Have tiny projects that are completable in one day. Instead of writing one long article about something, write a short blog post that only talks about some part of the topic, such that you can write and post it in one day. I hypothesize that this way, it is easier to get a reward signal because you get the "I am done" thing.

Very often I write up a blog post for hours, but then stop because it is too late. I almost never come back to these posts. Then it feels like I did not accomplish anything (in fact I have not, in terms of having new posts up). Almost all the posts that I have on LessWrong are actually done in just one day.

The general strategy of breaking down your task into small subtasks, that can be completed in less than 1 hour, is a general strategy that I have heard come up many times. E.g. in game dev. Decomposing a project into tasks that can be done in a short amount of time is probably important to get a reward signal. My guess is that this also helps with the planning fallacy. Decomposing projects into subprojects, each composed of smaller tasks, where each subproject can be done in just one day, might be a good extension of this strategy.

I guess the problem is that when I am writing something, it is a lot harder to decompose my writing into tasks that can be completed in a short period of time. Normally I have as the task "write and post this", which I then never do if it takes more than one day. It is just kind of hard to pick up where I left off. This is amplified by the fact that I often don't know what I am gonna get out of writing something. Often I write to understand something better myself.

So I want to try to write my blog posts such that I can finish them in one day. That means that I should be stricter in where I set borders for a post, and possibly even stop early, and leave the rest of the topic to a future blog post.


I now realize that there are probably many other ways to tackle this problem. Basically, I failed at holding off on proposing solutions here, and just came up with one. But looking at the problem, I realize that the underlying problem is that I do not come back to working on posts at later points in time. Doing a post in one day might be a good solution, but there are many other things that might work that I did not think about, because I was anchored to this solution.

For example, setting up some routine, where I have a daily writing session, and pre-committing to continue writing for at least 15 minutes the last article that I was writing, might be helpful.

Thinking about the problem more makes me realize that I simply have very unrealistic expectations about how long it will take to write something. In other words, I succumb to the planning fallacy. And then normally I realize after stopping to write something that doing something else is actually a better use of my time.

So now the problem actually changed to me not using my time properly, which is a very different problem. Or maybe this perception is actually wrong, and writing about the things that I am excited to write about is actually a good thing to do, which would be another problem entirely. Honestly, I think that all the problems I have listed are real. They are all very different, and it is unlikely that there is one solution that solves all of these problems simultaneously. But realizing this seems like the first necessary step towards making a positive change.

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[-][anonymous]1y10

This sounds similar to the resolve cycle technique of breaking a problem into five minute chunks.

I guess you talk about this. Just putting it here, such that others can follow the link easily.