Written by LW user Simon Berens.

This is part of LessWrong for EA, a LessWrong repost & low-commitment discussion group (inspired by this comment). Each week I will revive a highly upvoted, EA-relevant post from the LessWrong Archives, more or less at random

Excerpt from the post:

Like most tech bros, I’m a little too interested in productivity and optimizing my life. I’ve even made a few of my own tools to help me stay focused and efficient. In the process of trying to find and build the best productivity tools possible, I discovered common elements among all the productivity tools I found most effective. 

I call such tools elastic, because of their similarities to rubber bands. And so, elastic tools

  • stretch, meaning that they’re designed to allow for some leeway
  • snap back, i.e. after stretching they automatically go back to their intended form
  • don’t break, in the sense that you can never stretch them too far

Elastic tools are a marked improvement over standard tools, which typically

  • are brittle, allowing no leeway
  • don’t help you get back on track
  • end up getting ditched

(Full Post on LW)

Please feel free to,




Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since:

LessWrong for EA seems like a great idea, and a pretty mediocre specific post to choose - it's very recent, not particularly strongly upvoted by the LW community, and doesn't contribute any of the things I have been excited about seeing from  LessWrong for EA.

Thank you for the feedback! I agree that it's not the best one I've reposted. I haven't had much time for digging in the LW archives lately though and I came across it, and it actually helped me make some concrete improvements to productivity, so I thought it could possibly help others. I am realizing now that I may be more excited about the productivity-hack genre than most, so I will keep that in mind moving forward. 

If you haven't checked out the ~30 earlier reposts, you can find them by clicking on the tag. I would be surprised if you didn't find that stuff higher quality as they are mostly older and higher karma. Feel free to tag your own reposts as well. I think it would be great to have a collection of stuff that doesn't just reflect my tastes/interests, and I am not sure how frequently I will be able to keep posting at this point.

I have been using Focusmate* for a while now and this post helped me realize that one of my biggest failure modes with it was not having sessions setup to begin each day. I would use it a lot for a while and then get out of the habit and my productivity would gradually start to suffer and it took me some time to realize and get back into it. 

Now I have been booking first sessions out for two weeks. It's flexible in that I can always cancel it if something comes up, but I usually won't and it's elastic in that even if I bail on it for the good part of a day, my first session is setup by default for me for the next day. Usually that's enough to get and keep me on track. 

*A service that matches you with video co-working partners for accountability. More about it and EA group details here.

More from Jeremy
Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities