What I am thinking about at the moment 🤓 and why my profile is not my full name 😶
Effective altruism community building 🏕️
I used to do a lot of effective altruism community building and I am currently thinking about how the effective altruism community can maximize its expected impact, given the rapidly changing conditions.
My own personal productivity and wellbeing bottlenecks : why I think prioritising working on these is important, progress I have made and my current challenges
I suspect that working on my personal productivity and wellbeing bottlenecks is a great way for me to increase how much impact I can expect to have over my career.
I am currently focused on working out how to become much more reliable than I am/have been in the past.
In particular, I am working on finishing my top priority tasks in a timely manner, becoming better calibrated on what commitments I can and cannot meet, getting better at promising the 5th percentile scenario rather than the 50th (or the 95th) and on becoming better at quick communication when plans break. I find this quite challenging for a number of reasons (one of those reasons being a cluster of personality traits that got me an ADHD diagnosis and another being a number of non-ADHD mental health/self-esteem issues that I'm slowly but surely working through).
Progress I have made so far 🤩: I have become much more self-compassionate over the years which has helped a lot with a lot of the mental health struggles I've had.
I have a process that works for getting me to consistently start on my top priority (but is very time-consuming and maybe only works consistently when I control enough of the variables, e.g. I'm not sure it would work if I had a very different home environment and work environment to the ones I have now).
My next challenges 🧗🏼: I struggle to keep the scope narrow enough to finish a lot of what I start. I finish what I want to finish some of the time, but nowhere near consistently enough for me to feel like I won't become the bottleneck sometimes in a team (and therefore slow the progress of the whole team a lot).
I also find it very hard to under-promise (I sometimes find it hard to accept that I realistically need to promise to do 15% of what I think is actually possible when I'm excited about things, especially when everything I'm saying no to feels important if I could fit it in).
More broadly, I am currently thinking about how to leverage the upsides of being a bit more ADHD than the average person and managing the downsides to still reach the payoffs I care about.
Please do reach out about pretty much anything (as long as you’re okay with me maybe not getting around to replying because messages and emails, every now and again, turn into a massive ugh field and I can only progress on so many ugh fields at a time 😊😶🙃🌞).
Why my forum username is not my full name 🤫
I don’t have my full name on the forum because, even though anyone who knows me in person can probably tell who I am because I always say the same things (I’m a bit of a broken record sometimes), I want to be able to be honest about how I'm thinking about the best strategies to increase my expected impact over my lifetime. This means I want to sometimes discuss my personal productivity bottlenecks and my mental health (as I do here) and also how I'm working on these. I don’t necessarily really want to be this open about my mental health and other parts of who I am right now that I am working on improving (to, hopefully, do more good in the longer term) with anyone who thinks to google my full name.
(But I promise I'm still a real person - though maybe that is what a fake person would say 😅)
How other people manage their own productivity bottlenecks to reach the payoffs they care deeply about (especially if people who have been diagnosed with ADD or people who relate to the experiences of other people who have been diagnosed with ADD).
or anyone who relates to Tim Urban's description of the feeling of absolutely not wanting to do anything but the shiny thing offered up by the fun monkey in his blog, Wait but Why.
The "What but Why" description of what goes on in a master procrastinator's head is a pretty accurate description of what my mind does naturally and seems to have caused a lot of the "productivity bottlenecks" that made a psychologist think to get me assessed for ADHD (and I know at least one person, who I've had the good fortune to observe up close, who doesn't relate much to Time Urban's description, who's strategies are therefore a little less useful to me because they don't address the challenges I seem to face at the moment).
Some more rambly thoughts on this train of thought that I may or may not endorse at all if I thought more about them and may later really regret leaving here (but am going to leave them just because I think it'll be easier to get back to what I'm supposed to be doing if I put them somewhere for the moment 🤣):
I'm pretty sure a lot of people manage varying levels of these characteristics wouldn't meet the clinical criteria of ADHD (I'd guess the characteristic that me and other people in my family have in common that causes higher levels of some ADHD symptoms than other people I am close to who lack those characteristics are not a binary: they seem to come on a pretty continuous spectrum in the people I know well enough/who I've seen try to work often enough and have been open about what is and isn't easy for them). If these characteristics are a continuous spectrum, then there are plenty of people who probably have great strategies that utilise the best of this nature and manage the challenges who wouldn't be diagnosable with ADHD, many who this is due to some combo of them having not that extreme levels of this characteristic and/or particularly amazing mindsets and strategies that help them make the most of who they are. E.g. I think that is not outside the realm of possibility that people in my family who have the same challenges as me in how their dopamine seems to distribute itself among all the various possible activities they could be doing might not actually be able to get diagnosed with ADHD because their strategies mean that they don't really have the symptoms to the same extreme level I had when I got my diagnosis.
(The reason these thoughts seem relevant to my "how can you help me help others" profile is that managing my "productivity bottlenecks" is my current focus so I can better help others over my lifetime so if there is a place to put these reflections, this doesn't seem the worst place. This way people might also have nuance to add to these sorts of low-confidence thoughts so I can get a better model to progress on these bottlenecks faster if my current low-confidence, best-guess model is inaccurate)
I have started documenting some of the strategies that work for me too (but there is a lot of personal info so I've decided to not leave up a public google doc). Feel free to reach out if you're curious to see what progress I've made so far and what bottlenecks I'm tackling next (whether that be to cross-reference your own experiences and see if anything I've done seems helpful or because you're wonderfully helpful and you want to see some more specifics to work out what you do that might be applicable to where I am right now or a bit of both or some other reasonable reason I haven't conjured up 😊).
Feel free to reach out to me about anything where I seem like I might be helpful based on the various things I've said elsewhere in the meantime while this field loads.
Note: if I take a while to respond, it's just because your message probably got a bit ugh because I care about replying and I feel bad about not having replied already. I tend to overcome many of my ugh fields eventually but I have a lot of them so it sometimes takes a bit of time for any particular one to get to the top of the pile (so sometimes it takes me a little longer than ideal to get back to people 🤣🙃🌞).