Estimating the time you should spend on educating yourself up front before jumping into a project

The first thing to do is decide how much time you should spend educating yourself. The easiest way to figure this out is to ask how long this task should take you to complete.

How long does it typically take people?

How g-loaded of a task is it?

-Highly g-loaded (e.g. publishing a math paper): This requires more mental preparation ahead of time than you think, and less work than you think. You should spend >95% of your time estimate (above) mentally preparing.

-Low g-loading (e.g. finishing a college degree). This requires less mental preparation ahead of time than you think, and more work than you think. You should spend <10% of your time estimate mentally preparing.

What IQ decile do you fall into? Multiply the mental preparation time estimate by the following:

0th decile: It should take you 25x as long as average
1st decile: It should take you 10x as long as average
2nd decile: It should take you 5x as long as average
3rd decile: 2x
4th decile: 1.5x
5th decile: Average
6th decile: 2/3x
7th decile: 1/2x
8th decile: 1/5x
9th decile: 1/10x

What conscientiousness decile do you fall into? Multiply your estimate of the time needed to churn out the work by the following:

0th decile: It should take you 5x as long as average
1st decile: It should take you 3x as long as average
2nd decile: It should take you 2x as long as average
3rd decile: 1.4x
4th decile: 1.2x
5th decile: Average
6th decile: 0.8x
7th decile: 0.7x
8th decile: 0.5x
9th decile: 0.3x

So even someone with pretty low conscientiousness can become a pretty good musician or gamer, for example, but it’ll take them twice as much practice time because they won’t be applying themselves as hard over their practice sessions. I think this is because people have a preferred stress level. My sports watch reports that my average stress level, almost every day, is around 33. (illuminati confirmed)

Considering my daily lifestyle right now is as close as humanly possible to 100% self-determined, this indicates that it’s my preferred stress level. My conscientiousness is also about the 33rd percentile. 35th, according to Jordan Peterson’s dataset. That puts me in the 3rd decile, so I should expect to take about 40% longer than average to clean my room, bucko.

I ought to make a quick chart for IQ deciles…

0th decile: < 81
1st decile: 81 – 87
2nd decile: 88 – 92
3rd decile: 93 – 96
4th decile: 97 – 100
5th decile: 100 – 103
6th decile: 104 -107
7th decile: 108 – 112
8th decile: 113 – 119
9th decile: 120 and up

Let’s run through a couple of examples.

  1. Developing callouses on your fingers for guitar playing.

This takes most people a couple of weeks. It requires zero mental preparation. Therefore, a 150-IQ person with 2nd decile conscientiousness will take about 4 weeks. An 85-IQ person with 8th decile conscientiousness will take about 1 week. Both should jump right into the task without planning it out.

2. Publishing a math paper.

Let’s say this takes an average of 10 years, because that’s about how long a PhD takes. And we’ll assume it has a very high g-loading. So the average person will spend the first 9.5 years learning about math, and then only half a year actually writing the paper (probably their dissertation).

Now that I’m actually getting my fingers into a couple of examples, I think we should shift the IQ deciles up to indicate the g-loading. So the “average” mathematician will have an IQ of around 130, whereas the top decile will be more like 150. Assuming that guess were correct, then a person with a 155-IQ should expect to spend only 1 year studying and then about half a year actually writing the paper (depending on their conscientiousness).

About Aeoli Pera

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14 Responses to Estimating the time you should spend on educating yourself up front before jumping into a project

  1. Obadiah says:

    I regret to inform you that I have died of the deadly Covid-19 supervirus–the most lethal disease of all time. In my final moments jets of corrupted blood sprayed from my venty while I shuddered violently, wet ribbons of scarlet painting a grisly mural on the wall of my hospital room. Healthcare Heroes attempted to execute a coordinated twerkout in an attempt to save me, but there was nothing even they could do. My body is currently burning in a massive quarantine ditch–one of several million in my state.

    Shit looked like Evil Dead 2 with the blood spraying everywhere and stuff.

    • Boneflour says:

      That sucks man. I got it too, got lucky. My leg fell off and I had to reinflate my lung with a bicycle pump, but made it through.

      Did you at least get your sense of smell back when you died?

      • Obadiah says:

        >Did you at least get your sense of smell back when you died?

        I did not–in fact, being dead, there’s a possibility that I may never smell again. But greater is my regret that I will never again see our bescrubbed heroes slam out a brave twerkdown in a choreographed and filmed manner while being utterly overrun and engulfed by legions of wretched plague-bearers

  2. Ganzir says:

    Aeoli the discord link in your sidebar doesn’t work

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      That Discord is dead. There’s another Edenism Discord that I disapprove of on moral grounds, but I don’t know if there’s a public invite link for it anymore. Aiaslives might drop one here, depending.

  3. another handle says:

    Agreed on the period shift for IQ. The average electrical engineer has a 115 IQ.

    I work with both tradesmen 90-105 IQ and EEs as field techs. Learning 2/3-1/2 faster multiplier for an EE feels about right; given the task does not require university physics and mathematics. Something like following a new installation procedure.

  4. Pingback: Addendum: Estimates for optimum IQs and negative g-loadings | Aeoli Pera

  5. Neandercel says:

    Dear sir,

    I’m a long time lurker and appreciator of your work. I would like to join your Discord server, but the link in the sidebar is dead. Would you be so kind as to send me a link?

  6. Pingback: Comfort zones, uncertainty, judgment, danger, and Asuka from Evangelion (of course) | Aeoli Pera

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