This is a linkpost for the same question on LW.
About a month ago, /u/batislu on /r/SlateStarCodex posted the question "How do you spend your "dead" time productively?". I read this thread, and found myself relieved (because of the admonitions to chill out), but also frustrated (because of the lack of real answers to the question).
With the urgency entailed by extinction risks etc., "just chilling" during dead time can (for many of us) feel undoable. Or, at least, undoable some of the time.
Assume, for many of us, our day job / school does little to directly help, at the highest levels, with the kinds of important problems discussed here. (This is a good time to remind everyone that these opinions are both hypothetical, and solely my own (not my employer's).)
Then the questions become:
- What, if anything, can be done in the tired "between-time" after work?
- Can it help with any of the following?:
- Directly helping work on AI safety / global risks.
- Upskilling quickly enough to contribute substantially to the previous thing.
- Improving one's health/intelligence/financial independence enough to be in a better position (in the near term, like less than a year) to help with the first thing.
Some answers of the format and specificity being looked for here:
- "Join this org's Discord and critique their ideas, if you find argument/feedback a relaxing/low-stress activity."
- "Do 1 small unit of this easily-spit-uppable low-chance-of-getting-stuck MOOC per day."
- "Find a type of exercise, like X Y or Z, that you find fun, and do that once per day."
- "Here's a list of activities many people I know find productive and relaxing, see if any apply to you: ..."
Note that the goal is not to replace all of one's dead time with something productive (unless it's possible to do without crashing and burning lol).
The goal is to keep moving forward at things that would realistically help solve important problems. (Then our guilt/anxiety will be assuaged enough to actually enjoy/recharge the rest of our dead time.)
Something I haven't tried but might be interesting is to volunteer to complete tasks you find interesting/relaxing/fun for EA orgs (e.g. graphic design or copyediting). You can find opportunities on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1392613437498240/), Impact CoLabs (https://www.impactcolabs.com/) and EA Work Club (https://www.eawork.club/)
Spreadsheet for categorizing opportunities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tJtJ6lpIjE7Dv5hUo_HCXb8mNGYvDgiQSQYvNfJGJyU/edit#gid=1264761950