This is the public group rationality diary for December 1-13, 2015. 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.

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2 weeks ago I realised my current job is making me miserable. I've now started doing something about it and have a trial period of a few hours this weekend for a new job.

The forementioned misery was getting projected onto my boyfriend in the form of finding some of his less awesome behaviours incredibly annoying. I eventually realised that I was projecting and had a chat with him involving an apology and a discussion about what the underlying issues are and what we could potentially both do better in the future.

A friend and I have become accountability buddies in the sense of sharing our lists of goals and asking about their progress every now and then.

Have been trying to do the homework set by my therapist, although it's tough going (which of course is the reason it's such a major ugh field in the first place)


awesome work!

tldr; I’ve created a simple value management system with reflective elements to begin overhauling my previous self, and it’s going great! Yahoo!

Context: I was a person with various non-productive behaviors who was highly compassionate, and luckily noticed Less Wrong. Took a long time to make what didn’t feel like progress; but recently I’ve been in a better state of mind, and decided to initiate a system to overhaul myself with.

Thus I created what I indulgently call my Value Management System. Very fancy for a collection of Word Documents on my desktop, ho-ho! Firstly; the whole system dates and records everything, so I can track my progress reliably. There are also procedures for watching performance of everything, and making changes when appropriate (this also dated/recorded of course). First step to pumping actionable values out of myself is the Wish List, which has a short list of whimsical maybe-later things, as well as a more elaborate list of values that are not already implemented (and that I’m not allowed to act on in a complex fashion). The list uses a set of filters to force me to be coherent about a given desire, and to ensure it is reliably actionable and safe. The values are moved to either a Main or Local document depending on my time estimate. So now I have a system for managing myself in a clear and concise fashion! This is a considerable improvement for someone who had the sorts of issues I did. Some of the procedures are becoming second-nature, slowly, and I hope this will greatly speed up my attempts to get close to auto-strategic movement.

Things accomplished with system: Moved to town, which boosted productivity and provided internet. Noticed several issues with values and goals that were handily taken care of. Provided framework to set up more frameworks, like Cognitive Trigger Training, and study frameworks for when I decide what to do with myself.

I am so very excited to have this up and running; a major aspect is not losing track of values and actions, thusly fumbling about horribly, gehh. The only drawback I’ve encountered is trying to apply everything through the system. Most things are nearly complete, however, and once the bulk of my foundations are down things will become less congested.


Incredible. Could you consider writing up a how to guide for others who want to make a Value Management System, with some tips and tricks?

I'm reviewing the material that inspired me into this line of action, and was intending to post a more concise and coherent intro for the site. I expect it to be nearly all derived from other material that can be found on this site. I'm eager to for feedback, but it will have to wait!

This sounds awesome and it looks like it is helping you to become less wrong. I have a couple questions. In summary, the idea that it is implemented with word documents sounds cumbersome to me. I wonder if there is a better way to do it:

  • have you looked into any apps that could do what you are doing with a collection of word documents? If you have, then what is different about your system than the other existing apps.
  • What would a perfect app implementation be of your Value management system?
  • have you done much research to create this system because it sounds like the above would be good for a main post if you have. I would like to know about what your set of filters are and what you mean by the framework to set up more frameworks.

I quite agree that it is cumbersome; the initial editing of the process isn't even finished to my satisfaction. To tell the truth, my initial intuition when I started this project was that the apps present struck me as auxiliary sorts of systems. But I didn't bother looking around for larger software. For shame : /

To answer the bullets:

  • As of today, yes. Nothing I've come across can supplant the whole framework, though. After searching "Life management apps", "Goal management apps", checking CFARs homepage, and the Power Tools listed here, these are some things that may see integration (not all apps); Evernote, MyLifeOrganized, Org-mode, Nozbe, Irunurun, TakeOnIt. I'm not sure how to encapsulate the difference between my system and apps. Perhaps it is just larger? There are reflective elements, and mechanics for dissolving assumptions to double check if an intuition can carry through to action, for example.

  • I don't think it would be a single app, and it would require a couple to be able to talk to each other. I suspect it would be heavily reliant upon the user, but now we are getting in over my current understanding of what such a system may look like. I have idly wondered if the concept could be embedded into software, however. I have no knowledge of programming.

  • I have not done formal and controlled construction of the concepts behind my system. It is based off of intuition; however, I have read the content on this site, and I suspect once I start an overview of where all my knowledge comes from it will crystallize into something that may be transferable for other's use. This is not where I had planned on going, and early on I was already noticing many inferences I had packed into formulating mechanics. There is a little note somewhere that suggests I should make my system informative enough that you could step into it from any level of education. Daydreams for later.

The prompts are basically coherence, priority, time, effort, action, reward, routine, balance, and peer-review. All prompts must note uncertainty, and any changes to content, as well as when behavior deviates from content and for what reason, etc.

The framework to make frameworks bit is actually perhaps specific to myself; I’m a very set-up-organized-systems sort of person, and considering things through this system very easily produces methods of approach that look similar. That’s all.

After the whole thing was “done” I had planned to submit it to Lesswrong with several example values of various sizes. I suspect it will be handily remade at that point. Very exciting to be this far along. :)

I was having a kind of unmotivated day yesterday, and eventually I tried doing an experiment where instead of trying to plan out a bunch of things to do, I just picked one thing, deliberately chosen to not be a super important thing, just a thing I vaguely felt like doing (adding a long-press menu to my app Complice). This led into me doing other useful things, and my day was somewhat recovered :)

I have found that it is also useful to pick two things to do, and chose one of them. You will naturally be more motivated to do the easier thing, and that will make it easier to start.

  • After conducting an extensive survey of world climates and levels of pollution, I reckon the best (based on temperature, extrapolating from weather in Sydney, Australia, unadjusted for thermal comfort) climates are found in certain French speaking African cities - not say, the Canary Islands or the South of France as one might associate with idyllic weather. The French sure got territories with great weather. Here are the best of best cities are their climates: The best climates in the world: Dakar, Senegal, Lome, Toga, Cotonou, Benin, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libreville, Gabon, Abidjan, Ivory Coast. My conclusion is that optimal migration is complex. If I was to base a migration decision based on climate alone, I may misjudge the thermal comfort, then might end up somewhere with lots of crime, political instability and epidemic prone-ness. Another constraint is that in these West African countries pollution is probably underreported. IN the central African countries, all data is generally considered suspect or unavailable anyhow.

  • Recognised that I feel scared to issue to a legal threat in a manner I feel wronger. I worry it will damage my social capital (and potentially my financial capital, more than that which may be restituted). I anticipate that if I make a legal threat it will be resolved there and then by the counterparty and it won't go to court, but I reckon word will spread in that community that I'm a 'difficult person' or something.

Established a useful new habit Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior

Lots of routine and habits related to social interaction mostly in job context:

  • Asking questions to get people to understand something instead of stating facts.
  • Convincing three intermediaries to convince a third more powerful person.
  • Apply the STAR method in dialogs to get the most out of it (in job contexts).

Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations

I was pointed to The Thing All Women Do That You Don't Know About by a friend and she made clear that it is real for her. I listened, considered it, talked to a few friends about it and changed my mind. I also changed my behavior a bit in response to it.

Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something

Accepted that I will never get acknowledgement for my support from one person and thereby handled my continued frustration from trying.

Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life

Still accumulating advice in my Anki deck. The most recent:

Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you

Most people are not happy if they get information-dense diagrams I'm quite sure provide the information they need and what but apparently in a too dense form to deal with; even people I'd really have expected to appreciate the information. I need to simplify summarize and in many cases probably also reduce inferential distance.

Tried doing any of the above and failed

Still failing to really reliably getting enough sleep.


A suggestion:

One of our lesswrongers has a 9pm alarm. The 9pm alarm is a trigger for him to decide what time he is going to bed. It is not "go to bed" but "work out when I am going to bed tonight".

Seems like a solution not commonly mentioned. Otherwise - if you expand the problem more I can try to offer suggestions...

I do this, though I hadn't heard of other people doing it before and use it slightly differently. Mine is set to 9:30pm and it is a marker point for me to use when keeping track of time late at night.

If you have the kind of schedule where you get home at 6pm and use a computer until late, then it's easy to lose track of time until it's suddenly 2am. Having a marker point closer to your sleep time (say 9:30pm for a 11pm bedtime) helps in keeping up your internal clock and signals when you need to make schedule modifications in order to finish things up before you need to sleep. I think this is also a good idea to create the form of alarm that will get you to go to sleep but also avoid Hyperbolic Discounting at the last minute.

You underestimate the number of things I have tried :-) But thanks for the suggestion nonetheless. The problem isn't as bad as it used to be. I have some grip on it. Part of the problem is being father of four sons...


certainly I do, The interesting thing about this idea is that it's not about sleep so much as planning. I only know about it because I heard the alarm and asked what it was. If you do try it; do update LW about it.

I do something like that. I have to. I know from long experience that I need 6 solid hours of sleep. Add padding at the beginning for actually falling asleep of 30 minutes (I have worked hard on getting that down but 30min about is it). I know when my children will wake me up the next morning and/or when I will have to get up the latest to get them to school/kindergarten (and there is no-one I can fall back to to do it). So on most days I know when I will have to go to bed the latest. At best I can squeeze out an extra 10mins in the morning. And the latest is usually is. I'd like to get to bed earlier as 6 hours doesn't allow for catching up on lost sleep days before - what sometimes happens. My sons actually know about this and my oldest asks me: When will you go to bed in the evening. And most times I plan midnight (the convenient schelling fence). But seldom make it. Reflecting on the fact that I might be more productive if I didn't build up sleep deficit doesn't seem to help. Probably I'm shifting unproductivity around. The evenings are my most valuable time...