Necessary EA Institutions Part 1: Daily Impact Journaling

Here, I present the case that one aspiring to do as much good as possible with their lives should experiment with keeping a daily log of their impact.

Journaling about impact forces one to reflect on what is, by definition, the most important thing in life. This helps hold one accountable for how they spend their time and helps one pin down their most impactful actions in order to learn from them and replicate them more. Further, where one perceives themselves as failing, it should be easier to muster the motivation to brainstorm how one can be more impactful with their time in the future.

Logging serves as an anchor which can keep even the most aspiring effective altruist grounded.  Even if one thinks about having an impact throughout the day, logging the concrete expected effects of one’s various actions can keep one grounded with the actual impact they are making.

It may be scary to actually write out the expected effects of one’s concrete actions. One can no longer rely on long-term future ideals to satisfy their superego and make one feel like they are living in line with their values.  If it is indeed painful to log one’s impact, this will likely serve as a powerful, necessary motive for change. In the long-run, this active self-accountability should ultimately help one avoid future regrets and it will almost certainly lead to one having a bigger impact on the world.

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