Post image for Updates to my 8,760 Hours guide

I’m happy to announce that my 8,760 Hours guide has been cleaned up and improved, just in time for 2016 Reviews and 2017 Planning!

When I first wrote the guide back in 2012 I expected maybe a few friends to read it. Since then, the guide was downloaded over 16,000 times, and many people have said very nice things about their experience using it. I hope you find the new version just as useful, if not more!

Updates in version 2:

  • An overhaul of the life areas, categories, breakdowns, prompting questions, and metrics.
  • Several added subsections.
  • A bunch of minor typo-corrections, general fixes, and rewrites.
  • A visual face-lift, thanks to my good friend Jimmy Rintjema, who has also kindly overhauled the formatting and design of the guide.

Click here to download 8,760 Hours v2

For more information about the guide, see the original post about it here.


After picking away at it for months here and there, I finally finished a new page on this site: a fairly thorough summary of how I run various areas of my life. Check it out here!

Another year has come and gone. Review time!

Every year I perform a complete review of my life, my goals, and my projects. I’ve done this for a decade, and every time it’s valuable and enjoyable.

Here’s a summary of my review for 2014. This is an extremely shortened version of my actual review, in which I go into much more detail. The process I use is detailed in my free guide 8,760 Hours.


Since I moved to the Bay Area near the end of 2013, this past year was largely one of settling into a new location and routine. I spent the majority of my mental cycles on my work at MIRI, and a good chunk of my non-work time getting to know people and places in the Bay.

Some things that went well

  • Mental Health – Meditated an average of 5 minutes a day throughout the entire year.
  • Career & Work – Devoted most of my available mental cycles to my work at the MIRI, getting a lot of good stuff done.
  • Productivity – Experimented (quite successfully) with using Percentile Feedback to increase worked hours, among many other little hacks and tweaks.
  • Organization – Maintained paperless system; successfully used new Evernote storage setup.
  • Health & Fitness – Significantly improved the average quality of my sleep; exercised ~100 times (mostly climbing and sprinting); solved persistent headache and eye strain problems.
  • Money & Finance – Got a US credit card + good credit score; completed 2013 taxes; tracked expenses all year; maintained a budget all year; started investing with Betterment.
  • Social – Met a bunch of people in the Bay Area; went to the EA Summit + Retreat; went to the CFAR Alumni Reunion.
  • Relationship – Maintained a long-distance relationship that—especially given the challenges and obstacles faced in long-distance relationships—is going extremely well.
  • Misc fun stuff – Went on a bunch of long hiking adventures; held a snake for the first time; significantly improved my go skills; learned a lot about whiskey and tried a few dozen very nice bottles;1 read some amazing fiction.2
  • – Made Anki Essentials available for free and it was downloaded 35k+ times; 8,670 Hours guide was downloaded 6k+ times; procrastination poster was downloaded 10k+ times.

Some things that did not go well

  • Didn’t exercise as much as planned (goal was avg of 3x/week)
  • Didn’t meditate as much as planned (goal was avg of 10min/day)
  • Didn’t spend nearly as much time as planned learning more about x-risk and related topics.
  • Didn’t reliably perform my monthly or quarterly reviews.
  • Didn’t do a good job of explicitly creating or working on goals and projects, yet still felt “busy” a lot of the time.
  • Didn’t write a single blog post (except for this one!) despite starting dozens of draft posts and having good intentions. :-P

In Closing

It was a good year! Something these reviews really hammer home how awesome life is. In the grand scheme of things, the troubles and tribulations I face are largely trivial. We live in one of the most kickass times in human history.



  1. Favorites by far are Lagavulin 16 and Bowmore 18. []
  2. Some highlights: Blindsight by Peter Watts, The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin. []
One Year of Tracking Pomodoros

The pomodoro technique is, in short, starting a timer and doing 25 minutes of focused work on a single task without interruption, followed by a five minute break. Choose a new task, restart the timer, and repeat.

Throughout 2013 I used pomodoros to execute on pretty much all of my life projects, organized into the following categories:

  • work – at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute
  • bizdev – other income-generating projects (e.g. Anki Essentials)
  • growth – personal development projects (e.g. reading books, taking notes, making Anki decks; monthly reviews)
  • misc – miscellaneous life maintenance projects (e.g. banking stuff, knocking off a bunch of small todo’s, house cleanup)
  • health – exercise projects (mostly climbing, some running, some misc other stuff)

The Result: 5,008 Pomodoros

The end result was 2,504 hours of recorded work—5,008 pomodoros in total:  [click here to keep reading…]