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  1. Meditation has helped me. I just got depressed and out of routine, so the practice kind of stopped.
  2. I think, if, the goal of each day is to maintain and improve your mental functioning in some way, you're going to do significantly better in the long term. Essentially, it's in applying concepts of neuroplasticity and learning to everything you do, in order to master something.
  3. I still haven't seen someone about getting a diagnosis with ADHD, but it's now getting to the point where it's painful. I still meditate most days, and while it's helped my focus somewhat, it has more or less made me more aware of my problem. I've had a few episodes of emotional detachment/numbness. What I'm noticing with meditation is that when I try to activate the sensation and feeling of focus, it feels numb in the same way! It's like I'll try to activate the feeling of concentration, which, sometimes I can simply do depending on the day, and then it's just not there. And, that can feel very uncomfortable, like any other form of numbness is. While this sensation is uncomfortable, it also kind of gives me a hint that I might actually be able to use meditation to learn to "melt the ice" around the part of the brain that allows me to focus, without drugs.
  4. Good job catching yourself when you did. We all fail all the time at different things. Not worrying about it and just choosing to move forward makes it easier.
  5. I fell into internet addiction after this depressive episode without really realizing it. I'm hereby instating a 1 week break from the internet, and I'm going to start implementing breaks from the internet since you cannot really "fully unplug." So, if I notice I'm doing frivolous activities outside of times set aside for that, I'm going to cut myself off for a week to interrupt the habit loops and keep healthier ones in place.
  6. Well I'm returning here after a bout of severe depression. I learned a lot about not taking on more than you can handle if you're not willing to face the consequences of failure. I learned a lot about self-acceptance and not caring about the opinions of others. I feel freer than I ever have. I've returned to my insanely healthy diet. I've been vegan for nearly four years now, but I returned to this ultra clean variant without wheat, low on soy, and high in non or minimally processed foods (non being beans, vegetables, etc, minimally being things like hummus). I forgot how amazingly clean it feels. It also helped with the depression. Todays thoughts: There's an addictive feeling that goes along with succumbing to an urge. I liken it to a sugar rush, and I am going to call this feeling "The Sugar Rush," because it encapsulates the sense that you get when you want to indulge in anything that is unhealthy, be it games, internet, unhealthy food, etc.
  7. It's something amazing you've built, Cam, and it's been an invaluable tool for me. Thank you.
  8. Holy crap. I've been here for almost a year now. Jesus. Anyways... Realizing that ADHD is a near certainty. I have to do several things to get my mind into a state that isn't zig-zagging all over the place. It's like I can feel that there's this lack of drive, like I'm craving focus but just cannot attain it without caffeine, sleep, nutrition and meditation. I literally cannot focus most of the time without all of those things combined. So, over this winter break, I intend to actually get a diagnosis. I'm starting to see how insidious this problem has been, and why my struggles with school have appeared to be exceptionally worse than others', especially given my intellectual capabilities (i.e. I've scored very highly on exams in upper division physics classes, while simultaneously having done poorly in high school). It makes too much sense for me in particular.
  9. Fuck no. FUCK NO. My professors procrastinate (which is what you're describing, simply), and did so as undergrads. I'm a physics major. I love physics. There's not one goddamn person in any of my classes who does it every day in a way where they're jumping for joy on the way to campus. It's hard work for anyone. Also, everyone I know procrastinates, except for one of them, who gets insanely high grades on everything. But he lives in that building. Well, in a sense I do too, but I am also socializing a lot and doing lab work. We all live in this state of somewhat heightened stress and competitiveness, but that's also what gives you pride. Get used to coffee. You'll need a lot. And, it's a labor of love. You'll start to feel this sense of deeper satisfaction creeping in when you're doing something that is hard AND fulfilling. You'll know it's right when you're in class and, for some strange reason, you feel like you're supposed to be there, and the thought of not being there (or being in some other field) creates this sense of existential anxiety and panic, like you're standing on the precipice of nothingness if you were to stop pursuing it. At least, that's what it's like for me. So, if you want to be an engineer, go for it. Don't get Imposter Syndrome (look that up).
  10. Starting a time log for each of my classes to ensure that I am spending an adequate time per week on each one. I've made a stronger internal commitment to make discipline the foundation of my life. Without discipline, I won't get the things I want. With it, my limits are unknown.
  11. I just had a eureka moment. You need to be okay with failure from an egoistic perspective, but not from a success perspective. I just realized that I had a hard time making this distinction. So, the trick is to learn to be very pissed off about the fact that you experienced a sort of failure, but not to internalize it as some reflection of yourself or your maximum potential. I'm finding it amazing how many new things I end up having to learn when I feel like I've already figured out a lot. I think this key, core principle can go a long ways.
  12. So I've been working on focusing more easily for a long time. I've noticed more clearly now that the times at which I am less focused, I am emotional about something. Either I'm too stressed out about something, or something else is getting under my skin emotionally. Meditation has helped this a lot, but it takes more than that. You have to be able to understand what's bothering you and how to keep a larger perspective. You have to find ways of understanding how to make your emotional state better. Which is no easy task, but I am finding that there's a direct correlation over a very long period of time where procrastination for me has come from feelings of insecurity and anxiety associated with the work I'm doing (because it's very hard stuff). Learning to let go of that, it's made it much easier to just dig into things and stop procrastinating with everything else I've been working on. I felt like making this into a post, because I never really realized how vital it was to being able to stay focused on mentally demanding tasks. I suppose if I was doing something that didn't require me to use my brain very much, being stressed out might be fine. But, such is not the case for me.
  13. I had kind of a shitty few days. Kind of got lazy and depressed. It started out with kind of just wanting to have some sort of nice stimulation to relax after working hard, but it grew into staying on the internet too long and not getting things done. Which, inevitably turned into sluggishness and having a hard time pushing myself to go out and bike. So, I made an agreement with myself: I'm going to be good to myself and I'm going to fundamentally develop the habit of doing the right thing for myself no matter what. So, we'll see how this particular experiment goes. EDIT: I think a more nuanced way of this is instead of calling it "self-compassion," call it, "be on your own side." Not just like a coach. You recognize your own mistakes, and what lead to them. Don't burden yourself with guilt for no reason. Don't give other people that kind of power. It's silly. It's not beneficial to you and who are they to judge you. If they have the power to make their judgement have impact on your life, then that's stressful - but that doesn't mean that its something to feel guilty about.
  14. So, I've been putting in a rather large amount of effort into making myself a much more productive, focused person. My ambitions are very large enough that I don't even put them out there yet, so, I've been putting myself through hell simply to make myself react. I read The Power of Habit and The Slight Edge, and do what I can to apply the 40% rule. But, these things weren't enough on their own. I had to get creative and apply some other things I learned. Anyways, I've found that there are several things that I am doing that have really massively increased my overall ability to produce, and produce efficiently: 1. Meditate every day, even if there is a deadline to meet. Spend some time researching this. I've found that I really like Sam Harris's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OboD7JrT0NE I do it without guidance since I've practiced from this one. 2. Proper nutrition. eat enough calories and protein Spinach and berry smoothies with a bit of protein powder in them work very well for this. It gives your body a full fledged breakfast. I eat cereal on top of this. The fiber in the spinach also causes the sugar from the smoothie to be released slowly, preventing an insulin spike, but giving you this very controlled, elevated sugar spike. 3. Coffee. Dose it properly. Then, find a day where you can be less productive for reducing your dependence. Do this if you find that you can't focus quite enough without all of the other steps. 4. Toughen Up: Decide that you're going to push through something because it's hard, not because it's easy. So, get in the habit of doing things like taking a cold shower, or biking to work, or something that takes more effort. Make your bed every morning, no matter what. Rip yourself out of bed at 5 am. Make this process of toughening up useful. The process of toughening up is literally the most effective thing I've done. I spend more time working on myself AND working by a long shot. The more you exert your willpower, the less life's obstacles and setbacks will phase you. You will become simultaneously happier, more resilient person and much likelier to attain your goals by craving difficulty instead of running from it. 5. Control your emotions. Meditation helps with this. When you're emotional about something, it takes away your ability to focus as a completely involuntary neurophysical process that you simply cannot overcome with willpower. Not a bad couple of videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYZmK46--Mc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l96TZeZGlDg 6. Exercise. This will cause neurological changes to the hippocampus, helping regulate emotions. 7. Journal. Every time you journal, you reinforce what you just wrote down as if you were communicating it to someone else. This has a strong reinforcing effect which allows you to hone yourself, making yourself more effective. Write down thoughts, learn to use it as a tool to discover more about your inner workings, the inner workings of others and as a scaffolding for developing yourself into the person you want to become. 8. Energize yourself. Get pumped up, somehow, some way. This will get blood flowing to your brain, allowing additional focus, and will reinforce your ability to energize yourself at will. These things take practice. It's going to be impossible to implement them all at once, but if you make a larger effort to do it every day, you will see a relatively rapid improvement. Mix all of these into a routine. Yes, you do have time. In fact, you actually create time by becoming more focused and productive. So, if you spend two hours on this stuff every morning getting ready, you're going to be 20-30% more effective, and you're going to be able to push for longer. My personal routine is: Make bed. (Apply Rule 5)Shower, sometimes cold. (4, 5 - I do mental processing while in the shower)Make coffee and smoothie at the same time, eat cereal with the rest of these. (2, 3)Meditate (since the caffeine kicked in it helps the focus). At LEAST 15 minutes. (1)Journal while meditating, since I find that I get my best ideas while meditating. (5)Listen to some metal music to get myself amped up. I find that it gives me more of a feeling of imperviousness and makes feeling sorry for myself seem like a complete and utter joke. (4, 5, 8)Bike to campus at a brisk pace. (6, 8) - sometimes this is before meditation.Thus far, I've been more productive than I have ever been in my entire life, with more consistency, while feeling a lot better about it.
  15. Next goal: cut out distraction. 1. I'm imagining that every time that I got distracted, instead of being a perfectionist about the spilt milk effect of losing out on that time, that instead I just decided to keep going from there and stop being distracted. That's a lot of work that would have gotten done. Probably 10+ hours a week of work, perhaps even 20, to be quite honest, which ends up being a rather grotesque amount of work lost. So, my resolution is to just keep the flowchart in mind: Working? Keep working. Distracted? Get back to work. Nothing else is really relevant when there's something to do.
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