The following quotes from the current Will McAskill podcast episode of 80,000 hours seem a weird combination to me:
Time-boxing and to-do lists
Tim Harford ist not convinced that it is a good idea to plan activities in advance and allocate them to blocks of calendar time, so-called "Timeboxing". Instead, you should prioritize everything and, so as not to let work expand beyond all limits, set deadlines. He refers to a study where students were supposed to plan their time daily instead of fixing rough, monthly goals. The daily "plans backfired disastrously: day after day, the daily planners would fall short of their intentions and soon became demotivated, spending less time on studying and falling behind over the course of the academic year. The more amorphous monthly planners proved far more successful, presumably because they had more flexibility to adapt to events, as well as wasting less time fiddling around with their calendars. A plan that is too specific soon lies in tatters." Harford himself is convinced of flexibility: "It is clear that some people have made timeboxing work for them. ... For me, however, my To Do list is long, and my diary is as clear as I can keep it."
It is fantastic if you can work in such a goal-oriented way, without requiring inner nudges - but exactly that is what timeboxing can provide. Allocating activities (more or less) to fixed blocks of time creates, at least that is probably the hope here, an inner positive attitude towards the planned work.
What about the time-wasting "fiddling around with their calendars" that Harford mentions? Whoever is able to just do whatever is currently important will, of course, not need that. But it is often difficult to say exactly what is really important in a given moment. Therefore the inclination to procrastinate unpleasant tasks joins the inclination to play down the tasks' importance in the respective moment. The solution may be to accept in advance that some things have to be done. Some people can accept that for whatever is on their to-do lists. Others will have to accept that whatever is planned for (possible every) wednesday, 14:00 is important.
"Timeboxing" as planning your whole life in advance seems indeed unrealistic and creates the lack of flexibility that Harford mentions. However, acknowledging that you have to do certain things periodically is already part of e.g. David Allen's Getting Things Done that Harford refers to, because GTD strictly includes Weekly Reviews. If you have to cope with a long to-do list in your weekly review, that is of course work-intensive, and it will be demotivating if there is a lot from the previous work, month etc that has not yet been completed (or not even started).
The pragmatic solution - for people who do not feel able to just execute a to-do list - is probably to fix certain time blocks in advance at least for certain high-priority activities: Weekly Review, Weekend family stuff, gym, etc., based on your experiences. This avoids that planning becomes too detailed, while still giving your life a structure and your mind a feeling of commitment. To avoid the high work amount necessary for planning, it is useful to be able to use many of the same time boxes every week. As a side effect, this may create both ritual and conscious leisure-time.
Also note that Timeboxing is basically unavoidable if you want to coordinate with other people. Every appoint is timeboxing, and only if you are an extremely important person can you completely drop that. Harford's example is Arnold Schwarzenegger:
"Mr Schwarzenegger reportedly kept his diary clear as a film star, and even tried to do so when he was governor of California. “Appointments are always a no-no. Planning ahead is a no-no,” he once said. Visitors had to treat the Governator like a walk-in restaurant — show up and hope for the best."
This seems not only impolite but also unrealistic (when you are an actor for a movie, you have to show up at certain times), but may be more possible the more powerful you are. However, for your personal life, if you want to go running with a friend once a week, coordinated timeboxing strongly reduces coordination costs and also creates commitment (and, again, ritual).
So, rules of thumb. Planning something like 60-80% of your time while having the rest of the time as a flexibility buffer seems sensible. If you can do the same activitiy at the same time each week, that's often a good idea. If you feel you need to plan more or less, do so. To avoid the bad feeling of unaccomplished to-do list items, regular delete those you won't do anyway (I think that's done in Complice) or put them on a someday/maybe list.
While 5% is alarming, you should notice that abukeki did not update much because of the crisis (if I understand it correctly), and so if your prior is lower than it should possibly stay lower.
As this is (probably) central to coordination: is there something like a clear decisionmaking structure to decide what "the community" actually wants (i.e., what is "ursuing EA goals", concretely, in a given situation if there are trade-offs)? Is there an overview/explanation of this structure?
Your Richland-Poorland example is indeed illustrative, thanks. However, it seems the problem caused by immigration does not only occur when incomes in Richland were equalized before the immigration, but rather they also occur when people care about the degree of income inequality in their own country. So if Richlanders are free-market fans, but they do not like domestic inequality, they will want to keep the Poorlanders out.
However, socialism and open borders don't mix well, because once you turn a society into a giant workers' co-op, adding new members always comes at the expense of the current members.
Why should that be the case? Wealth and income of this giant worker's co-op are not fixed, and why shouldn't they scale with the number of members?
However, if journalists just do opinion-writing on their substack, and that kind of journalism becomes dominant, these boundaries may dissolve. That is not necessarily a good thing, though.
This is really interesting. Thanks for the report.
Is the topic of arms trade that he mentions considered in the EA community?
Wie definieren wir große Koalition?