FI Learning

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Project steps projects

I'll use this message thread to post steps for projects, as suggested in this post.

Comments & Events

Anne B
Steps in knitting a baby blanket 

  • A friend is giving away yarn. Take some that looks like it'll be good for a baby blanket.
  • Look through the patterns you have and pick one that's made for the weight (thickness) of the yarn you have.
  • Decide how big you want your blanket to be. 
  • Calculate if you have enough yarn to make what you want. (The pattern says how much yarn is needed for the size they aim for.)
  • Knit a small piece in that pattern with that yarn as a test patch. Use the recommended needle size.
  • If you think it would look better to have the knitting tighter or looser, try test patches with other needle sizes.
  • Using the size and number of stitches in your preferred test patch, calculate how many stitches you'll need across to make the width you are aiming for. For some patterns, it may need to be a multiple of a certain number to make the pattern come out right.
  • If you're not using the same number of stitches as are written in the pattern, you may need to write out how many you are using and how the pattern needs to be adjusted for that.
  • Cast on your stitches.
  • Knit, following your adjusted pattern. 
  • When the blanket is long enough, bind off the last row.
  • Weave in the yarn ends.
This one was hard to write! 
Anne B
Steps for running on my treadmill

  • Take off layers if I’m wearing too many clothes.
  • Put a clip in my hair so it doesn’t flop in my face.
  • Put on my running shoes.
  • Get on the treadmill.
  • Push the power button on the smart tv remote.
  • Put the headphones on that are attached to that tv.
  • Put the plastic piece in the treadmill that causes it to turn on.
  • Clip the plastic clip that’s tied to the previous plastic piece onto the bottom of my shirt. (That’s meant as a safety thing, so the treadmill will turn off if I fall or something.)
  • Use the Fire Stick remote to navigate to and start the show that I’m watching.
  • Push the treadmill buttons to start the treadmill at the speed and incline that I start with. 
  • When it starts, start walking.
  • Speed it up to my running speed but walk for a while.
  • Start running. 
  • When I’ve run for the amount of time I wanted to, switch to walking.
  • Push the button to slow down the treadmill and walk for a little more.
  • Pull the plastic piece out to stop the treadmill.
  • Use the tv remote to turn off the tv.
  • Take the plastic clip off my shirt. Take the headphones off. Leave both on the little table at the head of the treadmill.
  • Take off the running shoes and leave them next to the treadmill.
Anne B
I wanted to write a shorter, simpler one.

Steps for getting a glass of water
  • Go into the kitchen.
  • Get a glass from the cabinet.
  • Hold the glass under the filtered-water spigot.
  • Turn the water on.
  • When the glass is almost full, turn the water off.
I think the water one is your best so far. I would suggest doing more short ones. 
Anne B
Steps I just took to figure something out

I noticed that there are icons next to some of the Message topics here. I wondered how they got there.

  • I guessed that it could be something you could add when starting a new message thread.
  • I tried starting a new message thread.
  • I noticed there’s a menu at the top that says “Pick a category (optional)”.
  • I looked at the choices in that menu. They are indeed the icons I was wondering about.
  • I could have tried using one of the icons myself as a test. But I didn’t want to make a new message thread just for that. Instead, I decided to try it out sometime when I make a new message thread for some other reason.
Anne B
Steps to remove yourself from a Basecamp automatic check-in

  • These steps are for the website version of Basecamp.
  • Click on the check-in question. You’ll go to a page with that question at the top.
  • Click on the three dots near the upper right corner. You’ll get a menu.
  • In that menu, click on “Stop asking me”.
  • This will remove you from the list of people being asked that question every time. This is different from whether you get notifications about answers to that question, which is another option in the same menu.
Anne B
My current steps for covid-prevention masking
  • Remove glasses.
  • Put on a double-layer soft cloth mask.
  • Put ear loops behind my ears.
  • Bend the metal nose-thing on it to fit my nose as well as possible. 
  • Put on a paper surgical mask over cloth mask.
  • Again, put the ear loops around my ears.
  • Bend the metal nose-thing on it to fit around my nose. 
  • Add the thing that attaches to the ear loops and pulls them towards the back of my neck. Button it on the hole that results in the masks fitting snugly but not too uncomfortably.
  • Put glasses back on.
  • Breathe out. If I feel air coming out the top of the masks, adjust the fit until that doesn’t happen. (I rarely get air coming out the sides or the bottom of the masks with this setup.)
ingracke wrote
I think the water one is your best so far. I would suggest doing more short ones. 

Why do you think that the water one is Anne B’s best so far? 
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
Why do you think that the water one is Anne B’s best so far? 

It was the first one organized in a way that made sense.
Anne B
I thought the others were organized in a way that made sense. They were in the order I'd do them.

I don't see what's different about the drink of water one other than that it's shorter. 

How could I change the others so they made sense?

Is it something to do with having the steps be at the same level of detail?
Anne B
I tried to do another very short one and it ended up longer than I intended. I'll try it again later and see if I can make it shorter.
Anne B
For reference, here are the three sets of project steps that I posted before I started this thread.

Doing the dishes:
  • Start when the pile of dirty dishes looks like about enough to fill the dishwasher.
  • Take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away.
  • If any of the supposedly clean dishes are not clean, scrub them and/or put them with the dirty dishes to be washed again.
  • Take the clean dishes out of the dish rack and put them away.
  • Put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. When you come across a dirty dish that shouldn’t go in the dishwasher, put it in the hand-wash area.
  • Generally start in the back and to the left of the dishwasher, putting the dirty dishes in their usual areas of the dishwasher. If you run out of space for things in their usual area, either find room somewhere else in the dishwasher or leave those things out to go in the next dishwasher load.
  • When the dishwasher is full, add detergent and close it.
  • Run the disposal.
  • Wash the hand-wash dishes, if any, and put them in the dish rack to dry.
  • Clean the counters.
  • Clean the stovetop if needed.
  • Start the dishwasher.
  • When the dishwasher is done running, open it and dump out any water that’s standing on the dishes so they can dry more easily.

Steps for changing a light bulb:
  • If the old light bulb is hot, wait until it cools off.
  • Unscrew the old light bulb.
  • Look on the old light bulb to see what wattage it is.
  • See if you have any new light bulbs with that same wattage.
  • If not, buy some and wait until you have it before moving on to the next step. OR Use a new light bulb that you already have.
  • Screw in the new light bulb.
  • Throw away the old light bulb.
(This is from memory of several years ago. Is this process different now? Are light bulbs different now? I’ll leave that question for another time.)

Steps for putting gas in your car:
  • When the gas in your car starts getting low, think about when and where it'll be convenient for you to get gas before it gets too low. Take price or quality or brand or attached convenience store or clean bathrooms into account if those are important to you.
  • When you get to the gas station, pick a short line that has the tank on the correct side for your car.
  • When it's your turn, position your car so the hose will easily reach your tank and so you can easily access the hose and the payment center.
  • Turn off the car.
  • Pull the lever that opens the door to the gas tank.
  • Get out of the car.
  • Swipe/dip your credit card in the machine. You may need to type in your zip code and/or answer other questions on the screen.
  • Push the button to choose what grade of gas you want. 
  • Unscrew the gas cap on the car.
  • Put the nozzle into the opening of the car's gas tank.
  • Squeeze the handle to start the gas flowing.
  • When the tank is full, the flow will shut off. At that point, remove the nozzle from the car and put it back in its resting place.
  • Screw the gas cap back on. Tighten it until it clicks a few times.
  • Close the door to the gas cap area.
  • Look at the screen for any further instructions. You may have to indicate whether or not you want a receipt.
  • Take the receipt, if you chose to receive one. 
  • Get back in the car and drive away.
Anne B
Elliot thinks that most of these lists of project steps that I wrote are not organized in a way that makes sense. Ingracke, is that your opinion too? My lists of steps seem organized in a way that makes sense to me. Is one of you willing to explain more about what you mean? I don’t want to write more if there’s a major problem with what I’m doing and I don’t understand it. This sounds like a major problem.
Anne B
But I will post another short, simple list, since I had already started on it. Why are short lists better? Less room to go wrong? Go wrong how?

Putting on pants
  • Hold the pants by the waistband.
  • Put one leg in.
  • Put the other leg in.
  • Pull the pants all the way up.
  • Zip, button and/or snap if needed.
Anne B
My best guess as to what Elliot means is that my longer answers have inconsistency in the level of detail, whereas the short getting-a-glass-of-water answer doesn’t. I have low faith in the correctness of that guess.

However, my guess and this post gave me the idea to try writing one of these with some nesting. That seems like it could be hard, though. Maybe I should do more short, simple lists first.
Anne B
(the edit above was to fix a double space)
Anne B
Washing your hands

  1. Wet hands.
  2. Get soap onto hands.
  3. Rinse soap off of hands.
  4. Dry hands.

The same steps for washing your hands, with some sub-steps added:

  • Wet hands. 
    • Turn on water.
    • Put hands under the running water.
    • Turn the hands around so the water gets on both sides of them. 
  • Get soap onto hands. 
    • Hold one hand under soap dispenser.
    • Use the other hand to push down on the handle.
    • Rub hands together get soap onto both hands.
    • Use one hand to rub soap into all parts of the other hands.
    • Switch hands and do this again. 
  • Rinse soap off of hands.
    • Hold both hands under the running water.
    • With one hand under the water, use the other hand to push the water around on the hand under the water until all the soap is gone from it.
    • Switch hands and do this again.
    • Turn off the water.
  • Dry hands.
    • Take the towel off the towel rack. 
    • Use one hand to get the towel on all parts of the other hand, pressing down a bit so the towel absorbs some water.
    • Switch hands and do this again.
    • Put the towel back on the towel rack.

(I had trouble getting the nested formatting to work. I'd prefer to have the nested version numbered too.)
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
You indent with tab. Numbering works fine. Tab also works to nest quotes btw. Shift-tab reduces indenting.

  1. a
    1. b
    2. c
  2. d
  3. e
Anne B

Elliot wrote

I think some people tried to take action without a clear enough idea of their goal. Do not outsource goals to me. I give suggestions. You think for yourself. If you don't know why you're doing something and how your actions will make progress, even if I died tomorrow and never posted again, then you should be asking more questions first or otherwise trying to understand it more before proceeding.

One of my goals in doing this exercise was to get Elliot to stop saying that I wasn’t following his advice and/or that no one was following his advice. I don’t think I should have had that goal.

Another goal I had was to try out the exercise and see if I learned anything from doing it. I don’t think I’ve learned anything so far, and I’ve done a dozen examples, as the original post suggested. This was an okay goal, but to go along with it I should have had some ideas about what I might learn from doing the exercise.

I’ll try to think of some better goals, and not continue with the project unless I have a good goal and an idea of how the exercise might help me achieve it.
Elliot, Fallible Ideas
You did enough to get some feedback on why it's not working great. See the "Project Steps Response" Doc where I talk about judging project plans.
Anne B
That's true. Now I understand better why I didn't learn much from the exercise. I think it's because I didn't have a good goal and an idea of how the exercise might help me achieve it.
Anne B
I might have learned something from the criticism I got from you and Ingracke, but I didn't understand the criticism very well. 
Anne B
Even if I'd done a good job of having goals for this project, I wouldn't have thought of the goal to learn that it's good to have good goals and something about what good goals are. Sometimes we learn things that we weren't planning to. That's one hesitancy I have about planning projects--I wonder if it'll inhibit learning and/or doing things that aren't in the plan.
Anne B

It was the first one organized in a way that made sense.

I read this as: “you don’t make sense; you did it wrong; you failed”. I want to have read it as “you made a start; now here’s an idea for how to improve it”.

In general, I want to focus less on my failures and more on what I can improve. Yes, they are sometimes the same thing. But when I think about failing, I think about giving up. When I think about improving, I think about learning more.
I read this as: “you don’t make sense; you did it wrong; you failed”. I want to have read it as “you made a start; now here’s an idea for how to improve it”.

In ch 2 of "The Romantic Manifesto", "Philosophy and Sense of Life", Rand writes (emphasis by me):

A sense of life, once acquired, is not a closed issue. It can be changed and corrected—easily, in youth, while it is still fluid, or by a longer, harder effort in later years. Since it is an emotional sum, it cannot be changed by a direct act of will. It changes automatically, but only after a long process of psychological retraining, when and if a man changes his conscious philosophical premises.

I think what you referred to above also depends on some kind of emotional sum and needs to be corrected in the same way as one's sense of life: through a change of one's conscious philosophical premises.
How one achieves this I am not sure. But I thing it is by ~learning and understanding better ideas which in turn changes one's direct response to them (or something like that).
Anne B 👍
Anne B
Some errors I made on this project:

  • I didn’t handle criticism well. 
    • I pretended to engage with criticism but didn’t actually do so. 
    • I was focused on defending against criticism rather than learning from it.
  • I wasn’t aware enough of my own emotions and didn’t understand them well enough.
  • I posted when angry/upset.
  • I didn’t read the directions to the activity carefully. I didn’t re-read them once in a while to check that I was on track.
  • I didn’t decide to do the activity because I thought I’d learn from it. I decided to do it because I thought Elliot wanted us to do it and because I wanted to be seen as a good learner and a good FI member. 
    • As a result, I didn’t try very hard to learn from the activity, since that wasn’t my goal.
  • I wasn’t clear on what I expected from Elliot for this activity.
  • I didn’t have a problem-solving attitude. I didn’t approach problems as if they were solvable.

Some of these were discussed in this thread around April 23-28.
Anne B Anne  
  • I didn’t decide to do the activity because I thought I’d learn from it. I decided to do it because I thought Elliot wanted us to do it and because I wanted to be seen as a good learner and a good FI member. 
    • As a result, I didn’t try very hard to learn from the activity, since that wasn’t my goal.
This is a common problem. People do the activities like "homework": they are just trying to tick of the boxes so they can say that they did it, not actually trying to learn anything from the activities. 

One issue is that they aren't sure what the purpose of the activity is, and they doubt that it will actually be useful for them. Since they don't understand the purpose or usefulness of the activity, they have trouble figuring out how to even do it properly. So they will sort of follow the instructions, but their actual work will miss the point. 

One thing you can do in that situation is just try the activities, with the aim of seeing if you can figure out more about the activity, why it might be useful, etc. You can also do things like try one way, then look at your work to see where improvements can be made, and then try it a different way. But for this to actually work, you have to try it with an open mind. You have to pay attention to the instructions, pay attention while you are doing it and think about what you are learning, etc. It isn't going to work if you have an attitude like "fine, I will try your stupid activity, and it won't work for me, and then I can prove that it was a bad idea all along" or something like that. 

Another thing you can do is try to discuss the activity, ask some more questions about what the point and the goals are. But this is tricky too. Like, you need to actually put some thought in yourself, try to figure out some reasons it might be being recommended, look at how it connects to other ideas, think of reasons that it might be good, etc. If you just start by basically asking for a full explanation, while providing no information about what you have already thought about, what your guesses are, etc, that isn't going to be easy to answer. And if you are starting off defensive, or thinking it is a bad idea, then that is also going to show in the discussion. You are going to be defensive, and you aren't going to be making a good faith effort to understand the activity and figure out what might be good about it. 

For this stuff to work well, you have to actually be trying to make it work well. If you are sort of grudgingly doing the activities, or asking questions while feeling mad and misunderstood, it isn't going to work well, and your hostility is going to come across. 
Anne B 👍
Like, you need to actually put some thought in yourself...

If you just start by basically asking for a full explanation...

Knowledge cannot be downloaded from one brain to the other. One has to start by writing a program themselves and then a better programmer can help you make it better and debug it.

I don't think know if this is correct but sounded like a nice metaphor so decided to write it.
With pleasure.

Knowledge cannot be downloaded from one brain to the other.

This part wasn't a metaphor. Only what I wrote ahead of it is. This part is true I think. This idea is in BoI iirc.