Zachary Robertson

Zachary Robertson's Comments

What Resources on Journal Analysis are Available?

Well, the ordering refers to where the entry is. It’s possible to make edits after the fact. For instance, I correct typos whenever I see them. However, I don’t ‘delete’ entries.

What Resources on Journal Analysis are Available?

Yeah, linear means that you fill in the journal so that new entries always go at the end (new page). Entries are appended to a list of prior entries.

George's Shortform

I kind of took this in another way. I struggled to keep up a gym-habit until I started seeing it as a way to manage stress. Before that I had these weird/vague motivations of going for things like strength improvement / get ripped / physical health and they never really kept me motivated. Going to manage stress is about as robust to stress as you can get. It similarly helped me establish habits of journaling/meditation. While I have more nuanced motivations for my habits now, that original grain of motivation started the whole thing.

But paradoxically, people will probably tend to talk about fragile habits more, since it's easy to put the easy-to-follow ones in the background and not think of them as such.

I do think that the kind of habits that can attach themselves to this motivation are usually foundational things. For example, I still struggle to keep a dream journal simply because this motivation doens't work.

The Zettelkasten Method

I agree with your sentiment. There is something about working with a physical object that a screen doesn't capture. I think it's kind of an object permanence thing where having a physical handle makes it easier to remember where things are whereas if you have a screen then more cognitive effort has to be expended. I feel this effect most strongly with books, but that's getting a bit on a tangent.

I definitely think digital formats are still worth using sometimes (for me). I think a lot of this depends on the particular person.

I agree with this also. The reason I use digital is because I write scripts to manage my journal and to-do lists. I basically got sick of having a growing stack of notebooks I'd never have the time organize and wanted a better solution. This is a real problem. I have notebooks from when I was a kid that I occasionally want to reference and then I realize they're 1k miles away at home.

The Zettelkasten Method

Interesting point. Perhaps it's the enhanced attention usually associated with trying something new that enables people to pay closer attention to their thoughts while writing notes using a new method. This could possibly lead to higher retention of creative thoughts.

The Zettelkasten Method

I strongly recommend trying out Zettelkasten on actual note-cards, even if you end up implementing it on a computer. There's something good about it that I don't fully understand. As such, I would advise against trusting other people's attempts to distill what makes Zettelkasten good into a digital format -- better to try it yourself, so that you can then judge whether alternate versions are improvements for you.

I really wish you'd spent more time talking about this. Having a bulk of the article concerned with physical storage issues seems to indicate that it's a bug and not a feature of the method. I have a few thousand journal entries on my computer at the moment. While I could physically print everything out optimized for physical search I don't because it'd simply take to long to sort through the cards.

Sustainability is what determines whether or not I stick to a method. It doesn't matter how great the method is if I'm going to stop using it after a while. I need methods that can last for a lifetime. Honestly, the biggest problem with Zettelkasten methods is simply a lack of imagination. What if you could dynamically resort the indices? It'd be amazing if you could define 'current interests' and then the indices would be optimized to allow you to search faster for that stuff. What if it really was a second brain? It'd be cool if the journal could resort itself or offer suggestions for what to write next. These are things that encourage a move towards digital options.

Announcement: Writing Day Today (Thursday)

It seems as though the posts could’ve been released on a schedule instead of all at once.

Is there a user's manual to using the internet more efficiently?

It's a great reference! I see this as an edge case where you effectively have an answer, but you need the correct pointer to get there. I think a compliment to this is the case where you need good leads for finding an answer. For example, a journalist might need good leads to write an expose.

The Planning Problem

W(x) - V(x) = max(W(x) - V(x)) > 0

The maximum is over the domain. I'm not sure how your example is escaping from the hierarchy paradigm. I do consider the idea of having undetermined sub-tasks.

When we make plans we oftentimes will create tasks that themselves require further planning. It seems perfectly reasonable that we could simply "call" our meta-plan on these sub-tasks to reduce the effect of human bias.

You seem concerned about why I choose to characterize the policy by how well it compresses the task. While it was possible to do a sort of 'interleaving' as you suggest from a technical point of view it makes no difference since compression transitions are assumed to be Markov. This translates to an assumption that planning ability depends only on what you currently have planned.

Practically speaking I should assume that the transitions are Markov and depend on both what has been planned and what has been executed. My argument rests on the idea that in expectation there's no difference between the two strategies since what you plan for will in expectation match what happens.

The moment you start trying to build up a more complicated model it becomes clear that you can't simply account for what has been executed in terms of a scalar. Otherwise what I just said is reinforced. In that case, you need to model how tasks are being created, prioritized, and executed. This is difficult to the point of being useless as a tool to understand what I was interested in.

I think we agree that the only way forward is to simply assume that this 'meta'-policy can be invoked recursively. This is hard. Naively I'd hope for sub-task modularity/independence and additivity of the effectiveness 'meta'-policy.

Hopefully, it's clearer why it's impossible to go further without a good model for how tasks are sub-divided. It's all too easy to run into Zeno-like paradoxes where it's either impossible to plan due to compounding sub-task over-head or you can slice-up a task into infinitesimal dust. This is getting too long for a comment. I'll leave it there.