Former tech entrepreneur (co-creator of the music software Sibelius). Among other things I now play the stock market, write software to predict it, and occasionally advise tech startups. I have degrees in philosophy.

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Others would have to report whether they find it more useful than what they do now (eg Pomodoro), but the reason I think it may well be is indeed the fact it fixes the various Pomodoro problems.

Re new downsides Third Time itself introduces, the one I'm aware of is indeed its extra complexity - hence it is best implemented in an app. But if others find other downsides, I'd be interested to hear of them.

(Alas I haven't got round to finishing Part 2 yet - been busy with other things, notably analyzing the academic research into what the best ways to spend a break are, which I'll write up in due course.)

Indeed - or simply break after completing a task - which also counts as a reward, hence an incentive to complete it. With the downside that you may be less motivated to resume work than if you're breaking in the middle of something.

This is really good stuff.

A minor suggestion: the list in prompt 5 is so important, I suggest it should be in bullets rather than a single paragraph, and ideally people should spend at least a minute or two thinking about each one.

On a detail (!) there are mouth guards (‘sleep clench inhibitors’) that you wear in your sleep to train you not to clench/grind your teeth both at night & in the daytime. I’ve used one; my dentist got one custom made to fit my teeth. You wear them nightly for a week initially, then just once every week or two. Unpleasant the first couple of nights, but you soon get used to them. Worked for me!

Otter (a smartphone app) is very good. So I've started using it recently for taking notes. Haven't tried using it to write an extended post about anything, though it could be a useful way of getting a first draft.

I like this idea of getting others to help write up ideas. I find writing up ideas vastly more time-consuming and difficult than thinking them up, or explaining them verbally. Even Eliezer, an expert writer, seems to have taken years to get round to writing up his recent list of AI risks.

When I was halfway through this and read about the 4 stages, they immediately seemed to me to correspond to four types of news reporting:

  1. Accurate reporting
  2. Misleading reporting (i.e. distorting real events, and fooling many people)
  3. Fake news (i.e. completely made up, but still pretending to be news, and fooling some people)
  4. Obviously false or 'pure fiction' (i.e. not even pretending to be news, and fooling no-one). You do get this kind of thing in the crappiest tabloids like the UK's Sunday Sport or maybe the US's National Enquirer. A well-known example in the UK was the front-page headline 'Freddie Starr [a TV comedian] ate my hamster'. (Such absurd stories evade the UK's strong libel laws if no reasonable person would believe them, so the more outrageous, the better.)

Which isn't exactly what the post is about, but might be a useful analogy, or source of terminology.

The focus produced by caffeine is enhanced by theanine (or L-theanine), which also counteracts jitters/headaches caffeine can otherwise induce. You can buy theanine in capsule form. Take 1-2 times as much theanine as caffeine. So for a cup of coffee (either brewed, or containing 2 shots espresso), which contains roughly 150mg caffeine, take say 200mg theanine.

You probably shouldn't routinely have more than 1 cup of (caffeinated) coffee a day if you want to avoid becoming tolerant of it, which removes its effects. And don't drink it in the afternoon or evening, to avoid disturbing your sleep (which may not be obvious, as your sleep can be disturbed even if you have no trouble falling asleep).

Alternatively drink tea, which has far less caffeine than coffee - so you can have as many cups as you like. Tea also contains some theanine (though rather less than the optimal dose).

I heard recently that sleepio is now prescribed by the UK's National Health Service, so has presumably been clinically demonstrated to be very effective.

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