Comment by itavero on Yoda Timers 2 · 2021-03-30T11:56:13.185Z · LW · GW

Please do! That's fascinating

Comment by itavero on Logan Strohl on exercise norms · 2021-03-30T11:54:10.053Z · LW · GW

"You'll feel so much better" and "it's healthy" were the main reasons I was told to start exercising. I guess that's true, but after lifting for 7 years consistently, the main thing I noticed that no one told me was "you'll gain this superpower of every social interaction being a bit tilted more in your favor". Getting a good haircut for the first time ever probably helped too. The difference in how I'm listened to and treated is clear - people are much more interested in what I have to say.

(Off topic, but I wish there was something like an aesthetician shop, focused empirically on appearing as good as possible. They could give you a haircut, recommend you clothes, do your eyebrows, etc. I think these exist but my guess is that the real thing is in a walled garden, i.e. you have to be somebody. I'd love this because I don't really care how I look personally - I'd want someone to figure that out for me)

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Final Exam · 2020-12-21T01:04:22.519Z · LW · GW

Commenting here to complete my 30 day streak. I'll write up my final exam sometime this week and edit this with a link. I really appreciated the sequence! A lot has happened over the last month and it was nice to have a Hammertime post to return to every day.

edit: Looks like I didn't keep my promise!

Comment by itavero on The Strategic Level · 2020-12-20T01:26:14.304Z · LW · GW

A while back in high school, a talented acquaintance of mine started promoting their music before it was good. They did the whole nine yards - bought fake social media followers, created their own fan pages, bought ads, a photoshoot, etc. They would not stop talking about their upcoming success in the music industry. Almost a decade later, they are working odd jobs, hoping to “blow up”.

The lesson I took from that (back then) was “do not promote until you have the finished product. Do not talk about what you do until it's good enough, just put your head down and get better." I spent almost a decade making unfinished project after unfinished project, unwilling to release or promote them because they weren't "good enough yet". I way overcompensated.

In this case, the cure was worse than the disease (even though I greatly improved) because putting out bad music wouldn't mean that I'd be known as a person who puts out bad music - I’d be known as “a person who puts out music”, which is a valuable thing. I'd be much more prone to positive black swan events from having my name out there. Plus, it's not like I would stop improving - I could've easily had the best of both worlds.

I'm now aiming at the synthesis of those two views - being humble and diligent about improving while being okay with putting out imperfect things. 80% of 1000 > 100% of 0.

Comment by itavero on Internal Double Crux · 2020-12-19T04:38:29.850Z · LW · GW

I IDC-ed the part of me that wants to go to bed and the part of me that wants to follow through on trying each day's exercise and posting a comment. I first named them "I should do what naturally feels good" and "I keep commitments". 

"Commitment" was the clear frontrunner (after all, I did do the exercise). There were the usual arguments about why it's good to keep promises to yourself, about how being that type of person pays dividends, etc. 

The other side surprised me. The first thing it said was "It's not about just doing what's most pleasurable, it's about being flexible". Woah. So I changed its name to "flexibility"and it began to feel like a disagreement between values instead of a fight between protagonist and antagonist (hedonism vs. virtue). 

Changing the first side's name opened the door to many more insights. I won't bore you with the details of all of them, but the main one was that "people can tell when I'm not flexible" and that they (and I) generally have a better time around me when I'm open and flexible. It also made me realize that I pretty much only commit to myself.

Comment by itavero on Silence · 2020-12-18T03:15:20.990Z · LW · GW

I tend to go into "info-scavenge" mode as a form of escapism. I think I've internalized an avoidance of overt escapism on a subconscious level - i.e, I get antsy and feel "wrong" if I try to play video games as a way of procrastinating. Instead, I find myself shallowly skimming for into by scrolling through YouTube recommendations but not watching videos, looking at link aggregators (HN, Reddit) but not the actual links, etc. It's like my brain found a loophole because that behavior is superficially similar to what "learning" looks like.

What would happen if every time you wanted to do that, you introspected instead?

I think it would be a big benefit. I'm not sure if "escapism-mode-me" would follow through. Recently I've been trying to go on walks without any goals other than thinking to myself. So far, after maybe 25 walks, I haven't regretted a single one and it has often been the highlight of my day.

Comment by itavero on CoZE 3: Empiricism · 2020-12-16T17:18:00.976Z · LW · GW

Overestimation: Running my first session in a legit music studio (after interning there) 

I had only mixed/produced music "in the box" (on my laptop with software) before and figured I could just sit down at the Neve and do everything else the same. Nope, it was a nightmare. We went 3 hours over on the first day because I had to figure out so much on the fly. The amount of unknown unknowns that came up was staggering - this mic uses phantom power, how does this work in Pro Tools, which input is the synth patched into, what button for talkback, etc. 

Luckily I got up to speed and now run sessions regularly, but that was a huge dose of reality.

Underestimation: Submitting a dev PR at work

Worked at a startup doing generalist tech/product things. I taught myself React and Python before starting but didn't think I was good enough to get a programming job. After talking to the devs they let me try out a ticket. I worked on it and submitted it. It got accepted and merged in. Later I realized, "this is programming". 

I was starting to do more dev work but the company shut down recently. Oh well. It gave me the confidence to learn more though.

Comment by itavero on Design 3: Intentionality · 2020-12-16T01:26:31.719Z · LW · GW

Praise: I appreciate your way of prodding the reader to question assumptions and unwritten rules. I feel like I'm getting a good sample of tools that have been genuinely useful to you, rather than something written purely for your ego.

Critique: I think the individual days could build on top of each other more, like prerequisites. I also think I'd benefit from doing the related days back to back, to build on familiarity with the concepts and techniques.

Are there particular people around whom you happen to always play Devil’s Advocate?

Yes, and I usually excuse it because I'm "trying to get to the truth" or something like that. But not everyone has signed up to play some epistemology game with me. Hm, I could probably be gentler, or at least somehow see if that's where the person wants to go with the conversation.

Comment by itavero on TAPs 3: Reductionism · 2020-12-15T01:46:42.668Z · LW · GW

Something is so satisfying about reductionism. Breaking things down does wonders for unlocking the "do anything" ability in me. Now the problem becomes aiming that superpower and following through, but it's still a great tool to have.

I like the amended exercise below for emotionally aversive tasks, specifically iterating through and finding the most painful step and breaking that one down specifically. 

Share anecdotes or data on how long it takes [intentions, projects, plans, relationships, careers, startups] to fail. What do the curves look like?

I've noticed a common theme in my life with things that end of: I. Solid, II. Wobble, III. Topple

  • Relationship is totally stable (months), notice some tension but nothing too crazy (months), relationship ends in a random 30 minute conversation
  • Startup is growing (years), some hiccups w/ large contracts (6 months), ends without warning in a single meeting
  • Consistently do habit (weeks/months), do habit but start fudging it for a week (bare minimum/changing expectations/cheating), miss a single day and completely stop
Comment by itavero on Yoda Timers 3: Speed · 2020-12-14T03:52:43.185Z · LW · GW
  • Ran a mile in 5:05
  • Typed the alphabet in 1.8 seconds
  • Wrote this in 15 seconds
Comment by itavero on Bug Hunt 3 · 2020-12-13T05:31:54.752Z · LW · GW

Are you better at achieving your values since Hammertime Day 1? If so, what helped?

I think so - the following themes have mainly stuck out in the past few weeks:

  • Noticing - paying a bit more attention to my reactions and inspecting them with more curiosity
  • Clarity - writing out my semi stream of consciousness here has shown me patterns in my thoughts that I couldn't see in my head
  • CoZE - I've been making an attempt to try new things and to notice when I have arbitrary unwritten rules
  • Doing rather than simulating - actually doing the exercises is much different than just thinking about them. Actually writing is much different than thinking about writing something. This has transferred a outside of Hammertime (I'm a broken record on this one)
  • Reductionism + recursion - Gives a great general framework for solving known unknowns
  • Trusting past me - I've noticed that I'm more willing to respect the choices and plans of the me of a few days/weeks ago. I'm tired currently, and I know it's arbitrary, but the me of 20 days ago said he would comment every day, so I'm going to respect his wishes and do it.

Overall, I think writing out my thoughts, CoZE, and trusting my past self have given me the biggest benefits so far, which surprises me.

Comment by itavero on Friendship · 2020-12-12T04:59:57.803Z · LW · GW

Socratic Ducking

I have a habit of "ad-hoc Socratic Ducking" in the sense that I will talk out loud to someone about an idea I'm thinking of and explore it in real time, trying to see what it's like and figure it out. The problem is that it can seem like I'm stating definite opinions about how the world works or a specific direction to take a project. This can get weird if it's a taboo topic or a project that involves the person I'm talking to.

I feel like the key with this is awareness and encouragement. Both parties should be aware that they're doing it, otherwise it can get complicated. If my partner doesn't encourage me to go deeper, I may get self-conscious and turn off the idea-generator.


I tried to do an abbreviated ITT once - we ended up arguing about the setup/rules (or doing it at all) instead. Many people seem to not even want to pretend they could understand the other side's viewpoint, as if it's so morally repugnant that the ideas are unspeakable. I think this is often a thin veil to cover up for the mismatch between the fragility of one's stance and the fervor they defend it with.


Some of my favorite conversations were with my college roommate as a freshman. Time became a limit - we had to choose what to talk about, otherwise we'd talk through the night. It felt like an all-you-can-eat-buffet of ideas and interesting thoughts - we started talking about something but then we'd see a new shiny thought somewhere else. So we started writing down the branches of our conversations so that we wouldn't get too lost. I don't think we ever really revisited it but it was a nice way to feel okay with deferring a certain branch of the conversation.

A lot of those branches still feel very open. Even though we haven't talked about some of them for years, we've been able to pick right back up on a few of them.

Looking forward to talking to you!

Comment by itavero on TDT for Humans · 2020-12-11T00:46:43.705Z · LW · GW

Hitting the "0" willpower level might be when something becomes part of your identity. It costs me willpower to not do cardio or lift for more than a day or so - something feels off and aversive about it, just like it used to in the reverse situation. The only downside is that I'm not very excited or proud of myself for doing a workout, it's just "normal". But that's life! I'm still glad I do it.

There are a few habits that I seem to drop once they get easy to do - I did yoga every day for a while but once it got easy and habitual I got bored and stopped. In retrospect I should've found a way to raise the difficulty, but for some reason that wasn't clear at the time. Consciously planning around "what should I do if this gets boring" would probably help. 

Comment by itavero on Goal Factoring · 2020-12-10T04:58:47.837Z · LW · GW

In Goal Factoring, does goal = motivation = desired outcome?

Hammertime aversions:

  • Currently procrastinating catching up on a few exercises
    • I want to follow through on my word to actually try every exercise
  • Perfectionism - don't want to consider a day finished until I've really done it
  • Lonely - I don't know anyone else IRL that would do this with me
    • I am highly motivated by social reenforcement
  • Feel guilty for not spending time on music/programming/career stuff
    • I am worried about the time I spend taxiing on the runway instead of just taking flight
    • Takes time and willpower
  • I often get distracted on the internet
  • My pomodoros/Yoda timers might be too short

Hammertime goals/motivations:

  • Get clarity on next actions in life + help strategize
  • Collect useful techniques
  • Practice "doing" instead of simulating
  • Introspection and personal problem solving
  • Collect low-hanging fruit and obvious things I've ignored
  • Clear up to-dos on my own terms
  • Write more
  • Contributing and interacting more
Comment by itavero on Focusing · 2020-12-09T03:22:37.092Z · LW · GW

There’s this feeling I get where I feel like my eyes are having a hard time focusing, I’m a little tired, and there’s a tingling in my forehead - like a precursor to a headache (almost like someone is hovering their finger between my eyebrows). I get this feeling if I’ve been doing empty, shallow, digital things for too long - glancing at headlines, procrastinating, etc.

I call it “malaise” or “UGH”. Not the most descriptive phrase, but putting a word to it helps me go, “oh I’m feeling that ‘malaise’ feeling, I should do X”.

Comment by itavero on Three Miniatures · 2020-12-08T03:02:51.914Z · LW · GW

Not a full technique but the seed of one - maybe it's an obvious idea, but most of the times I made major leaps forward were when I stopped wasting time on tangential things and just "stared at the sun". This is probably just a different name for deliberate practice. I need to remind myself that 70% of 100 is much bigger than 100% of 10 (doing an important thing passably vs. doing something unimportant perfectly).

Comment by itavero on CoZE 2 · 2020-12-07T00:31:46.203Z · LW · GW

I think courage is about getting comfortable with fear or doing the "right" action in spite of it. One of the things I'm most proud of was negotiating a raise. It went against all my social conditioning and was way out of my comfort zone. But say I negotiate raises 15 more times in my life. Is the 15th negotiation that courageous? Maybe it looks courageous externally, but internally I don't think I'd feel it as much as the first one because my comfort zone has probably shifted. So maybe a measure of courage would be how far past your cozy set point you're willing to go.

Comment by itavero on Design 2 · 2020-12-06T02:43:05.326Z · LW · GW

Never let your calendar become your tyrant. - I feel called out (and added a medium-large bug)! When I make calendar events I take them very seriously. This has been great for making myself following through on difficult things, but it also leads me to be stressed out if things don't go according to plan (less spontaneity or doing things on a whim). I want to be more flexible but I also want to take my habits seriously. There's a lot of tension here that I'm going to try to figure out more through the rest of this challenge - probably around adding more slack to my calendar.

Comment by itavero on TAPs 2 · 2020-12-04T19:06:03.489Z · LW · GW

A few resets of differing magnitudes:

  • In the 6 months before I stopped believing in God I became extremely religious. Same sort of thing happened with my political beliefs
  • So that I could fund my music career, I was learning linear algebra and Python to get a better job. A few months into it I realized I wasn't working on music at all and may have been using programming and math as a pernicious procrastination mechanism. Now I'm still learning, but instead of letting it take my music time, I let it take my Netflix time.
  • Reading Infinite Jest taught me that I don't need to get caught up in a game of irony/sarcasm, signalling and counter-signalling, and pretending not to care. I don't need to signal intelligence though negativity or complexity for complexity's sake. Reading that book cleared out a lot of toxicity in me
Comment by itavero on Yoda Timers 2 · 2020-12-04T03:14:03.921Z · LW · GW

Idea I haven’t had time to express:

My brand of social anxiety (so I’m assuming others have it too) might come from the combinatorial explosion of more people in a group - thus more paths of information flows. I find it very easy to talk to someone 1 on 1, and I can usually have a good conversation with anyone. But once the group gets a bit bigger, I think I get a bit scrambled by trying to simulate all of the potential flows of information and feedback loops.

I think this is where politics (at a very basic level) can come from - once you hit 4 people in a group, you have 24* different permutations/factions/sub-groups.

So my thinking here is that I might be using an inefficient “theory of mind simulator” for more complicated scenarios, but I’m also interested in the System Theory of small groups (like bands).

*(I think?)

That was tough! I took 7 minutes. Thank you for prompting me to think about that, I want to learn more and flesh it out. I’m circling around something but haven’t quite captured it yet.

Comment by itavero on Bug Hunt 2 · 2020-12-03T03:26:11.550Z · LW · GW

I'd like to win a Grammy one day. It's hard to not qualify that, or hem and haw, or excuse it. But honestly, I'd like to.

Not too many identity-related bugs came up for me, but maybe that's because I can't even see the things past my current identity. I'll be thinking about this more. 

Brainstorming around pica brought out a lot of bugs. I noticed sometimes it's easier to catch the pica than to fill the void that's left. Example: I play (real) guitar at a high level, but Guitar Hero is much more addicting in the short term, probably due to clear iterative improvement and overall lack of ambiguity - there is a clear thing to do; hit all the notes on the highest difficulty level. It's hard for me to figure out how to fulfill this need. Tracking pomodoros is the closest I've gotten to channeling this positively. 

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 10: Murphyjitsu · 2020-12-02T01:03:07.803Z · LW · GW

This technique has stuck with me since I read about it a year ago. It's very useful to do a quick pass with it - a single iteration can make a plan ~1.2x more likely to succeed. I tend to do the "pre-mortem" in my head quickly when using it.

I know I'm not using it to its full power. This time, for my central life goal, I'm going to fully write it out and iterate until I would be shocked. It might take a long time but this is worth it. Plus, I'll probably learn a lot about this technique and what does or doesn't work.

I already started but I'll probably finish up tomorrow. Since I resolved (in the spirit of Sunk Cost Faith) to comment on this every day, I'll leave this here for now and edit my comment tomorrow to include what I've learned.

edit: I did about 10 iterations of my Very Important Plan today but I'm still not done. I'll update tomorrow.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 9: Time Calibration · 2020-11-30T15:03:07.881Z · LW · GW

The "creeping dread" you mentioned is why Structured Procrastination doesn't work for me, even if it helps me get more things done. The feeling of dread and guilt I get can be so strong that it takes over my whole experience. Maybe it would work for me if I was self-employed - i.e, if my number one task was just a personal project. (and maybe the author addresses this - I haven't read too much into it).

Worst case of planning fallacy

  • Not serious, but recent: My dad asked for help replacing a shutter on the side of the house - it would take "only 15 - 20 minutes tops". I factored in the planning fallacy and expected it to take an hour. It took 3 hours. Hofstadter's Law strikes again.

I've noticed I'm too pessimistic on the micro but too optimistic on the macro. I'll estimate that a small task on a song (like quantizing the drums) will take 4 hours and finishing the song itself will take like 2 weeks. When I actually quantize the drums, it only takes 45 minutes. Yet finishing the song takes 2 months, even though it's made up of small tasks that don't take as much time as I thought. Most of my time wasted tends to come from avoiding doing those small tasks. The avoidance itself might come from feeling like these small tasks take forever, even though I have a lot of evidence that it doesn't.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 8: Sunk Cost Faith · 2020-11-29T22:56:29.778Z · LW · GW

I think you're right and I appreciate this post a lot. You described a lot of experiences I've had but your random walk example is something I'll remember for a long time. Just as I should do more favors for my future self, I should have more faith in my past self. 

"Finishing things" is a skill I would love to get better it. It's difficult because most of my internal motivation for projects come from the first 60% - 90% of it, but almost all of the social or external rewards come from finishing the thing (and the long tail of chores in the last 1% - 5%). So I end up doing a lot of "internally impressive" things, but having nothing to show for it (unreleased compositions, unused skills/knowledge, etc).

There are many benefits I'm missing out on from not having faith in past me and pushing through the last few steps. Thank you for making me think about that.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 7: Aversion Factoring · 2020-11-29T01:10:11.581Z · LW · GW

Share a trivial inconvenience that might have dramatic consequences

  • I didn't have my band's email logged in on my phone so I never checked it. I missed a few important emails/opportunities.

I have an important "ugh" task I have to do by early next week, so I picked that as one of my things to try this on. I felt like I needed more time, so I changed my rules slightly: I listed aversions for 5 minutes each, then spent 10 minutes working on the sub-aversions for each. I haven't finished yet. 

This sets off a small alarm bell in my head - I might be spending more time on the exercise as a way to avoid actually doing the things. Regardless, I'm going to try to finish this exercise today even if it takes a little longer than expected. 

I feel like this is a powerful exercise. I need to practice it a few more times to find ways to tailor it more to me.

Also, I'm a bit fuzzy on when to say I don't endorse something. Is the heuristic something like "when the best way to solve the sub-aversion is to just find a way to (emotionally) get over it?"

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 6: Mantras · 2020-11-27T17:48:53.532Z · LW · GW

"It's okay to care" -  I repeat this mantra when I notice I'm stopping myself from caring.

I was a nerd and a bit of a social outcast growing up. Nothing too extreme, but enough to feel different and lonely at times. I was always interested and obsessed with things but when I'd go to share it I'd usually get a "who cares" kind of response. Eventually, this morphed into an internal edict: "It is not cool to care". Liking something makes you vulnerable and I liked a lot of things.

I ended up going to a good college. Lots of math, art, philosophy, and film nerds - I met a lot of people who cared and it was great, but there was also a lot of "care-shaming" in a different direction. Namely, if you liked something that wasn't nerd-approved or subversive enough it was very much not cool.

Sometimes I just want to watch baseball and unironically care about it. I had a lot of moments like "Yes yes I know that Chomsky said sports are just 'training in irrational jingoism' but please, just let me go to a bar and get excited about the Super Bowl without having to justify it." Let me care in peace.

When someone cares about something harmless, I do whatever I can to let them have it, even if I don't care about it.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 5: Comfort Zone Expansion · 2020-11-27T02:44:14.533Z · LW · GW

While brainstorming I came up with a list with items like "learn Japanese", "make a game in Unity", etc., but I realized that these probably aren't outside of my comfort zone. I really want to do those things, I just haven't yet. Commenting here, writing lyrics, or watching horror movies, on the other hand, are definitely things that are outside of my comfort zone. I get a slightly nervous feeling when I think about them.

So I tried to redirect and focus more on things that brought out that feeling. I noticed a common class of them were about expressing myself emotionally in front of others. This felt like a useful feeling to finally put into words.

There's a whole web of unwritten rules and many doors that I keep closed, I just wish I could think of more banal/prosaic things to expand into. Like what day-to-day power-ups do I not allow myself to use? What obvious or fundamental skills am I missing because I'm focusing on the "impressive" stuff? I hope to explore this more in the other CoZE days.

Share a story about finding something shiny by exploring past your comfort zone.

  • My girlfriend egged me on to audition for an indie band I liked in college. That is definitely not something I was comfortable with - even just reaching out to someone I didn't know scared (and still scares) me. But I auditioned and got the part. I didn't even think ahead - this now meant I had to play shows. In front of people. YIKES.
  • For the past 3 years, every single show was a CoZE. The first few were pure terror. Thankfully they were very small at first. Eventually the shows got much bigger - we were about to play our biggest show yet before Covid hit.
  • I still get scared before every show but I've gotten through it every time. My bandmates are my best friends and I've had some of the best experiences in my life from this. Younger me would be proud.
Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 4: Design · 2020-11-26T02:06:49.367Z · LW · GW

Before I set the timer, I looked around my room for things to change. Nothing excited me too much. The feeling I got was something like "none of this moves the needle." The optimistic devil's advocate in me responded with "well maybe it's the accumulation of these little things that moves the needle, just try it anyway".*

So I set the timer for 5 minutes and wrote down a few things. While writing, I realized the most important space for me is digital - specifically the software I use to make music. There are many up-front costs I haven't paid - namely organizing samples, creating templates for faster workflows, naming certain channel strips by default, etc. This got me much more excited because I could already see the impact this will have. It'll take a lot longer than 5 minutes though, so I decided to do it later today after 2nd part of the challenge.

2nd timer:

  • I put a command hook on my desk for my headphones. Now I have more room on my desk. Satisfying.
  • I ordered a dock and another monitor for my laptop from Amazon - more desk space, more screen real estate, and less plugging in cords. Felt like I splurged a bit - I expected that feeling. I'm trying to be more okay with spending money on things that help me.

I feel like I could benefit from doing today's challenge a few more times but I'll wait until the other design days before repeating this one.

* I've noticed that this voice in my head (the "simulator") has a jaded, even pseudo-omniscient, personality. Phrases like "oh don't worry, that won't work" or "no no no, you wouldn't like that" come up. Maybe it's the voice of status quo bias.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 3: TAPs · 2020-11-24T12:51:23.266Z · LW · GW

Summon Sapience: When I look at my birthmark on my hand. 

I used to have these flashes of extreme clarity as kid, the feeling being "I am here". I found that I could make it happen on command but didn't think anything of it other than it being a unique feeling. When I use that clarity in my adult life, I either smile a bit and appreciate life or become very aware of what I should be doing (and the feeling of not doing it). I don't think it helps me break out of akrasia but it's probably a step forward.

My personal track record with TAPs is so-so. The TAPs that have worked for me before tended to be part of habits/activities I was motivated to do anyway. When that motivation faded, so did the associated TAP.

However, I don't think I ever practiced (while installing) or adjusted them - I just tried to do it and got frustrated with myself when I didn't. So, two meta-TAPs for keeping me on track:

  • When installing a TAP -> set a timer for 5 minutes (to practice it)
  • When I fail a TAP card in Anki -> ask myself why it failed (to change it eventually)

I didn't notice the "add a TAP a day" part of this post before - I will resolve to do that. I like the idea of TAPs a lot and I need the practice before I decide how well they work for me.

Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 2: Yoda Timers · 2020-11-23T20:02:48.029Z · LW · GW

I had a strong urge to skip bugs when casually doing this exercise last month. The following thoughts came up:

  • This one isn't actually an easy bug, move it to level 2 or 3
  • This one can't be fixed without a change to my habits, which almost by definition can't be done in a single 5 minute session
  • I could fix this with a purchase but the price of the item is higher than the benefit of the having the bug gone (i.e, I would not pay $150 for this bug to go away, but I would still consider this a bug)

Writing this out helped me figure out some potential antidotes for this round. Here's what I told myself:

  • Who cares. Do them in order. Try it for 5 minutes (you'll be surprised how wrong your simulation is)
  • Even if you can't find the answer, brainstorming for 5 minutes might get you closer
  • If the bug is too abstract, breaking it up into more concrete pieces is a good use of 5 minutes

Bugs fixed this time

  1. Need new underwear and socks: googled, read some quick reviews, and ordered. Very satisfying, took 10 minutes
  2. Can't find a nail file: texted family group chat and was lead to one within 30 seconds. Felt kinda magical, took 1.5 minutes total
  3. Don't know my greek letters: Downloaded an anki deck of them after reading a few reviews of different options. 3 minutes total (this isn't solved per se, but it will now take care of itself)

Bugs worked on but not fixed

  1. I don't watch the movies on my "to watch" list - I'll scroll through Netflix trying to find the perfect one, give up, and watch nothing
    • I ended up brainstorming 8 possible fixes and reflecting on this. It's an unassumingly tricky bug.
    • Brainstorming for 5 minutes made me think about how I spend my free time; a not-small percentage goes to me neither enjoying myself nor being productive (watching YouTube videos I don't like, flitting from headline to headline, etc).
      • (IIRC) there's a part in Infinite Jest where a character's phone rings at the same time the doorbell rings and he gets so perfectly stuck between the two possible actions that he gets (psychologically) torn apart and paralyzed, unable to take either action, plunged into a valley of misery, made worse by the fact that he's aware of the self-imposed nature of his paralysis
        • I often feel like this when I get stuck while picking between doing something productive or (harmlessly) hedonic - at the minimum I could be enjoying myself. The worst case is being stuck in between with a vague panicky-yet-tired feeling I get, doing something neither productive, enjoyable, or necessary
          • This thought made the brainstorm worth it and I'll likely revisit it
  2. Redness around nose:
    • I've tried to fix this with a face-cream recommended from Reddit before, but didn't really see any fix. This bug has a slight hopeless vibe to it, but I did the 5 minute timer anyway
    • Researched again and found that I might've been using the cream wrong. Though in another thread many people expressed frustration with their inability to fix it even after seeing a dermatologist.
    • I decided that I will try the new face-cream technique for 3 days. If it doesn't get better from that I'll delete this bug. I'm the king of my list and that is how I will it
Comment by itavero on Hammertime Day 1: Bug Hunt · 2020-11-22T19:49:27.808Z · LW · GW

I read this sequence almost a year ago. It helped me figure some things out, but I felt like I didn't get enough reps in - some days I just read the posts and simulated myself doing something instead of actually doing it.

Here's my plan/experiment this time:

  • I made it a goal for the past 30 days to read each post in the sequence and reflect, experiment a bit and not hold myself to too high of a standard (basically what I did last year)
  • Now I'm going to dedicate a portion of my day to really trying the exercises and techniques in each post - doing rather than just simulating. If one technique seems especially fecund, I might spend two days on it
  • I will post a comment for each day, introspecting and explaining my experiences as openly as possible. (For many reasons: tie me to the mast, social CoZE, etc.)

I came up with 170 bugs this time.

Weirdest bug fix: Switching from wired headphones (while sleeping) to wireless ones.

  • I need to listen to a podcast in order to fall asleep (a bug in itself), but I shared (pre-covid) a bed with my girlfriend and didn't want to annoy her with the audio.
  • I was procrastinating sleeping because I'd get sucked into my phone while picking a podcast, which would often lead me to wake up late for work stressed out and tired.
  • Since my headphones were wired I'd have to sleep with my phone in my bed, which lead me to stare at it first thing in the morning and use it my entire commute.
  • Getting wireless headphones enabled me to play a podcast, put my phone in my backpack across the room, and go to sleep with the podcast still playing.
  • This bug is now obsolete as I moved out of the city during the pandemic, but I'm hoping to be able to fix a few more like this in the next month.

I made an account just for this, having lurked LW for the past year or so - apologies if I break any rules, please let me know.