[Letter] It's the edge cases that bite you

I got this email:

It seems like there's a period of time where certain websites, content platforms and associated content, or other consumptive habits / activities are genuinely very helpful, but then once I am up to speed with the relevant topics / have reached a certain mastery level, I have to renegotiate the way I interact with them. I enjoy reading LessWrong quite a bit, but checking it regularly is counterproductive. How do you deal with navigating that transitional phase, or knowing when some content or medium, etc. should be shifted from non-deliberate consumptive habits to deliberate consumptive or deliberate interactive habits?

My response.

Breaking up with media is like breaking up with people. If you're asking yourself "Should I break up with my significant other?" then the answer is "Yes".

Do not fear being unproductive. There is more to life than work. You should fear activities that are both unproductive and unfun.

The activities you perform can be bucketed into three categories:

It's the edge cases that bite you.

The Pareto Principle is the idea that 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. The Pareto Principle applies to any domain with long-tailed outcomes including friendships, work and learning. Edge cases are the 80% of causes which cause 20% of consequences. Don't waste your time on edge cases.

I bucket people into three categories:

Investing in the third category is a foolish gamble. The same goes for media consumption.