Exercises for Overcoming Akrasia and Procrastination

by mr-hire 1 min read16th Sep 20196 comments

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In order to enter the "Rationality Exercises" competition, I've decided to create this cliffnotes version of my upcoming sequence on overcoming akrasia and procrastination.

Please enter any meta comments, or comments not pertaining to a particular exercise here.

The structure of the sequence is a set of exercises and mental models that help you notice

  1. Triggers that lead to Akrasia,
  2. Mental Moves (a series of mental steps) you can do with those triggers to get yourself an a more intentional state..

Together these Triggers and mental movements make up **Mental Reflexes. **These mental reflexes then combine together into Cognitive Strategies, which are groups of mental reflexes that help you with different areas of Akrasia.

Each cognitive strategy is its' own comment, so they can be voted on and discussed separately.

The epistemic status of all these exercises is still highly experimental. I am confident that some of them will help some people, but expect them to evolve significantly over time. I also won't be giving sources, motivation, or inspiration for these techniques in the post, so if you notice something that feels like it came from somewhere else, just know that in the eventual sequence I'll do my best to make my sources clear.

I'm also skipping over all the prerequisite material on how to notice triggers, cognitively rehearse items, etc.

The proper thing to choose what exercises will help you is to look at the Symptoms for each cognitive strategy. Find the symptoms that seem to match your symptoms for Akrasia, and then go through the exercises for that strategy.


I had originally planned to include all 10 cognitive strategies in this post, but then my computer died and I got accepted last minute to a 10 day silent retreat, so I'm publishing as is with only 3 of the cognitive strategies complete. I'll likely update this post with new strategies as the sequence gets published, and may add a couple more over the coming days before the deadline.

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