Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

Yeah, I can imagine this being useful. One does sometimes encounter cases where unclear preferences lead to accidentally skipping endorsedly-best tasks.

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

I haven't used it for that, but it sounds like a good application; and in this case, you only need to select one thing, so you can do it memorylessly (just keep your finger on the active dish).

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

Can you clarify your question? I started writing a response, but then realised I wasn't sure if I was interpreting it correctly.

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

Right, for a single pass it's a find-the-maximum-element algorithm in O(n).

I think if you eventually do every task on the list it's equivalent to sorting the list? But this basically never happens to me. 

Presumably intermediate states (doing e.g. half the items) is of intermediate efficiency? But my grasp of the underlying theory here is pretty weak.

Why are young, healthy people eager to take the Covid-19 vaccine?

It's not often I see someone claim that the US medical regulation system is too lax.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was halted in the US for a month on the basis of a single, potential adverse event. Huge numbers of lives were on the line, and the US regulators were willing to hold up one of the frontrunner vaccine candidates for weeks on the basis of the faintest hint of unsafety.

There might be long-term adverse effects of the vaccine we don't know about, though no-one I've heard speak about vaccines seems to think these are likely to be severe; most vaccines are very safe. But if the FDA gives approval we can confidently assume that, at least over the timescale of the trial, the vaccine is extremely safe. In fact, we can assume we have far too much evidence of safety, that it should have been approved on the basis of substantially less evidence than we have.

As far as efficacy is concerned, as I understand it the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have very simple designs (which were pre-approved by the – again, extremely over-conservative – FDA) and are overseen by an independent data-monitoring organisation. So while I agree their incentives are perverse, their ability to distort the data should be relatively limited. 

(Here's a piece claiming the same is not true of the AZ/Oxford vaccine; I'm not sure how to evaluate this, but it's worth noting that the author is explicitly contrasting their data with the much more reliable Pfizer and Moderna data.) 

I also think you're excessively sceptical of the evidence of long-term risks from COVID in young people. But in my case, avoiding a significant risk of (a) a really unpleasant and really long (multi-week) illness, and (b) accidentally killing people is sufficient for me to want to take a vaccine as soon as possible, even without a (in my estimation quite small, but nontrivial) risk of long-term sequelae.

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

This sounds like it could work. I might well try this. Thanks!

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

At least partially it seems like part of the benefit of the system forces you to look at and confront things that you've been trying to avoid.

Definitely agree with this.

In my own life and also in my work as a procrastination coach, I've found these sorts of methods that through brute force cause you to have to look at things you're avoiding often have a shelf-life. Eventually, it seems like people's avoidance mechanisms reassert themselves through meta-avoidance like avoiding using the technique, or avoiding adding certain items to your list.

I'm curious how long you've been using this algorithm, and if you've encountered any of this meta-avoidance.

My usage of FVP has fluctuated a fair amount over time; I used it a lot in the last year of my PhD, then not much in the year after that, then have since started using it regularly again. I think this is at least partly due to my life in the intervening time being very unstable, which disrupted a lot of my systems.

I don't think I've started avoiding adding items to the list. I do think my usage of FVP may have become gradually less effective at having me do difficult tasks. As using the technique becomes more routine, I become less agent-y while doing it, which leads to that aspect of the technique becoming less effective. In particular, if the same item is on the list day after day, it becomes increasingly easy to skip over it until the rest of the list is empty (which never happens).

I don't think this decay effect is all that strong so far: I think I'm still substantially better at doing important-but-aversive tasks with FVP than I'd be without it. But I wouldn't be too surprised if the decay was stronger than I thought, or gets substantially stronger in the future. I do think I could probably "refresh" this aspect of the technique's effectiveness if I put some effort into it, e.g. by forcing myself to use an explicit verbal question to choose between tasks, or mixing up the phrasing of that question.

Final Version Perfected: An Underused Execution Algorithm

Mark Forster (who originated the technique) puts a lot of emphasis on the exact phrasing of the question you use to decide between tasks. I'm sceptical that it's all that important; I think it's fine to experiment with different phrasings and see what works for you. There might even be benefits to switching up the exact phrasing from time to time, e.g. to keep you focused and agent-y while doing it.

After using the technique extensively, it's become more of a nonverbal feeling for me than an explicit question. It's nontrivial for me to exactly describe the feeling: some combination of desire, obligation, and endorsed choice-worthiness. The nonverbal version is both faster and mentally easier, but it's plausible to me that explicitly switching back to a verbal question from time to time is worth it.

Spoiler-Free Review: The Stanley Parable

Worth noting that there's a new expanded version coming out next(?) year.

Not sure how that should affect first-time players, but I'm delaying a replay until it comes out.

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