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Everything posted by ThatFrenchGuy

  1. Day 64-70 I realise I've been posting more irregularly lately, and it definitely follows a trend of leniency or "laissez-faire" as we say in French. I've had a relapse in the end of last week, and it ended up ruining my attendance and a few things I needed to get done in the week. Had another relapse yesterday, meaning I've effectively lost my weekend's potential. It is a trip down memory lane though, a reminder of where I do not want to be. Spending a day burning with regret and self-hatred is something I want to leave behind. I'm not quite sure what triggered it, but it's often a specific game called Europa Universalis IV (which just happens to be the most compelling, complex, open-ended strategy game I've played - which is unfortunately an enticing offer) so I'm thinking about cutting content related to that from my sub box in Youtube, and maybe expanding that to all gaming content. Had the parents over for the weekend, and it was definitely tense with my mother. We're both typical breton - really stubborn, quick to get in an argument and stay entrenched in our opinion - but I'm convinced that old age is starting to play a role in the conflictual behaviour. Anyways, conflict is guaranteed between my mother and I, but it rarely lasts and there's usually no bad blood. At least that's the case these days. I would like to point out that for all the "Eureka" moments I've had posting here, these aren't instantly paradigm-shifting moments: they're often a refinement or a rationalisation of something I know. But as I've stated before, knowledge is one thing, but breeding action from it is another. And as usual, it's in implementation - breaking old habits to build new ones - that I struggle. I'm working on it, there are ups and downs for sure, and it's far from a consistent improvement, but I definitely think the overall trend is going upward. Anyhow, as I probably eluded to earlier, I'm more than a little upset at myself for ruining my easter weekend's potential to get things done with no time constraint. Some friends invited me over for dinner, which will be a nice and relaxing moment - always good to have friends around when morale is taking a nosedive. In the meantime I'll use my to-do-list to get as much done as possible today. That's it for today
  2. Day 58-63 We hosted our ESPOMUN conference this weekend. It was incredible experience, regardless of how my sleep was reduced to 7 hours over 3 nights. Now some of that was of course procrastination, but there was also the thrill of doing something I was really passionate about. My only regret was that things could have gone so much smoother/better overall had I prepared my committee more in advance. Beyond the whole chairing debates/behind the scenes staff work, it was a very enjoyable experience. I obviously had moments of awkwardness during the three days of staff preparation and activities. Most notably instances where my conversational and social skills would literally just die off in the face of a clearly more extroverted person. I'm not devaluating myself as a person, let this be clear, it's just that in that particular aspect, I'm just sometimes over my head and my brain just shuts off leaving the conversation/interaction with a "So uhhh, yup". I however had some really incredible moments of connection; and while this group probably won't become a group of friends I'll be close knit with, I've at least passed the point where I feel comfortable and I can turn most "safeties" off. I was honestly surprised when people I considered to be jerks/drunk party type people (and some are, to an extent) called me over repeatedly to talk to me, propose to eat together, and just generally ask how I was doing. And this is the magic. I thought that people would see me as the "mostly quiet, good grades, doesn't know how to have fun guy", and they did to an extent. But that didn't stop them from interacting with me, and it was refreshing. It just goes to show how much our biases affect our behaviour. And the reverse is true! I would usually not talk to these people (sometimes it makes sense, you don't just come up to a group of people out of nowhere - there's a time and a place for everything) because of the (often false) assumptions I had of them. And I missed out on so much good people, fun moments, but also awkward and annoying moments - life is never black and white. They, however, often went at length to talk to me when they had no reason to, overcoming their own assumptions about me - which we discussed in a fun and harmless manner. So conclusion from this weekend's conference and working with the ESPOMUN staff: Don't build a wall, build social skills (by interacting, any chance you get) and harden your skin! Thinking about this now gives me a more positive outset to trying out group sports activities, I'm less in the mindset of seeing it as a risk, and more as an opportunity! Now if only the university timetable would cooperate... In response to your previous post, I'll begin with the first point. I've been in summer camps every summer for a few years when I was younger (as we were living in china, and my parents wanted me to meet and interact with French kids back home in the holidays, so I wouldn't feel "alienated" when we went home back from expatriation [to me it was something new, as I'd lived most of my life in China] ). They were mostly a fun experience, but there was a multiple times when I ended up in trouble with one or more jerk/"fuck the rules" type kids. The first time was a group of kids who were basically toying/blackmailing/shaming me and some friends to the point where it kind of ruined the fun out of the trip. Another time was me ending up sharing a room with a bunch of kids I didn't particularly get along with, and some kind of toying/teasing happened too (the kind you can joke about at first, but which takes its toll after a few days). I was around 11-14 during these summer trips. That's honestly where I started to recognise I was more introverted and "conservative" if that makes sense. That's also where I started building assumptions based on fear/anger regarding the "party animal" type, regardless of who they were behind their attitude. A sort of safety mechanism. Now I had entered high school at some point, and the majority of the class was the "cool kid" type again: again, often more than my social skills and self-confidence could handle, and that cemented my defensive behaviour. Many were probably not bad people, but a lot of them were pretty much jerks with the whole "rich expat kid with attitude issues" type. Anyhow, on my late high school years, this one kid started publicly mocking me, calling my name in annoying voices across the corridors, stealing my bag and leaving it elsewhere in the campus. We had been at odds, even before high school, but I'm pretty sure that point was when my walls just escalated out of control. It didn't help that many of my friends has left Shanghai. So that pretty much sums up the explanation I have for my biases. In response to your question regarding the dishes/getting a clean environment: There's never really any blame, I don't feel angry or anything at myself. It's literally just an environment which visually does not provide a great sense of motivation (who likes working in a mess with plenty of stuff lying around) and is physically unproductive (papers aren't organised, some place become difficult to reach, etc...). I clean up and usually the "getting small things done" kickstarts my engine into doing more. It's more the opposition between the mess and the good feeling of being organised which is the issue, not any self-blame regarding the mess itself. Finally: Yes, I've been trying to break down "symbolic goals" into sets of concrete actions. I've added to my timetable tomorrow a time to prepare what I'm calling the "anti-procrastination board". Literally just one of those sticky rollable boards where you can stick papers to. It'll have an activity list of things I can do instead of youtube/netflix, which I would constantly expand, and use as reference for when I'm feeling bored, and don't have any work to do. I'm also going to take some time to clean up my youtube subscriptions, removing these dangerously addicting and time-consuming "compilation" videos or hours long strategy game playthroughs. It'll also have a bunch of post its available on it, to be taken at any time. The goal is for me to take one every night/morning/etc and make a list of what I want to achieve in a particular short time period (a morning/afternoon/evening), so I keep track of things to do and progress, rather than having a memory from my timetable. I noticed I tend to get things done more often if I write it on paper, and this is my answer. The board will also feature a "long term goals" area, which is self explanatory - what long term goals I want to achieve (i.e driver's license, guitar, getting fit, work opportunities, etc), with a breakdown of steps, and ideas on how to achieve it. This builds upon a rule I'm currently trying to enforce which is: "Unless my academic survival depends on this one piece of work I need to do, I will clean my home and do any cleaning/logistical stuff that needs to be done before I do anything at all." So there, that's about it. I'm really hoping I can get all that done tomorrow as I have a busy day. I'm quite happy at the moment from the busy but enjoyable weekend, yet I'm nervous about falling back into youtube/couch/doing nothing rather than reading a book/listening or playing music/some fitness at home/outdoor activity. I've considered cutting out youtube completely, but that just seems unpractical and counterproductive since I'll end up there for legit activities anyways (i.e. guitar tutorials/tabs etc). Fingers crossed!
  3. Day 57 Had an alright day, I'm just extremely tired at the moment. Don't really feel like writing anything tonight, I just want to go to bed. Hey, barely any class tomorrow, time to get some stuff done.
  4. Day 56 Had a bit of a scare today, woke up at 7:40 am instead of 7 with class at 8. Got there in time, but didn't have time to shower/eat breakfast. Ordered a cheap clock off amazon to kill two birds with one stone: now I get to wake up for sure (it's one of those "It doesn't turn off unless you get your fat ass out of bed" ones) and means I don't keep my phone or laptop in the room anymore, thus avoiding the "wakeup youtube chill" syndrome. Oh and it's one of those fancy sunrise clocks that supposedly wake you up slower and softer than a digital yell. Had a good day today, good courses in the morning. Threw myself under the shower and had a quick lunch before going back to class. Wanted to go to the library to work, but it was full. I got home and actually managed to get to work after a simple 10 minute break. Cleaning the apartment and setting a schedule - even for homework - does help me commit to work, even at home. So while I underestimated the time it took me to get things done, and it pushed some tasks I was supposed to regularly do out for today, I'm happy I could sit down and get things done at home. It does feel a bit weird and disheartening to have to have most moments of my waking hours mapped out - even friends were surprised by that. But hey if it works... I just have to keep the benefits in mind, and if there's progress, there's no point planning every second of my life. In regard to your comments, it's not the tone I have trouble with, being direct is painful at times, but effective. It's just that for all the truth I found in what you've said, I feel like disagreeing to some of what you said. Yes, the Why? system is a good way to stay lucid about your own behaviour, and I don't contest that. But I'm just having trouble with your claims that there's something deeper that's the root of my issues. I'll come back to that in a bit. I just feel like that omits natural behaviour: As I'm typing this tonight, it's 11:20pm and I was supposed to be in bed at 11pm for those glorious 8 hours of sleep, and I'm thinking "Eh, I'll do the dishes tomorrow, I can break the bad behaviour by at least grouping them and rinsing them, so I go to sleep before midnight - which is still acceptable." So hey, I was a bit lazy there, it's not an inner demon at work there. I will agree however that if there's anything that comes close to being an "inner demon" - a structural fear which has far-reaching and devastating consequences, it's social anxiety. I don't get guitar lessons, avoid group sports, communicate by text rather than voice, or go often to shops. Why? Because I see contact with strangers as a possible danger rather than an opportunity. Why? Because I'm afraid of not appearing "good enough" in many aspects - social skills, physically (get fit like I used to - problem solved for group sports mostly, builds self-confidence for the rest), intellectually. Why? Because I assume most people will judge you and are assholes. Why? I've had mixed to bad experiences with large social groups in high school and summer camps. Anything else? No idea. The trail stops there. But even social anxiety doesn't explain why I didn't get up from bed on Sunday, it doesn't apply for everything. So what explains that? This is where I have a hard time agreeing with you: my social anxiety definitely fits your idea, but my procrastination problem, not so much. I'll just type and see what I get: I procrastinate on academic work. Why? Because I usually find it boring or don't know how to tackle it upfront. Why? Because I don't even do the first step of attempting, depriving me of the taste of what I'm about to do, so there's no way for me to know if I'll enjoy it or find it boring. I also hate handwriting for hours, yet working on a computer means I always get distracted. Why? I either build a mental image of a task that makes me think I can't tackle it, or that doing so will be a pain in the ass. I assume I'm going to hate it. Why? My bad experiences (boring work, work I didn't do after procrastinating/panicking) overshadow the good ones (realising that even constitutional law can be fun when I get the joy of getting the "Eureka" moment of understanding something). Why? This is where it gets tricky - am I a pessimistic person by nature? I can't find anything else to explain that. I'll leave it there. I procrastinate things I'm passionate about (I want to get my license, get fit, play guitar, etc) Why? Because they always end up low on my priority list compared to academic work, and because more "addicting" activities (netflix, movie, youtube) take over. Why? 1. Because I let my work schedule overflow on my relaxation schedule (which is never truly defined) because of procrastination. 2. Because the activities I want to do are not on the top of my mind when I think about relaxation. Why? Possibly because they don't trigger the same reward mechanisms (long-term vs short term) and because I don't grant them enough visibility. Why? The trail ends here, unfortunately. Anyways, I went further with the "Whys" in the second run than I thought I'd go, but the answers still remain unsatisfying. I don't work because I have bad assumptions and/or bad mental shape. I don't relax with things I truly want to do and know I should because they get pushed back by procrastination or other "easier" activities. Another loop. Gotta break it at some point, yes. I guess me getting my sleep schedule worked out and slowly chipping away at my procrastination is the basis to enjoying these other activities. I guess I thought it worked the other way around, and it probably should, I need to "advertise" these alternative activities more to myself. That's it for tonight.
  5. Day 51-55 Everything that goes up must come down - at some point. Anyways, this week wasn't too great, and the fact I haven't posted regularly probably gives you a hint. It always starts the same way: I'm satisfied from progress and allow myself to say "Hey that stack of notes/dishes/garbage can wait a bit". And then there's another, and another, and another... Until a point, as I described earlier, where my living space becomes so obstructive both physically and psychologically to productivity that the hole just gets exponentially deeper. So yeah, I let myself go with the flow instead of being proactive and it caused me to get nothing done when I got home. Which is a shame, because I was in general quite motivated to get things done (while in class, longing to go home and capitalise on that), yet that spirit always seemed to die when I got home, and especially when I just crash down into the couch. Oh boy. Your method of asking "Why?" at each level of an issue made me giggle. Three years ago, I was already struggling with similar issues to today. I was sleeping at the home of some friends of my parents, who were kind enough to lend me a bed on my way back from a long trip. Now said friend (used to be a coworker with my father - both are very "corporate minded") was aware of the family and personal issues we had, and pretty much gave me the same advice as you did, except he got it from Toyota's HR obsession with the "5 Whys" model. a.k.a Ask "Why" 5 times to a problem and you'll get to the source of the issue rather than dwelling on symptoms. While this does work in some aspects, it's honestly wishful thinking to believe that it applies everywhere. The whole point is honestly just to get people to be critical and investigate issues deeper. But I digress. For the home aspect, I can't get to work in an unclean/unorganised environment because I'm a bit of perfectionist. Upfront, I assume that said environment is unfit for work and puts me in a negative state of mind before even getting started. Moreover, and partially as a consequence of this assumption, organising the workplace climbs up the priority list (also because it's an easily doable task which provides perceivable and immediate gratification). Just this morning, on a Sunday, it took me about 9 hours to get out of my bedroom. Ended up binging on a youtube playlist, regardless of plugins. Kind of reinforces a policy I'm thinking of taking of just buying a damn alarm clock and ditching having a laptop/phone from my bedroom. So I am still finding ways to procrastinate - I can't keep my guard down. As stated before, I've removed much of the triggers, but there is still much work to be done in behavioural aspects: the next "step" is to train myself to get things done thanks to this more forgiving environment, not relish in it. As my psychologist states - and he's right, basics of the psychology of addiction - if you remove the addictive substance you either have to: Face a painful and often counterproductive withdrawal period. Fill it in with a healthier alternative. In my case, it was youtube, but I'm looking for something else. Sports are tempting but the anxiety I previously mentioned is a hurdle. Moreover, long term goals I want to achieve such as getting a driver's license and other things don't have the same "satisfactory power". Now I don't want to sound all negative, so I'll take time to reiterate what is going well. I may still procrastinating, but my "sleep deadlines" are standing firm - meaning I get better amounts of sleep. Might need some adjustments, especially regarding screen usage before bedtime: because while my "go to sleep deadline" means I get 8 hours of sleep, it assumes I fall asleep immediately, which isn't the case. Anyways, not to spit on successes, but a big part of why I go to sleep on time is because it's a good excuse to avoid getting things done. So as I stand here on a Sunday evening, just getting started on the weekend's workload, I can't help but think back to one of your previous posts. You mentioned that other posters had a "guiding principle" or a lifeline of some sort to grapple on to and stay motivated. I think that's what I should be looking for, and while there are obvious ideas sprouting in my mind, it just doesn't seem to be enough. I'll just sum up here what I've achieved and plan on doing, as a sort of self diagnostic. I plan on making a report on Day 90 on what has worked and what hasn't. Removing Triggers: Cutting gaming from my life, and as a second step, cutting off a great deal of access to youtube, has definitely contributed to reducing my ability to procrastinate for extended periods of time with being lucid. While today's events shows that the system isn't foolproof, my "procrastination episodes" have decreased both in regularity and intensity. After working on my environment, I now have to work on my behaviour within this environment. Slightly more tricky. Organising Sleep: Sleeping at more regular times has contributed somewhat to structuring my day. While quantity and regularity of sleep has improved, the quality of my sleep has not risen as much. I've got to enforce this "wind down time" before going to sleep, avoiding laptops or screens, but this is dependant on my organisation and getting things done earlier in the day. So a bit of a cycle of problems: I end up on screens late which causes unsatisfactory sleep, which causes tiredness and lack of motivation, which leads to late working hours, etc etc etc.... Gotta cut the loop at some point. The "Home" Problem: It's becoming clear that the state of my home is detrimental to my productivity. As you have stated earlier, the first priority when arriving home should be to make it "relaxation worthy" and "work worthy". This also contributes to building the new behaviour I've been talking about: if I manage to regularly set home chores straight when I get home, it'll build the reflex of getting things done earlier instead of later. Alternative Passions: While I've stopped gaming and significantly cut my access to youtube, I'm thinking of cutting youtube out entirely. This is annoyingly complex on safari, and I have proven to myself that I can responsibly use youtube with the plugin. I think I should find a way to instead prioritise other activities rather than finding ways to completely block off youtube. I feel like cleaning/reorganising the apartment amongst other things will allow what I do want to see lying around (books, guitar, fitness mat, etc...) to stand out more. Hopefully leading me to use them more. I'm also thinking about ways to make an "activity board" (where I list down all relaxing activities) visible yet unobtrusive. I do have an old whiteboard where I've written commitments and activity ideas, but it's led to embarrassing moments when I unexpectedly had friends over and is now stashed away. Same for a "things I want to achieve in the medium to long term" list. So that's about it for today. For now, I'll just get up, take a shower, do as much of what I had to do as I can, and keep moving forward. As much as sitting there and feeling sorry for myself is the easiest solution, getting things done is the way forward. Typing this makes me pumped already. I guess I should type these earlier in the day! And this feeling of motivation is the "lifeline" you have mentioned that I wish I had. I need to find a way to remind myself of what I want to achieve - which I CAN achieve if I just set my mind to it - and get pumped like I am right now.
  6. Day 49-50 Exam was pretty harsh and I'm pretty sure better revision wouldn't have helped. It's not worth much to be honest, so oh well. The last two days have not been very special with the ordinary courses. It's good to be in class with friends, makes things more lively. You can only appreciate solitude for so long, maybe that's part of why my weekends feel so dull and unproductive. Anyhow, I was eating over at some friends and they redecorated their apartment, it was really comfy, roomy, practical, lively. I got home from uni and it felt pretty trashy to come home to a shit filled ditch of drying laundry, dishes and piles of notes and manuals. I've basically come to realise that part of the reason why home is so depressing and why I can't get things done there is because I don't allow it to be a positive environment. You reap what you sow, solo edition I guess. So organising the apartment into a tidier, more lively place seems like the "fun goal" for the weekend Overall I didn't work as much as I'd like in these two days. My mind just isn't on it. I constantly feel like I need to catch up on sleep yet I consistently end up late because of work I haven't done in the day. It's a bit of a vicious circle, although I would like to point out that my situation is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, my sleep schedule is decent now. I could scratch in a few more hours here and there to turn a "usable" night's sleep into a "good" night's sleep. In the end it all comes back to this: good sleep sets the basis for the rest. So if I can slowly build the habit of sleeping well and having the "cooling off" period of no screens before sleep, then progress could be made. Thinking of getting an old school alarm so I don't have to keep my phone in the bedroom. Plus I get to craft/DIY a nightstand, I'm in a decoration/DIY project mood right now. Anyhow, I digress. So yeah, not much to say. Overall I'm finding it easier to handle procrastinating activities, but feeling too apathetic to get major things done. I guess it can be felt in this note too. The days definitely have been morose though, so it's not just me holding myself from typing anything more. Social anxiety is a bitch though. Can't believe it's been months since I said I'd go out for sports. My application sheet is waiting, filled out, and it's been there for a while. I'm not worried about anything really, I just can't seem to prepare myself socially to the people I could meet. My reasoning is that I'm joining mid academic year, so everyone there probably knows each other and has a head start, making me feel like I'd be set aside. Classic. Don't even get me started on the cool things I want to do that simply require a bit of time every day, yet always get pushed down the priority list and end up never getting done. Add in the regular dose of uncertain feelings with flirty mc flirt and you have the recipe for a roller coaster of emotions in a pretty bland day. Anyhow, I guess deep down I want to sit down, do nothing and feel sorry for myself like I used to. This week might not be the perfect week of change I wanted it to be, but I'll just keep going forward doing what I can do, and we'll see what comes of it. At least I found myself a weekend activity: IKEA and chill (coining that term btw).
  7. Day 46-48 Posting here for the sake of consistency. Been having mixed results in the past few days, yet some positive progress overall. I'll go into more details later, as I'm very busy at the moment - both due to some procrastination, and the sheer workload by itself. I'm still procrastinating at times. Removing the major triggers definitely does help, but I still need to change my behaviour. Removing the triggers was only the first step. I have to continue setting excuses aside and learn to accept where there's failure. I also have to learn to accept and rejoice from success. Late on a ton of work right now, but I'm hopeful that I can properly organise myself this week, not because I have to, but because I feel a certain joy in thinking that I can make this a good, productive, rewarding week. More to come soon.
  8. Day 45 Good day. Worked for a presentation over at some friends. Got a lot of stuff done in a nice atmosphere. Got lunch and had an ESPOMUN staff meeting, that went well. The course that we teached was a bit chaotic but it brought to light things that needed to change in our administration. Passed a chinese exam perfectly. Got home, watched an episode on Netflix while cooking an actual meal. I stopped myself after a single episode. Now there was some inevitable time spent on the phone procrastinating a bit: on quora or 9gag... Regardless, that did not last long, only about half an hour. I managed to get to work, and get quite a bit done: a presentation for a program I teach, learning the kinks of software to present in said presentation, fixing minor errors in previous manuals that were distributed. It wasn’t the most time efficient work ever, but at no point did I stop to procrastinate on something else. Now I am going to sleep late with a lot of stuff still left to do, but I can sleep soundly because I know it was due to me prioritising my tasks and sleep. Laundry and dishes will have to wait, but it’s not a cheap excuse this time. Today was a good day. Regardless, although it might seem from my notes that I put off minor tasks repeatedly, I do feel progress in my mindset to etting things done at once rather than letting the problem go down the line. It’s simply that in this specific context, I’m so late on so many things that I cannot explore that new behaviour because prioritisation of now urgent academic tasks from previous procrastination means I have to prioritise and ditch that for now. Looking forward to the weekend to explore my new gaming and youtube-free environment. For the first time in a bit, I felt like I was in control and that my time was not wasted. Thank you @Regular Robert for bringing up the subject of youtube extensions and pushing for me to be real with myself. YouTube was just a filler for me gaming addicition, and I was hiding behind petty excuses. I genuinely enjoyed my Netflix episode tonight, and was even happier to be able to stop myself from binging more without effort. That’s it for today, it’s going to be a short but happy night!
  9. Day 43 - 44 Got up on Tuesday to revise for my exam, I had a few hours in front of me, so it was fine for a decent last-minute revision. I never got out of bed though, and I binged youtube for an hour or two. Completely useless and pointless videos too. Anyways, by the time I actually got out of bed and got showered, I had two hours until the exam. Considering you have to be in front of the examination rooms half an hour before the exam, that left me with an hour and a half to eat and revise. Rushed out to grab the closest instant noodles thing I could find. Met a homeless man on the way, he asked my if I had any change, to which I answered no, since I basically only use my credit card. I was internally thinking: "I'm sorry man, but this is soooo low on my priority list right now." Didn't help with morale. Anyways, ate faster than it takes for food to come out the other way and rushed to the library, the only place I know I can work under pressure and get things done. Revised 90% of the course in a bit less than an hour, and attended the exam. I think I did pretty well, not perfect marks, but still way up there. Went to the cinema with flirty mcflirt face (I guess I'll call her that now) to cool off. The sexual tension was off the charts, almost in a comedic kind of way. Literally every trick in the book was tried: the "oh come on I'm not going back home now if we have to go to x at y hour, can I stay at your place for a bit", the "oh hey my curtains fell can you help me I'm too small" (fixed her electricity two months back after a short that fried a resistor *yikes*). It was enjoyable to go out and take breather, and it was comedically awkward at times because I really just can't get my feelings about her straight. I honestly don't know how she has the patience to deal with someone who has a mindset as steady as a dancing dervish. Anyways, as usual after moments of panic and stress, I allowed myself a "restful" evening, that is to say that I did nothing and went to bed late. Today was an alright day. Attended a class which had some interesting thoughts buried under layers of repetitiveness and dogmatic French education. Spent the afternoon over at some friends to work on a presentation. Things went along well, and it was slow-paced enough that it was relaxing. Had more classes in the evening, got home and made a quick and dirty dinner. Watching two episodes of Netflix, got to work for a bit. Aaaaaand my I instinctively opened youtube, and my cursor went looking for gold in the recommended bar. Ended up wasting an evening that could have been used to work at a nice pace on some stuff for Thursday/Friday, but nope. Anyways, I am extending my detox to youtube. I was thinking of simply using a browser extension as you recommended to remove anything but the subscription and the search bar (thank god safari now supports extension - I can't see myself using the RAM and battery guzzling chrome on Mac). But the question of youtube on iPhone (where such a manoeuvre is difficult) and Apple TV (where that manoeuvre is impossible) became an issue, and that led me to go to a hybrid. I'll keep youtube on the laptop with the extension, and uninstall youtube on iPhone and Apple TV. If that doesn't work on the laptop, I'll just delete the youtube account entirely. So I'm left entirely with Netflix, which is fine because I usually manage to say stop after an episode or two. Only under rare circumstances have I ever binged Netflix to an unhealthy point, and I believe there needs to be at least some "dumb fun" in life. Killing off all sources of enjoyment at once is not a good way forward. So for now, I'll keep things that way and report back for improvements. It's already late here, and I'm ditching my plan of doing what I needed to do for tonight, because sleep comes first. I've suffered enough from depriving myself of sleep in the past year or two (those who have lived it will confirm it is genuine physical torture past a certain point - as if your body was rotting from the inside). I'll moreover attempt to commit to new activities this weekend. I've been thinking about hitting the gym for a while (amongst other sports), and my neighbour playing salsa with got me pumped to play the guitar, so hey - alternative forms of enjoyment galore. It's kind of sad that I have to force myself to commit to things that are my "enjoyment" activities. Do I - in reality - not enjoy said thing? Or do I indeed enjoy these things, but they're buried so far behind my brain that they rarely surface? No idea. I'll try to work as efficiently as I can on the group presentation tomorrow morning so I can get some time to work on some MUN stuff and a Chinese exam. I'll report back with my experience on my "youtube ban" tomorrow. Thanks for the comments and ideas as always @Regular Robert
  10. Day 42 Went to sleep a bit late due to last night's post. I wasn't exactly too fresh the next day, but I got through the day decently. Worked at the library for a bit. Was supposed to get home, buy some groceries, make dinner, and keep working a bit while sorting out some things in the apartment. Day went fine until I got home. I took a snack, sat back, watched a youtube video. And another. And another. A bit more than an hour behind schedule, I went to buy said groceries. Got back, ate a salad, decided to watch a single Netflix episode. Reasoning was "Hey. It's an episode, it's more defined and self contained, I can easily stop when the credits start rolling". Now it's 1 am. By the way, Casa Del Papel is nice on Netflix, I do recommend. Oh, and I have an exam today at 2 pm. It's saddening to realise that I am always one misstep away from disaster, regardless of how enjoyable, entertaining, motivating my day was. I attended all courses (unlike many of my colleagues with afternoon courses), had lunch over with friends, moved forward with some MUN paperwork. Taking a break when getting home from 11 hours of class is what doomed my day. No matter how many tiny efforts I manage to align throughout the day, slowly building enthusiasm, confidence and self-respect, I'm one spark away from losing it all and more. The disproportion between the effort it takes to change and how easy it is to fail is disheartening. I'll go to sleep soon, wake up later than I intended, leave all secondary issues behind and focus all morning on my exam. Nothing else matters for now, the rest can wait. I don't really have another choice. @Regular Robert It did vent some feelings on the spot, and it did feel like I was making a fresh start (back from a uni break contributes to that too), until I got home and bad habits kicked in again. Posting here at least allows me to sleep with a mostly cleared mind, but the emotional boiling point I reach while posting here (again, rationalising something which otherwise would be a hidden thought/buried emotion) is purely temporary. Psychologist happens to be male. I'm curious, what difference does it make? In regards to your proposal: as much as there could be a benefit, it's not something I feel comfortable with at this point. I will keep the option on the shelf though if that's alright, if things don't move forward soon. Although I fail repeatedly on a regular basis, I like to believe that I'm witnessing the beginning of an upward trend. This might just be the holidays or my current mood, but I've managed to maintain order in several small things in my life recently. I want to try and capitalise on that. I want to keep posting here so I can stop lying to myself, and keep moving forward as best I as can. I dunno, call me Fox Mulder I guess because I want to believe. For the next few days, I want to try and capitalise on my mood to try and fight the problem (binging netflix/youtube, extending breaks for other activities) rather than circumventing the issue. I want to learn to be lucid enough to realise "Hey I need to stop right now" and actually stop, rather than simply say, blocking youtube and unsubscribing from Netflix, where I won't have to face the issue and learn a new skill. In other words, I want to be able to face the triggers of my unsatisfactory behaviour, rather than circumventing them, leaving the "bad behaviour" without a fix. Seems like a more sustainable solution to me. I just have to keep my guard up and my spirits high. Might take more drastic action in regards to youtube and Netflix if this fails. I hope it won't. That'll be it for tonight. Shorter post than I'd like, but I want to get some sleep and be fresh for tomorrow.
  11. Day 40-41 TL;DR for this post is I'm very frustrated, and frankly, feeling quite lost. Good news is that for now, even with DLC, plenty of good games coming out, and I'm not feeling any cravings at all for nearly two weeks. Bad news is youtube has pretty much eaten up a lot of the time I would spend gaming, although I am moderately more lucid and somewhat aware of the incoming pain as I watch videos. Day 40 (Saturday) was a complete mess of good thoughts in the morning, slowly easing into the comfort of taking my time, then diving into procrastination, and going to sleep at 6:30am to wake up on Day 41 (Sunday) at noon, with a memo do write and hand in at 6:00pm. I finished it and handed it in at 5:58pm. I had procrastinated the entire day and night of day 40 out of sheer paralysing terror and anxiety. Now this was a memo, but I had failed to attend two sets of finals exams over the years for these exact same reasons. I panic because I simply cannot make the first step that will let me know: "Hey this isn't too bad after all!" Very frustrating, I feel like I'm not in control, that I'm a passenger to my own body. I don't know how I feel about this. I was cleared off some pretty heavy antidepressants about 2 years ago because it was deemed that I was not showing any clinical signs of depression, and that the previous psychiatrist I had was a byproduct of the American school of psychiatry (a.k.a hammer it with drugs without reading into psychological factors. Medical professionals are very light-handed when it comes to medication in France. I later learned I was on the legal limit for adult doses of Lexapro at age 16). My current psychologist seems to confirm that view, saying that given the people he sees on a daily basis (who sometimes have deep clinical issues), I certainly did not appear as showing signs of depression. His unofficial/informal conclusion is that I simply set the bar too high for myself - yet I can't even get the bare minimum done, and it feels I'm having the same conversation every time I go there. Again, very frustrating, and very lonely once you leave that door. You're alone to figure yourself out. Here's the thing. I think I enjoy the courses (to some extent, as stated, this semester is particularly harsh), but I think may way of life, and more importantly here my work ethic has polluted my academic life so much with procrastination that anything I do is under a time constraint or intense pressure of some kind. Nothing can be enjoyed if fighting against the clock and myself becomes the norm. I remember a few semesters back, I had a flawless week of getting stuff done in advance, in an organised fashion - it felt amazing. And I also remember my first semester here in Lille, I was scarred from the messy failure in engineering, and I was determined not to relive that: I wasn't a perfect workhorse, but I worked on) that left me with the least sense of missing out on alternatives: I can't possibly try out every single career path out there, and my mindset was that if you choose something, you're necessarily missing out/relinquishing other stuff. A.k.a you can't have it all. So yes, I'm pretty sure my career path makes me happy at times when I cooperate as a student. Take it this way: if I had chosen something else, I might have enjoyed it too, but I would have regretted political science as a potentially better option. Here instead, I don't feel like I fucked up my choice. Sure, the way is painful at times, but for now it seems like the right path. Yes, yes, yes and yes. Under the veil of educating myself in my general field of study, I procrastinate. 'Tis but an excuse for the same issue. Now I don't mean that in a mean way, but what the hell am I supposed to do then? Cut down 100% on youtube and Netflix? I mean I enjoy reading, I want to go to the gym, maybe get some judo going again. Want to try the guitar since I happen to have one - although social anxiety and procrastination mean I'll never be bothered with getting actually classes. I mean yeah, some of these activities definitely have the "simple activity to relax quickly" potential as youtube or gaming (reading/guitar/basic muscle exercises), but I can't bring myself break the old habits and start doing those things! And then it's the same old question of "What? Am I just going to litter my apartment with post-it notes to remind myself to do a certain thing?". Again, frustrating and debilitating. I don't feel in control, and nobody seems to have an answer. Yes, as you masterfully wrote, I am "busy" all the time, but rarely proactive. Nothing more to say. Compensation in most cases. Again, not trying to be rude, but it's been about 4 years that I've been searching. On meds. Off meds. With psychologists. With psychiatrists. In a boarding house. In a family home. In a dorm 9800km away from my ex-dorm, 11700km from what was home for a bit. And now I'm here with advantages many would die for, and I'm meddling in my own shit because I can't even something as fucking basic as the dishes on a regular fucking basis. So I'll run you through what I already know, blunt, plain, and simple: Commitments and goals are fancy, but change comes from action. Doing something long enough to break a bad habit and build a new, healthier one, is the key. If my sleep was more regular, and if I ate a healthier diet (it's not that bad), that would at least bring a better physiological background. I miss having more friends, and friends I am more active with. Social anxiety and laziness gets in the way. Endless circle. I miss being loved and having someone to love. I have clear opportunities in front of me, yet my mixed feelings (due to previous experiences) stall my existing opportunities, and social anxiety means I never initiate new ones. Fun fact: every relationship I've had was me being passive and some miss coming to me. Working in conditions I artificially make terrible means I can't possibly enjoy working. Endless circle again. I barely do any sports, and it's been 3 years. I'm not getting any endorphins. (TL;DR - the "happy"/"euphoria" molecule) Which was fine before because I'd have sex once or twice a week and was generally happier. Doesn't work that way now. Wanna be happy? Sports. So much is within my reach if I just take it. I think in terms of self-preservation and "survival" instead of positive forward-thinking. I could do so much if I just fucking did it. I am NOT who I want to be. I want to be fit like I used to. I want to get back into sports I like, maybe make new friends. I want to be an initiator in my current friend group, instead of receiving invitations all the time. I want to love and be loved, I want to have sex again. I want to succeed academically so I can stop being wasted potential and explore things I'm passionate about. I don't want to die doing nothing, I want to help people, to contribute to the world in some way. I want to be free from the limits I shackle myself with. And it's all within grasp. If I just fucking moved and did something about it again. So there you go. I'm honestly pissed, frustrated, tired and feeling very lonely with my struggle at times. And I understand, it's my issues, a lot of people have done all they could and yet here I still am. And yes, I'm slowly hitting rock bottom. That's what it feels like oftentimes. Sorry if this came out rude or rash, it's not against you, it's the closest thing I can get to just yelling out the window. I miss the cliffy seaside, it's calm, I can yell, it's beautiful. Reminds me that I keep saying I'll go surf each summer, never did it. Heh. Free beach, hometown is on the coast, what more can you ask. I'm honestly just tired. I need help, I obviously can't fix this on my own, at least not long enough for it to hold long-term, and I'm just locked with the key in my hand. I just have to put the key in and turn it. And I don't. I don't know why. Maybe my brain is that trashed from the meds. Had some not-so-kinky side effects from those. Who knows. Anyways, I'm off to sleep, I'm already 45 minutes past my "healthy" bed time and I still have a political sociology text to read. That's it for today.
  12. Day 37-39 Haven't posted in a bit due to to a visit to the parents and me switching to Mac. I've had a few issues with transferring my password cache from chrome to safari which led to me being locked out of my account repeatedly - fixed now. Thank you both for the reading propositions. Currently reading a book written by French WW1 soldiers (not exactly the most joyful book out there), but "40 ways to be miserable" is next on my list (it's a book explaining bad habits people have but don't necessarily realise which often leave people miserable - it's a nice concept), as is "The power of now" (less sure about that one, I had it recommended off the internet). I'll be sure to add those to my reading list, although the time I spend reading leaves a lot to be desired given the time I spend procrastinating instead of gaming. Day 37 Anyways, took two days off to go visit my father down in Paris, and get a new laptop. Previous one's motherboard died harder than my motivation during exams. Side note, Jesus Christ it's hard to find a QWERTY laptop in France. Anyways, I had figured that regardless of me usually not being bothered to go places during the holidays, I'd take a train down to Paris. Picked up some pastries for my father on the way there, since he's quite obsessed with work and usually thinks only about that. Seemed to have made him quite happy when I got there. I don't know why, but it felt kind of weird, like I barely knew him. Things are always a bit more understated when my extroverted, slightly eccentric mother isn't there. It kind of just hit me that he was just another person moving alone in life, with his own desires, emotions, thoughts, pains... He just happened to be my father. Again, I don't know why I felt like that, but it make him look a lot older in my eyes, and I felt a lot more responsible for him than I usually did. We had a good time though, and he was as kind as always. I guess I mention that because it's an example of the spikes in mood I get every so often, out of the blue. Right then I just felt extremely subdued and dull, moments like that usually kill my inner engine and desire to churn through the day. I guess it's just moments that remind you "life ain't all sunshine and rainbows". Day 38 Had an excellent night's sleep, spent a lot of the morning and the afternoon migrating data and cache from soon-to-be ex laptop to the Mac. There was a healthy dose of time wasted and procrastination though, nothing's ever perfect. Took the train back home with a bit of a heavy heart. I don't know what people did to deserve parents which care for you through thick and thin, but honestly if not for me, I should at least get a move on with my life for them. Although my mother often makes me reconsider that. Went to sleep late, as I spent a bit of time with the Mac in bed figuring out stuff which used to be muscle memory for a decade-long windows user. Oh well, that's alright I guess. What made me less happy was the time I spent in bed after waking up looking at youtube. I really need to stop saying I'll do something about it and actually do what I say I'll do. Day 39 Woke up after the aforementioned procrastination in bed and got some stuff done, not a perfect day by any means, dishes are still in the sink, but hey. I got up, checked some stuff off my list, actually went to the university library to work with minimal distractions. Again, while it wasn't the most productive day ever, it was nice enough. Friends invited me over for dinner to catch up on me since we hadn't seen each other during the holidays, or even before because of my trip to the US and the subsequent catastrophic hiatus. It was nice being with people and getting out of the apartment, regardless of how cozy and relaxing it is, it always ends up feeling depressing because it becomes my "cave of failure" at times. As @Newbie17 mentioned, yeah: I just have to keep in mind that all this typing means nothing if I don't take action based on the thoughts I prop up here. Yes, yes, and eh. Yes, I feel like I definitely lack willpower. In tasks where there is no guarantee of instant satisfaction, or where passion is not involved, willpower is supposed to take over and say: "Right, I have to do this because 'x'. So let's do it." I sometimes have that thought, rarely the action to back it up. And yes, it occurs for even the most basic things: dishes, trash, turning class notes into revision sheets, staying up to date on course work and compulsory readings. And here's the tricky one. Yes, I think I'm in the right career path, for several reasons. The first being that no other field of study sustains my attention and my curiosity for extended periods of time. I've had "bursts" when I wanted to branch to cinema studies or game development, but never sustained that enthusiasm long enough to make dedicated studies in these fields justifiable. Moreover, the job market there is less interesting, and definitely more risky. I think I just have a creative branch which needs to express itself every once in a while. Back on track though, there's not other subject that has me reading/watching about world history, especially military history, diplomacy, international relations on such a regular and enthusiastic basis. While it might just be the medium which is inherently more captivating (documentaries about epic military conflicts > C# assembly tutorials imo), I genuinely believe the career path I have chosen is the one which checks the most boxes and gives me the least sense of regret. It's also the one where, in more formal terms, I can truly emphasise my international experience, language skills, and personal centres of interest. While I am happy with my career path in terms of topic/genre of studies, I am unhappy with my career path in terms of what I have achieved in the road which was available to me. I'm late on getting internships, to the point where there is now a real danger that my degree might get denied due to not fulfilling internship requirements (irony in procrastination, because my inner self is begging for "field work" rather than endless theory right now). I also put minimum effort into the day-to-day student work: showing up for classes, turning course notes into revision sheets, compulsory readings, reading and studying beyond what is required of me, properly preparing exams in advance, etc. So yes, I am happy with my path (even though the road itself is bumpy and boring at times - classes are particularly boring and teachers particularly lacklustre this semester, their attendance is worse than mine for some), just not with the way I'm trodding down said path. Again, I just wish there was a "magic trick" that would allow me to get things done, study appropriately, and explore potential career opportunities (entrepreneurship and community projects for instance). That's it for tonight I guess.
  13. Day 36 Got some stuff done, not as much as I’d have hoped, but it’s better than nothing. Yesterday was the perfect example of how my emotional response works. I’m either euphoric or sinking way down, with very little in betweens, let alone a semblance of regularity. Now that’s been demonstrated to be a notable characteristic of high IQ/low social skill individuals. It is weird at times to rationally realise how exaggerated my emtional response to things are. I feel that reminding myself that I have to capitalise on my highs and rationalise/work around my lows. And in regards to fear of failure, while I agree that this is definately a major component hindering my social skills and opportunities, I believe the nature of my procrastination doesn’t lie in the fear of failure, at least not as a constant rule. In the sciences we always attempt to determine the cause of everything. Does laziness have to have a root cause? But then again, when it hinders my life in such a fashion, it has to be unnatural behaviour. I don’t procrastinate on the dishes or the laundry or simple paperwork because of fear of failure... While I hate my mother’s way of sticking the “high IQ” sticker on me, as if it defined me, it has affected me in the sense that I had previously never had to lift a finger to achieve supreme levels of success in most academic/sports areas. I think this, coupled with the increasing monotony of academic work, has bred into me a spirit of defeatism and an absence of a spirit of effort driven by long term sucess. I am simply unable to work “for the sake of it” or to achieve a long-term goal without instant satisfaction. I however thoroughly remember my childhood motivation and satisfaction at getting things done. Therefore I believe that I haven’t lost my motivation to get things done - my work ethic and my satisfaction from a job well done. I believe that I’ve simply stranded too long in the mindset that I can achieve things with minimal effort, a mindset which often has no place in university. This mindset being unsuited for university, led to unsatisfcatory results and satisfaction. Now gaming has definately contributed to me ignoring the issue, and wrecking my brain’s reward and satisfaction systems. In other words, at least academically speaking, and in regards to doing stuff that afult life requires you take care of, I simply need to “Just do it” long enough that I can acquire a new mindset and work ethic. Basically, building a new habit of getting stuff done and learning to take satisfaction from it. Easier said than done. That’s where my ex would have come in handy to gently bash me over the head. Unfortunately I’m alone right now, and apart from someone constantly being over my head, I don’t know how to remind myself (breaking bad habits) to “just do things” long enough for it to beckme a new habit. That’s it for today
  14. Day 35 Absolutely uneventful day for all intents and purposes. Visited the psychologist today, ending as usual with a mix of optimism and frustration of getting nowhere.
  15. Day 34.5 Ughhh, fuck it, sleep it is. If I don't get that stuff done in the morning I'll have a reason to hit myself over the head.
  16. Day 34 Slept in until very late, ended up being a decent night's sleep. Pretty much did nothing the entire afternoon (Going to pull up the "hey it's sunday" on this one), which in itself isn't an issue. It only bothers me that it was because I binge watched irrelevant youtube videos. It was clearly filling in time instead of appreciating it. I did pull back a habit I had back when I was in engineering: in Canada, the cinema was super cheap and the people were always heartwarming. So I thought, what the heck, might as well go out, get some cold fresh air and watch a movie. So for the first time in the two years I've studied at Lille, I've gone to watch a movie at the cinema. I think that says a lot about how I handle recreation and my free time, because I'm an avid movie watcher and considered going into film studies a while back. It was a refreshing experience, both figuratively and litteraly. It feels good to get a bowl of sub-zero fresh air every once in a while, and just sit back and enjoy something - something you know is time well spent relaxing. I think that's a difference I need to start making: I need to cut the fat between activties that are simple time-consumers and which really don't serve their purpose of being enjoyable and relaxing (anything which involves passively consuming content from the couch at this point - looking at you, youtube) from healthier, dynamic, and genuinely enjoyable activties. I'll make a sidenote on youtube. Maybe not tonight, but I will definately look into making a new youtube account void of gaming related content, or other irrelevant and time consuming subjects. I mostly watch youtube on TV through an app, so no plugins for me. As I've stated before I believe, youtube has seemingly somewhat filled the void which gaming left in my habits. I've got to keep challenging these bad habits with new activties, and in essence learning to not only recognise when I'm becoming passive to my own content (i.e. going from watching a single video to binge watching irrelevant stuff), but more importantly to act upon it and do something else. I think this "skill" can extend to other areas as well. As stated before, I have issues focusing on a single task. Recognising and acting upon lack of focus to recenter my efforts can definately help. In other words, being more lucid about myself, and acting upon it. That's a point I've mentioned multiple times to psychologists I've seen, without being able to make any conclusions. I restrict myself from meeting new people, engaging in new activities, going places I haven't been to before because I have this need deep down to appear as a "veteran" or a "guy who's been there before". I have this innate fear of being "the new guy" for some reason, one which I haven't been able to determine as of yet. And therefore, even though I hate show-offs, even though I've been educated to be modest and event though I believe myself to be mostly modest, I've been repeatedly told that I come off as proud and show-off, coincidentally always in situations where there would be a need for me to do so: meeting friends of friends whom I've never met before, joining some random sports club, talking to new people in a sports club I've been at for a while, even the damn hairdresser. I guess putting a finger on why I behave like this and what caused that behaviour originally could be an interesting development. In terms of my opinion of myself, I would say it's more an issue of wasted potential than anything else. I fail to meet the standards of what I want others to see me as, but more importantly there's this huge gap between what I am and what I want to be - which is often what I can be. Except usually procrastination stands in the way. I was about to move to another thought and leave that previous point as it was, but my mind drifted for a second and I ended up looking at the pictures from the conference we shared with each other. There's this picture of me looking sharp as hell, but my hair is doing its usual thing going AWOL, it's become a bit of a running joke among us (celtic genes oblige - I have a clusterfuck of a bird's nest on my head at times). I've had a bit of a history of being unsatisfied with my hair when I needed to look sharp for whetever reason (internships, dates, events, etc), and it got me thinking. I think the issue is that I attribute everything that is not going to optimal way in my life to me failing to meet what I want. In other words, everything that goes wrong in my life is - in my head at least - because my performance in some area was subpar and needs to be improved. I think that's what I could define as perfectionism in my own case. I just do not leave any space for "it's life - shit happens" moments or "it's not the end of the world" or "well that guy just made a shit joke too": everything is a failure on my end that can and needs to be fixed. Then again, is it not natural and healthy (to an extent) for someone to try and improve himself and seek out what's going wrong? I don't know, I've thought over too much over these last few paragraphs and my opinion is getting muddled at this point. I'll leave it at that. In regards to organisation, I just thought of a fun way to handle tasks. I'm going to try and find a way to blu-tak post-it staks to the wall in some walls of my appartment, and get in the habit of grabbing one and making quick-disposable to-do-lists if my mind gets overcrowded. Hopefully I get around to actually doing it instead of blabbering about it. I'm actually curious as to what made you think that? I have had pretty extreme issues with my mother (when I mentionned the police in my intro post - it had to do with her) and our relationship is still tense and full of misunderstandings at times. However my father has always been the patient kind and usually tries to be a non-aligned force of calm. I have been irritated and frustrated to see him side with my mother on multiple occasions in the past few years. A part of me believes that it is his way of admitting that my mother is also at fault (either due to character or the effects of old age coming in), and that I'm the easier variable to work on. It has however had the effect of making me feel as the heart of the issue, when clearly my mother behaves in unacceptable and provocative ways (to which no one could possibly not escalate). Closing that big sidenote, I did feel quite sad this evening when I went out for a movie. Going through the cold of Lille on a Sunday evening just made me realise how lonely I felt. I definately have a couple of core, reliable friends, but as I've stated previously, I lack initiative. Sometimes because I'm afraid, sometimes because it's simply not what I'm used to. That leads to me rarely proposing to do anything, and I don't have other people's habits of spontaneously and genuinely keeping touch with people. And that scares me a bit to be honest. Several times I've attempted to commit to keeping in touch with friends I don't regularly see, but it always felt fake and unnatural, and I never manged to keep it up for long. My last relationship died out due to a mix of gaming addiction and long distance relationship issues - and as I alluded to just now, I have a hard time maintaining relationships with people I don't see physically on a regular basis. So yeah, it hit pretty hard in an otherwise enjoyable moment. Loneliness is both a blessing and a curse I guess: it definately contributes to keeping my mind calm, giving me time to "socially relax", yet it also contributes to the void I often feel in my life. Anyways I'll sign off here. I've procrastinated after dinner, and I really just want to go to sleep (it's 2a.m). But I also don't want to pass the things I said I would do.
  17. Day 33 @info-gatherer I can say with confidence that procrastination is definately the major issue, with the gaming addiction stemming as a side effect (since gaming is the most rewarding and stimulating way to procrastinate in my case). Although when I was younger your theory might have proven true: my grades were fine, I have no recollection of unhealthy procrastination, this is when my love for gaming (then addiction to gaming) developped. The passage from hobby to addiciton came as a side effect of my unhealthy procrastination which grew when my academic skills were starting to struggle. In regards to your point on mental health, i honestly don't know what to think at this point. I've been on antidepressants for a year and a half when I was 16. I didn't notice any real positive evolution, while negative side effects hit me hard. The pscyhologist I'm seeing on a regular basis on the demand of my mother believes I have no health issue (in medical terms) and that I'm simply a teenager with expectations set way too high and a bad tendency to guilt trip myself. So I'm kind of lost between your comments (and what I observe myself - how can there possibly not be something wrong since I've spent the last three years searching for the cause of my issues, to no avail, and yet end up in crazy situations all the time) and the opinion of psychologists and the like who seem to indicate that there's nothing really wrong. I guess I just don't want to fall into hypochondria, seems to be a family trait, heh. As for the whole teaching thing, it's not as much an undergraduate course as it is simply teaching UN parliamentary procedure and basic international relations so younger students can participate in MUN debates and conferences. It's a purely associative endeavour, I'm not a teacher in any way, just an older student sharing knowledge. @Regular Robert My relpases are definately due to how I view my relationship to gaming in these moments of boredom. I gloss over the fact that I am indeed dealign with an addiction which has fucked my life up in more ways than one, and instead view it as a simple unhealthy habit I can indulge in. That view usually changes to disgust and despair a few hours later, but the damage is already done by then. You are probably right. I've currently got a week of holidays, but if I hadn't pulled the plug on the PC tonight, I would have binged again this week and missed the one opportunity I had to catch up on all the courses I've missed and started fresh. More generally, my behaviour this semester is leading me to a brick wall if I don't change course. As for lightening the workload, the ESPOMUN president has stated more than once that she believed I should delegate a lot of what I do to others, but I guess that to me, that would be admitting defeat and confirming my friends' assumptions: that something is wrong with me, and that I can't be trusted to get stuff done. I've tried to adress that inner pain for years. And I'm still not any closer to udnerstadngin what caused me to act the way I do, most notably in terms of procrastination and social anxiety to a lesser degree. I've gone through the classic causes of procrastination (totally just googled them again): Fear of failure: I strike that one away because even on the most serious of exams, people notice that I don't stress out too much. But it's just that I have a desultory attitude to most things people worry to death for. That's both a good and a bad thing: I usually don't fuss about a huge exam or insurance papers or whatever. But then I'm generally apathetic to things I should really be worrying about. (Like that driver's license I really need for those internships). Excessive perfectionism: I've had excellent grades up until a few years ago, but I'm still good and on top of most charts. Yet a part of me would die if I muddled in with "The average student" in terms of performance. Also, as I'm definately a reserved, solitary kind of guy (my biggest problem being the lack of initiative, my social interaction is often reactive), a big deal of social interaction I get outside of a few close-ish friends is because of my reputation. I'm "That guy who speaks awesome English", "That guy who lived in China for 13 years and speaks with an accent from Shanghai", or "That guy who's so good at MUN". I guess perfectionism is a way for me to guarantee I won't be seen as a hoax. Low energy levels: This one's a no brainer. My sleep schedule is fucked up, I don't exactly have a healthy diet, I don't have much external motivation (friends/events/passions/etc), so I can't expect to magically be a productive and functional adult. A lack of focus: On a broad scale, I have no real idea of where I want to end up, what I want to achieve. I also don't care enough for my degree to see it as the shining light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the whole "life goal" or "long term goal" concept is just a joke, but my goals are definately sporadic and all over the place. On a more practical level, I simply can't sit down and do one thing at a time. When I get things done, it's usually through some insane multitasking: I start thing B in the middle of thing A, while thinking of doing thing C. So just as I was initially about to explain that none of the "classic causes of procrastination according to the first google result" apply to me, I realise that a lot of them do in fact apply to me. Heh. That's why I enjoy writing here, it's a burst of lucidity on otherwise muddled thoughts and assumptions. So let me update my thoughts: All of the above do apply to me, yet these issues are so vague and structural that I have no idea what to do about it. So to answer your question "Why do I procrastinate?", here's my answer: I have no clear, defined goals to which I wish to commit and use as a driving force. I have an unhealthy way of life which does not set the basis for productivity and success. I have poor organisation, meaning I rarely have time I can truly call "relaxing" - there is no time where I can sit back and relax knowing I've done what I had to do. Thus my time is spent procrastinating and postponing work in a fear of not havign any time to relax whatsoever. I have lost/never had a work ethic of simply getting things done because I have to (regardless of wether it pleases me or not). I have a lack of focus which means any work I do is usually not time efficient, and surges of productivity rarely hold in the long term. I rarely see a personal interest in most things (usually studies) - yet this point is void since I procrastinate on things I'm passionate about. And finally, I have a bad tendency to exaggerate tasks and panic about the workload, rather than sitting down to estimate what I truly have to do, and attempt to find ways to tackle and divide things into manageable chunks. These are the reasons I can currently come up with as to why I procrastinate. I however also know that I have issues turnign thoughts into long-term action. So after sitting down and putting these vague thoughts down I guess I can come up with these conclusions and possible commitments: Stated before in previous posts, but Nothing can be achieved without a healthy lifestyle. I've got to have proper and regular sleep, and I've got to eat regular and balanced meals. Also structures the day, as stated before, nice bonus. I've got to Organise myself in a manner which will allow me to clearly and emprically understand what I have to do. Therefore I will be able to rationally assess an issue rather than emotionally reacting to it, and scheduling my time will allow me to define moments of work and relaxation. It should moreover allow me to focus on one task at a time. I hate to have to depend on a scheduler (especially when I compare myself to how others simply remember and get things done) but it's what I've come up with to deal with my issue of emotionally reacting to workloads and pressure, rather than rationally assesing issues. I have to determine Clear goals which I want to achieve, detailing the reasons why I believe they're important to me, and what I could benefit from completing them. As well as the steps/actions needed to reach them. I have to Reward myself for respecting the above points. I should make a list of things I can do to relax that aren't the usual "Sit on the couch and scour youtube for content". i.e. read a book, actually play the damn guitar, go out and watch a movie at a cinema instead of renting it on itunes (might as well grab friends while you're at it),etc. Cam's list of alternate activities might come in handy. I need to find a way to synthethise this into "4 commandments" or something so I can abide to it long-term. So that's it for tongiht I guess. Feeling slightly better, although how I manage the coming days will determine the mood of these holidays. I really do have a problem, and this is the only place where I not only feel comfortable talking about it, but also feel like I am understood - by like-minded people. I always feel like I'm missing some stuff at the end of these posts, but I'm usually always happy I put down on "paper" what I managed to think of. Did you guys also have issues with procrastination/apathy/lack of motivation while quitting gaming? What caused that? And how did you get over it (if at all)? Take care guys, more to come soon.
  18. Day 22-32 Was in the US for an MUN conference, chances are Hitaru knows what it is since he's in political science too. It's basically a conference split into different committees modelling the United Nations, debating several topics and producing resolutions. Think of it as the closest thing you get to actually working at the UN for a political science student. Noiw at Harvard, the level was way up there, and I got trashed in debate in the first day or two. It was a really humbling experience, it was rocking my world to not be on top of the food chain anymore. Nevertheless it turned out to be an incredible experience even with the initial difficulties, as I got myself together and ended up doing very well by the end of the conference. I guess that's a testament to commitment and perseverance, I could easily have sat on the sidelines instead of pushing out directives and propositions, regardless of how inadequate I felt in the debate. So all in all, an incredible experience that swept away any thoughts making me wonder if I'd chosen the wrong career/studies path. I was watching a movie called 93 days on the plane on the way home. It was about how nigeria delt with the ebola outbreak in Lagos at the time. Now at some point, some guy in quarantine mentions that he's scared of ending up like all the bodies the staff picks up every once in a while to dispose of by incineration: barely treated as people, and doomed to be forgotten. And I don't know why, but it really hit home. "Man imagine if I were to die in the next few days, what will I have achieved?" Nothing would be the answer. And I just sat there and thought of how easily I could make the world a better place, which is all down to motivation and commitment when you have the resources and context of a middle-class western european student in a good university. I get these highs of ambition and ideas every once in a while, but rarely follow up on them. It's quite a saddening experience, one which I want to change moving forward. There's so much I can do if I just commit to it. I got home jetlagged, sick, exhausted, but in a good mood. However, after that incredible experience, the physical wreck that I was decided I would just sleep in instead of going to class. Seems fair right? I'm an adult, attendance isn't required, it'll be my responsibility to catch up on lessons, but at least I'll rest. I was just coming off the high of that conference and classes just didn't motivate me in comparison. Sounded good. Except I also thought "Eh, fuck it, what can go wrong?" and reinstalled steam. End result is I spent 4 days gaming, missing most of my classes, missing any sleep that could have gotten back up and ready. Now quite a few classes were boring and a genuine physical strain to attend (6 straight hours of economic theory should be a violation of human rights...), and failing to attend them would have been my own problem. What really saddened me is the following: I not only take part in MUN conferences, I'm also currently the secretary general of the MUN association at our University. I'm the guy in charge of setting up the timetables of around 100 people, preparing several aspects of our own conference in March, where we expect over 300 people in all, and the mayor of Lille amongst other things. In other words, hundreds of people's work depends on me getting stuff done on time. Which I didn't. I also hastily remember that Friday morning I was supposed to train the staff of our conference. I hastily gathered some half-baked thoughts at 2 am (while I was supposed to teach at 8), and I went to sleep expecting a rough morning - but at least accompanied by the satisfaction of getting that done and taking part in something I'm passionate about. Expect I was so incredibly tired that I slept over both alarms, and missed the course I was supposed to teach. I was met with a sarcastic snap posted on the news feed of the workgroup page when I woke up at 12:20, realising what had just happened. I promptly explained myself honestly, saying I had fucked up and slept in. The people I were supposed to teach this morning were obviously disappointed, but seemingly without hard feelings when I talked to them individually later on. But I still felt like shit, and the shame was immense. For the first time in my entire life, I had let my gaming addicition and my procrastination cuse problems for someone other than myself. That was the line I would never cross. I would let myself go through hell, but it didn't matter, because I could deal with it over time and was still doing fine in the eyes of others. I would always end up scraping something at the last minute to not let others down. And this time it didn't work out, and I ate shit for it. Now the ESPOMUN (our association) president, who I get along nicely with and was at Harvard with, told me to take it easy and spread out the workload with some other staff members. I think she meant that nicely, but a part of me can't help but think that it's because I've become less reliable in here eyes. Needless to say, I was hoping to get the presidency this year (which I didn't get since I was a wreck because of - again - procrastination and gaming during the previous elections, even though I am by far the most experienced member of the staff), and this just jeopardised my chances of getting it next year. I have all the experience, knowledge and capability to rank up in something I'm passionate about, and my issues got in the way again. So I feel like shit. I've crossed two lines: I've wasted people's time and disappointed them I've let my demons invade the previously immaculate area of things I was passionate about and usually needed no push to get done Running out of time to type, so I'll end it here. I'm feeling like trash at the moment, but the shame and anger I'm feeling right now is making sure I don't touch gamin with a ten foot pole anymore. Thinking of selling/deleting my steam account and my gaming PC.
  19. Back from the US, good stuff and bad stuff in the past week. Now considering it’s 3am, I think I’ll pass on a sleep deprived journal entry fuelled on self-hatred. Spoiler alert: good times followed by a relapse. Positive note however, newfound hatred and commitment against gaming. (And myself in my current mood). Proper entry to come soon.
  20. Day 19-22 Oh the irony! Jokes aside, I’ve had a stressful last few days, as I’m got a conference in the US wednesday - big university stuff related to Harvard, so stressful enough... Had to get a lot of administrative things sorted - visas, passports, transport, etc... Had to iron shirts, tied and get the suit unwrinkled. Not a ton of stuff individually and not overwhelming if organised correctly. And yet I fucked it up and procrastinated. Courses were uneventful otherwise, although I did get my grades for last semester, which turned out very good - a strong improvement from my earlier plunges. Day 22, Monday, and I actually got the dishes done, and cleaned the appartment in a way that actually allows me to get things done in it now. Leaving wednesday at 3 am so hopefully I’ll have a productive tuesday. Need to get the ironing done, pack the bags, hand in some papers late... I do feel at times like Netflix is a bit of an issue in time/usage although I find it to be controllable by the lack of too many good shows for me to latch on, and the episodic format giving me a lucidity spike at each ending - an opportunity to move on to something else. I am more seriously considering setting up a new distraction free youtube account. I’ll make a list of ideas and add it there, and find a way to get back to it later. My biggest issues are twofold, if I would have to generalise them: I procrastinate intensely when I have a task in mind because I often exaggerate the effort it takes or panic at the though of how to tackle the issue. When I don’t have a task in mind, I simply gloss over it unintentionally. I think the “centralisation” of tasks through a planner will really help with this: keeps track of things to do, forces me to evaluate realistically how much time it will take, and encourages me to braak down tasks. Secondly, I have developped a bad habit of not cleaning up after myself: i.e. not putting scissors back after using them, not throwing empty bottles in the trash, letting clothes stack... This is a bit harder to tackle and I simply need to be lucid about my actions instead of running with the flow. On another note, been thinking about asking this girl out for Valentine’s day. We’ve had a somewhat awkward flirtatious relationship over the past year, with a few big hiccups on the way. We are polar opposites in terms of interests but it’s blatantly obvious that she’s madly in love with me, and I know for a fact she’d do anything if I asked her. She’s really caring and fun to be around and is a pretty healthy person to have around - usually. I’m only pretty attracted to her too - usually. She might as well be aphrodite herself, she’s won the natural lottery in that respect, but the things holding me back are that, as stated, we have nearly nothing in common interest wise, and she’s very immature at times, being overattached to her mother (the latter remarried after a first abusive marriage, so there’s family history) and I sometimes see a 14 year old girl stuck in a young adult’s body. I really feel like we could work out - we both have areas we could elevate each other in - and I really miss having someone to love (I’d like to comment that this isn’t neediness, she’s not a pick for the lack of better options). But then again this might not work out, and I don’t think I could handle the fallout, given her tendency for grudges and some annoying rumours in uni. Tricky situation, but hey, if you guys have any stories I’d be glad to sit down and listen. Anyhow, next few days are going to be messy and tiring. Today’s journal entry was not really what I wanted it to be, but I still got thoughts on virtual paper. Typing at 1am while waiting for meds to take effect isn’t exactly the smartest idea either. Incredibly excited and stressed out for the next few days, will post soon again if I have internet in the states and my schedule allows it. See you soon guys.
  21. Busy days and they're going to get busier, will update soon
  22. Day 18 Had a high of motivation which soon died down, and I ended up spending yesterday's evening watching youtube. Did some of the stuff I meant to do, but left most of it away. It was a bit disappointing. Had a rather enraging day today where rather than teaching the course they were supposed to, everyone in our staff had some sort of excuse to not be there. I had to reorganise the student groups last minute, and had to get some backup, we ended up being two (the other being a great student i pulled from the ranks) to tecah instead of 12. There was an atmosphere of "no shits given" in the staff messenger conversation. Sometimes I feel like it's not me who's not sociable or awkward, but that it's really just a big chunk of the others which are simply jerks or do not care. I guess everyone has responsabilities they fail, but hey. Felt great to feel usefull answering questions and seeing some of the guys we were coaching be motivated as hell. When I came fome at 7:30pm I would do the old routine and make dinner, and forget about the dishes as I watch an episode of something on netflix, which turns into procrastination on youtube. Procrastination really is the name of the game to be honest. This forum is about quitting gaming and yet I see a lot of journals derailing onto everyday life issues. It can't just be a coincidence, and honestly gaming is just the coping/avoidance mechanism that we found to deal with our issues. Now youtube is sort of taking up the space gaming used to. A part of me wants to somehow enforce "No Youtube" either, but I feel like blocking all the "guilty pleasures" isn't the way to go either. I think it might actually be harder for me to quit youtube than gaming. I don't know, I'd like to have your thoughts on that if possible. I'm thinking of either stopping consumption of youtube content entirely, or creating a new account with subscriptions restrained to history documentaries/politics/stuff relevant to my studies/non-gaming topics I'm passionate about. Again, I'd like your thoughts, and your experiences if you extended the scope of your project. Then again there are so many things which could take up the "effortless relaxation" spot: simply listening to music, reading a book, playing the guitar (when the time of day allows it), revising for my driver's license... I feel like I've lost the way to appreciate the little things in life. Food for thought. Regardless, I'm happy that I took the time to sit down and write this down, it calmed a little bit of tension that I could feel boiling up. I might not get a ton of stuff done, but writing put me in the mood to want to get something done before I sleep. @MPieterse I guess I'll extend my question based on your answer. I'm in 100% agreement that small habits breed big change, but I guess my answer is more specifically on "How do you remember to do all these small things every day?" Do you notes somewhere? Alarms? I guess I'm looking for a miracle solution to be honest, because you suggested a to-do-list, but I'm at the point where I need reminders to check my to do list. My mind is always racing and I constantly forget the little changes I need to hold. Clean bed for 5 days straight, right from the morning, looks like I'm on a winning streak for that though. Anyhow, I think that's it for today. I just want to take a minute to thank @Cam Adair for setting this whole thing up, because it definately is something special, and something I neither expected to take part in or gain so much from. And also a big thank you to everyone in this forum for making a welcoming and positive place, cheers @Regular Robert @MPieterse @Hitaru @J(e)RK in my case. I think it's important to take a moment every once in a while, to take a breather and be grateful for what we have. Really looking forward to getting the planner I ordered, I think it's going to be a useful gimmick to get a day structured and not miss a thing. Looking forward to try new things out, we'll see in the next few weeks.
  23. Day 16-17 I've cooled down from posting that, and my post was definately a bit over the top, even though I decidedly hadn't had a good time. Managed to get some stuff done, nothing extravagant, failed at making a paella, but oh well. Watched some enjoyable stuff on netflix and got a good night's sleep, so that's good at least. You're right, honestly. I always have a lot of awesome ideas, want to do so many things, but rarely put a foot forward or commit long-term to it. I learnt a little bit of C#. I know how to play the guitar a little. When I commit to work, I work a little then let the satisfaction be my excuse to stop. That is definately the biggest hurdle in terms of my ethic of doing things. Somehow I miss the times when I was younger and I had the pleasure of getting stuff done. I would rip a math exercise I'd worked on for two hours because there was an ink stain and start again, but I enjoyed it - at least the getting something done right part. I feel like I've lost the pleasure - and the capacity - to get things done somewhere. I feel it's still there at times, but it's no longer this everyday motivating force. I've been reading Hitaru's journal and he mentioned a brand of planners (good old notebook planners). This one was interesting in the sense that it extended beyond work commitments and was seemingly designed for people who want/need to keep many aspects of their life on track. Thinking about getting something similar myself. My idea is that the problem I've had is that there are so many things not going the way I want them to in my life, and therefore's there's so many things I need to keep track of to fix. Now @Regular Robert is right that I should aim low at first and work my way up. I guess that's part of who I am, my mind racing in a thousand directions at a thousand miles an hour, never really committing to a single track. So I've thought that if I wrote down everything I needed to do (work wise), what I was passionate about, and each commitment I wanted to begin, all in one place, and simply committed to opening that notebook every single day, I could at least stay lucid about my condition. Might be a gimmick, but we'll know soon enough I guess. The whole point is to have regular commitments I can write down all in one place, i.e. "Go to judo 6pm - 8pm", "Get started on economics presentation 10am - 11:30am", without necessarily reducing my life to a constant timetable. I dunno might be overkill, but I'm really just scouring options at this point. Hopefully I can get it filled up with things I need/want to do, and thus avoid wasting time in long, empty days where I would usually just sit down and muster what to do instead of actually doing something. I'm tempted to just save some cash and use the calendar app between PC and phone for versatility, but I'm wary of using a computer when I have an alternative. I studied a year while taking notes on PC instead of handwritten ones and the results were awful, I only go for the latter now. But I digress. Damn right I do! Ha ha Moving on however, I do feel like at times my "Just do it" vibes kick in and it feels good to get things done. Got back into the habit of making the best cadet squared again in the morning. I've heard somewhere that change needs to be held around 30 days for it to become a habit. Here's hoping this is one the little things I manage to commit to and move forward. So here's my question to you guys: how do you manage to keep track of everything that you need to do? Not necessarily in terms of work related aspects, but more generally commitments you want to hold, in all fields of life. I agree with @MPieterse's advice too, I'm looking into sports to just let it all out honestly. I've been looking into more aggressive combat sports lately, but I guess I'll stick with judo. It really feels good to give everything you have in a sport instead of internally boiling with negative emotions. In regards to my procrastination problem, I don't know... Some times it just feels like I can't be bothered even though I usually enjoy the task (general apathy), and sometimes it's because I hate the work that's needed (i.e. rewriting course notes into revision sheets). I either have to find an alternate method for revising, or suck it up and get used to churning through papers. Anyhow it's really good to post here, and I don't post as often as I should. Not because there are expectations that I should post, but because I'm missing out on my own opportunity to let things out and focus on more singular events daily. Glad this is a social experience, this wouldn't have the same effect if it was a solitary experience. We all need RegularRobert's gentle nudge every once in a while. So I'll set realistic commitments tonight, small things: I will get my badminton license sorted and start attending classes I will look up the times for the next judo sessions and set a date in the planner I will finish preparing the notes for the course I'm teaching tomorrow I will create the workgroup I should have made ages ago And I will do the dishes, and put my scattered notes in their folders Procrastination can go to hell tonight.
  24. Day 7-15 Had an uneventful week. Had the parents over. Relapsed again during the weekend. I definately attribute that to watching streams of strategy games with excentric strats and it got me pumped. Bad luck for me, I also had an afternoon free due to a professor missing a flight. Fell sick and had a pretty big argument with my mother, as usual. Procrastinated on a tiny piece of work so hard I went to bed at 4 am, ended up missing an entire day of class as I also spent an afternoon in a doctor’s waiting room. In other words, the spirit isn’t doing too well and morale is pretty low. It’s really easy to fall into self pity and do nothing about the problem, and it gets you nowhere. Yet I’m sick of sitting in the same fucking hole I’ve been in in the past few years. I have the keys to success in my hand and yet I just barely fucking move. Gaming in itself has never been a problem in of itself for me: it’s just most damaging way to procrastinate - as an entertainment medium which requires intense involvement from the player, it’s also the one which overshadows my lucidity and responsibility. I can’t control the time I spend gaming and all other prioritie go out the window. And Procrastination is the big hurdle here. Once I stop my unhealthy and unsustainable procrastination, I won’t need gaming. Procrastination is the gap between what I am and what I want to be. I’ve always attempted to explain my lack of motivation and willpower: lack of sleep, unhealthy diet, character... But right now I just feel like I’m lying to myself. Maybe I’m just a weak-willed spoiled brat who won’t get any better. The moderate part of me wants to believe there’s a bit of both. For now I’ll just procrastinate and let this shitty mood pass. I’ll change. Tomorrow. Or the next day.... “Totally going to be upheld objective of the week”: Finding the secret to commitment and willpower.
  25. As a certain British person I don't particularly like said: "If you're going through hell, keep going". Relapsed myself immediately, but as with all things in life, shift gears and look ahead! Looking forward to the report, I think it's always good to write things down, for yourself or to share an experience with others. It's putting words and rationalising a feeling that would go undescribed and ignored otherwise. I personally see assertiveness (when it isn't excessive) as a transition from focusing on what others think of me to what I think of myself, and what I want to be. You don't let others (and your own emotions!) define who you are what you do! Good luck man, keep pushing and get through this, there's always good stuff ahead!
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