trivially inconvenient things people have been putting off. Having been impressed by the concept the first time I read about it, Scott’s dire analysis convinced me to try something like it in the hope that it would be a useful tool against this sort of thing happening again.

Multi-hour session of not letting small emotional or logistical barriers get in the way of a better life, state tasks you'd like to do and do them. No minimum commitment or significance requirements, show up for 15 minutes to do something and leave if you like. Prefer most participants show up at designated time to maintain critical mass throughout event.

How do I join?

Join this Discord server on or before Sunday, December 9th at 12:00 (Noon) PST. No account or signup is required.

You can also join while things are ongoing, but it works best if most of us are there at the same time to start.

Why join?

From the outset I was aiming for the event to have a particular sort of feel. I wanted it to be serious, but also sort of cheesy. In real life we’re used to doing slog-y, tedious work and having nothing to show for it afterwards besides hours passed on the clock. It’s not a very rewarding experience. Therefore to help counteract this I wanted the experience to be chock full of artificial rewards. The fact of the matter is that these mundane necessities of life give us nowhere near the level of reward we feel we deserve for the effort. That is after all why they’re undone in the first place. Keeping this in mind I wanted the atmosphere to be high energy, exuberantly enthusiastic.

The idea behind making it an event is to provide both peer pressure and an exciting atmosphere which would otherwise never be present while you're slogging through obtuse tasks. As well as to set aside designated time for these things to happen in.

How Should I Prepare?

Make a list of tasks that you need to do which have fallen off the wagon in the course of daily life. Also think about things you would like to do but haven't gotten around to.

The inspiration for this event was Scott's crypto autopsy. So I would definitely encourage you to take a moment to think about what potentially high impact things you're putting off. For example in the previous event someone signed up for Vanguard.

As an example, this is my tentative list:

  • Identify consistently dysfunctional parts of my room and make them functional
  • Figure out how on earth I'm going to make all the statistical graphs to show the results of my Coordination Survey. (Yes I know a lot of you have been asking for these for a while)
  • Make a list of my backups & data by year, where it's stored, etc to make sure that I have it all and am not at risk of losing anything
  • Sort out the music on my MP3 player
  • Order some books
  • Make a list of websites the designer of Whistling Lobsters 2.0 can use as inspiration for the site design

These are mostly things which fall into the short-term-annoyance but long-term-benefit bucket.

You will be sharing this list, so if a task is particularly embarrassing or impolite in mixed company, you may be best off listing it under a polite euphemism or dummy description.

How does it work?

I'll provide detailed instructions the day of the event, but the short version is:

  • You put your list into the server
  • You do items on the list
  • As you check them off, you announce their completion
  • Everyone reacts with encouraging emoji and warm expressions

How long does it last?

As long as you want it to. If you show up, do one thing that's been bugging you that takes ten minutes and leave I'll consider that a success. Realistically it probably ends when almost everyone has done their list or given up.

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