Friday, August 06, 2010

An unexpected benefit of HN's noprocrast option

Some time ago I decided to enable Hacker News' noprocrast option with the default settings. I am allowed 20 minutes of time on Hacker News every three hours. I did this because I was spending too much time on the site, especially in the evenings in London when the conversation was active in Pacific Time.

What I expected to happen was that when I could read Hacker News, I'd be desperate to get through as many stories as possible to consume as much Hacker News as I could before my time was up. But the opposite happened.

I visit Hacker News and then I can't find anything interesting to read. Or one or two things will be worth it and the rest will be dross. I truly was procrastinating reading stuff that wasn't really interesting after all.

The other effect is that I've founded myself reading conversations before articles. Since I know that I can read an article at my leisure, but that I have 20 minutes to take part in a conversation I'll quickly go to the conversations that interest me, and leave the article for another time.

Overall, noprocrast has been a winner for me. The only thing that's suffered is my karma value.

1 comment:

Hrishi Mittal said...

Noprocast has a simple hole though. You can log out by going to and then carry on procrastinating by reading the comments. Or you can use another browser in which you are not logged in.

At least for me, no negative trick works for long. The only thing that does work is when I'm truly engrossed in my work.