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Posts posted by karabas

  1. Day 16/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100) 
    Sleep before 12am: 4ish (longest streak: 4)

    No phone in washroom 18/120
    Umra resolutions: 3/90

    Work Hours: 7.5

    I'm cheating a bit with the sleep before 12am thing because technically I went to bed slightly after 12. But it was a bit out of my hands and I wasn't staying up and procrastinating, which is what I'm trying to avoid. Either way, no cheats today or I lose the streak (otherwise I'll be at 5 days, which would mean beating my previous streak!).

    Did a lot of work today, including spending 90 minutes on working on my business idea. I'm finding more and more that I can't stay motivated if I don't do something about it. If I maintain this level of work on it, I think I should have enough stuff ready to hit the ground running in January (I'm not setting up a company until then to avoid doing extra taxes for this year, so I need to leave my expenses until then as well).

    Cravings were pretty minimal, aside from when I had to watch a youtube video for work: I nearly forgot about my detox and watched an unrelated video, but I held myself back. 

    I need to restart my pomodorros at some point, but I'm not feeling it at the moment...

    2 hours ago, fawn_xoxo said:

    When I come back from vacation I'm like noooooooooo. So if you ask me, I will say yeah, surely it is your vacation, don't worry about it. Just keep doing it and after a few days you'll feel like working again! That's how it is for me at least.

    Yeah, that's probably all it is.

    • Like 1

  2. Day 15/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100) 
    Sleep before 12am: 3 (longest streak: 4)

    No phone in washroom 17/120
    Umra resolutions: 2/90

    Work Hours: 6

    First proper work day. I struggled a bit. Maybe it's the nearly two weeks of not doing any work. Or the fact that I'm still sick (caught something as we were departing Saudi). Either way, couldn't focus very well or get myself to really dedicate effort to work.

    Also, my Umra resolutions take about 2 hours or even more every day, so that's an added filler to the day. Which I don't mind - I should be able to squeeze in that much time into my days.

    Feeling good so far. Not much in terms of cravings for videos or games.

    16 hours ago, JustTom said:

    Interesting. I don't have a religious perspective at all, but I would like to incorporate spirituality into my life as well. I just can't seem to find time for it - as you said, getting distracted by the constant chase of productivity and results. Going on a retreat where all you do is pray/meditate/contemplate/take part in the community sounds pretty great. Let's see how it motivated you really are to crush it now! ?

    Yeah, it was definitely a worthwhile retreat. I'm curious to see how motivated I am too! Some of the effects are already wearing off (unfortunately), but some are going strong, so let's see.

    The thing is, this detox and these journals are somewhat spiritual in and of themselves. It's quite startling how much they resemble medieval Sufi writings that discuss things like leaving sins or rectifying your character (controlling anger, jealousy, etc): almost all Muslim schools of spirituality (who source their ideas from the scriptures & the practice of the Prophet peace be upon him) recommend taking account of your day every day, setting "detox" goals for the action you want to leave or inculcate (usually 40 days), consulting with more experienced practitioners, leaving friends who prevent you from progressing, replacing bad actions with neutral ones, etc. And they talk about the fact that being on the path is what's important, the results come from God. So if you fail, you pick yourself up, restart, and keep going. I've literally heard all of this on these forums before.

    So I think a lot of it just infusing the detox with a spiritual outlook. But I think that comes down to your overall beliefs: what you believe will happen when you die affects how you live and that affects your spiritual outlook. So worth the time investment ?

  3. 18 hours ago, JustTom said:

    60 is my top score ? I'm in a bit of a down-turn right now, but that's okay. I bounced back from watching gaming vids that one time really quickly. It's really the person who sucked me into it - I've been watching him since I was 15 and he influenced my personality sooo so much - probably more than my parents themselves haha. In a good way, he's a wonderful person(not your standard gamer type). But as I kept watching, after 2 hours or so, I googled the game, saw it's free to play and then I realized what I'm doing. I realized that I'm just 2 steps away from relapsing, so I snapped back and stopped. Definitely a sign of strength, but also a reminder that I can't be messing around and keep being focused. 

    Thanks for the support!

    Ok, so you're nearing 60. You got this, man ?

    The fact that you stopped when you realized what you were doing is an awesome sign, but best to learn the lesson from it as well, like you did ?

    • Like 1

  4. Day 13/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100) 
    Sleep before 12am: 1 (longest streak: 4)

    No phone in washroom 15/120
    Umra resolutions: 0/90

    I'm back from the umra pilgrimage to Mecca/Medina.

    The experience has been extraordinary, and completely different from last time. The Sufis talk about the "spiritual high" that's found in acts of worship and I got to experience a taste of it. Prayer often feels like a burden for me normally - I'm so engrossed in this world and doing things I need to earn, study, etc, that I approach prayer like a distraction from all of that. But I dropped everything when I came to the holy cities. No work. No business. No studying. Just 5 prayers at the mosque, reading Qur'an, and paying visits to the Prophet's tomb (peace be upon him). It was a tranquil, zen-like experience. And some of those prayers, I wished they never ended. 

    Obviously, I couldn't even think of games or videos. Even checking out a twitter feed of a person I follow seemed "dirty" at that time.

    There was a particularly amazing event this time around. There's an area of the mosque in Medina that's called Riyad al Jannah, or "Garden of Paradise". It's based on the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), that what's between his house and his pulpit is a garden from the gardens of paradise. Whether that's literal or figurative is not known, but it's understood to be a spiritually special place. That area is very small. And everyone wants to pray there. And there are hundreds of thousands of people who come every day (the mosque can hold 1 million people and people spill over onto the plaza outside for Friday prayers, so go figure). The government has set up a whole "flow control" system where they let in a group of ~100 people at a time, give them 5 minutes, then kick them out and bring in the next 100 people.

    There's a specific pillar in that place that's known to be an especially blessed part, particularly because the Prophet (peace be upon him) would lead prayer from there until he expanded the mosque. I haven't been able to pray behind it because every time someone takes the spot. It's very hard to get it, given the crowds. I kept asking friends if they know any tricks to doing so, but nobody gave me anything concrete. So on my last day in Medina, I decided to go one last time. I got delayed many times to the point that I was afraid I'll miss praying there at all. But when I finally got there, the crowd literally carried me in front of the pillar. And at that point, we were an hour away from one of the 5 daily prayers. So instead of 5 minutes, I was able to stay until the prayer, and then a bit after it - an hour and a half in total. No tricks necessary. I got more than I wished for - and a lot more, without any work of my own.

    And this is really the spiritual lesson that Islam teaches: your job is to stay sincere and put in the effort. Results come from God. It's a great analogy for the detox I'm doing here: I put in the effort and I do it because I want to improve my life both from a worldly and religious aspect. Whether I succeed or not is not up to me, but I have to keep trying if I want to get results at some point.

    Long story short, this whole trip put some things into perspective. I've realized how disconnected I've been from my own religion, despite following the letter of the law to the best of my ability. And I've realized how much there is for one who remembers the spirit of the law as well as the letter.

    I've made a new counter for some resolutions I've made upon coming back:

    - I want to pray at least one prayer a day in the mosque. Doesn't matter which one, just get it done. It's less than a 5 minute walk away, so there isn't an excuse.
    - I can't delay the prayer in general: do it as soon as the prayer time comes in, or as soon as I can after that
    - I need to do my morning and evening spiritual routine no matter what (prayers for forgiveness, blessings on the Prophet peace be upon him, and reading Qur'an)

    Obviously, my non-spiritual goals in terms of going to bed on time, staying off of videos, and working on my new business, are still there as well.

    So I'm back in it with fresh resolve. Not taking my phone to the washroom has been very helpful as well. I'm traveling again in ~3 weeks to visit my parents - that time should be easier in terms of staying off of technology, but it'll be more difficult in terms of keeping up my spiritual routines. I hope and pray my resolve lasts that long.

    • Like 1

  5. What was your best detox streak? You're approaching it soon, right? Sounds like you've figured out some things and it's helping you keep going. Particularly impressed with how you didn't relapse after that day of watching vids. That's usually the start of the downfall for me ?

    Keep it up man! I haven't replied in a while, but I get your post updates in my email, so I'm following along ?

    • Like 1

  6. I relapsed right after hitting 90 days too. That's OK. Learn from it, see what you're doing wrong, and pick yourself back up.

    I struggled for a bit after my post-90-day relapse, but once I restarted my detox, gaming hasn't been an issue. I'm at a 110 days now and aside from an occasional craving there hasn't been a big problem. Videos and the like still are, but at least I've gotten gaming out of the picture.

    One of the key things I've learned from failing is to not feel too crap about it and just move on. Failures will happen and it's how we grow.

    Here's to another 90 days of butt-kickery ?

    • Like 3

  7. Day 0/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100) Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
    No phone in washroom 1/120
    Spiritual Routine: 0/7

    I'm pausing both the pomodorro ticker (because I'm not at home and am not using pomodorros right now) and the sleep ticker (because we're about to travel and God knows I'm not sleeping early in the Holy Cities).

    The phone in washroom thing I definitely aim to maintain (I already feel better after a day and a half of not doing it). Looks like the video detox and spiritual routine will wait for a revamp once I travel. Here's to trying one more time!

    22 hours ago, Samon said:

    Gratz for the successful game detox!

    I read your whole journal and I can really identity myself with it. I just start a game detox and its exactly like you describe. Its not such a huge deal, I just watch more youtube. Usually I watch movies or anime too, but some other things happend, so I stopped with that. Its easy to say that now, but before I stop I was literally like you and just couldnt stop with it, although there were months i watched every day a season of a series... But yea, something happend that forced to stop me, its privat so I dont want to talk about that much. 

    However its youtube for me too currently, beside that its just surfing on the internet mindless and if I had more books at home, I would read them too. Even gamequitters is one of my proca. station now. But luckily there is not much new content here daily. So to put in a nutshell: nearly 90% of my online time is just mindless and it gives me some dopamin. Even watching politics news or so I abuse. 

    I think I simply have to minimize my online time, i cant stop it completely, because you know, you work with it, you learn with it etc. but I have to put it to a minimum and use that minimum productively. Structure the day is important, so you have always something to do. 

    however, keep going mate. I will soon start my complete online-detox, maybe I have then some more tips for you

    Yeah, I hear you. Thanks for the encouragement.

    My long-term aim in life is to reach a point where I can actually have my laptop locked up most of the day if not even most of the week. And switch to a dumb phone.

    I don't really have a good strategy for achieving that at the moment. So far it seems like my best bet is to get wealthy enough to hire an assistant who could do most of my tech usage (like replying to emails & the like). I'm not sure if I'd be able to reach that ever, but here's to hoping.

    Overall, I've come to see technology as the equivalent of morphine. Yeah, it has its benefits (morphine is used during surgery sometimes), but it's also highly dangerous and to be avoided as much as possible.

    But yeah... one step at a time. I think that compared to a year ago, I'm in a significantly better place, even if I haven't managed to detox from video content. If I were to total up the hours I waste, I think they're a lot less. They're still a lot, and I hate myself for wasting so much when there are so many things I'd rather do, but it's progress and I've gotta be thankful for it.

    • Like 3

  8. Day 0/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100)
    Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)

    No phone in washroom 0/120
    Spiritual Routine: 0/7

    Ok, so it looks bad, but it's not as bad as it looks. I'm being fairly productive - at least with work. My biggest problem is spending too much time in the washroom because I take my phone with me and then waste time on it (I don't waste time on my phone otherwise). That's stupid and I"m starting a detox from that specifically. It's a bad habit that I have to drop.

    My spiritual routine has taken a hit and that needs fixing, but I am going on pilgrimage in just a few days.

    I'm still watching videos, but good news is that the bug in the chrome extension that @JustTom recommended has been fixed and I think that should help me control this a bit more.

    Also: I've past 90 days without games! And I barely even thought about it! (My Steam account has been long deleted now, so getting myself back into gaming would be annoyingly hard and expensive). It might seem doom and gloom, but clearly I've progressed to some extent.

    • Like 2

  9. It's a temporary thing. Just ride it out and don't relapse.

    You probably need to get some rest - you've been going hard for a long time with these exams. 

    You're in the Bay Area, no? Why not plan some nature excursion for the weekend or something? There are so many awesome natural parks a few hours' drive away and planning for them might engage your mind a bit.

    • Like 1

  10. 6 hours ago, JustTom said:

    Fuck I hate these days. This self-sabotage in the morning is the last thing standing between my previous life of depression and my future life of excellence. I'm not giving up though.

    It's all about sleep man... I'm feeling it too.


    6 hours ago, JustTom said:

    One good thing I'd like to note that I feel no cravings for gaming or even consuming gaming media.

    That's a huge victory! I think that's the sign that the detox is finally kicking in. Of course, cravings will be back at some point (even if it's because they're triggered by something), but as long as you can shake it off as a "blast from the past", you're golden.

    6 hours ago, JustTom said:

    I wonder if I should try cold-turkeying youtube again? Last time I tried it, it felt like it made me crave it even more than if I had it available and couldn't keep it for more than like 3 days. I don't know. Thoughts?

    I can't keep it going for more than a handful of days myself (and you know how long I've been trying to do this lol). So from personal experience (which may not be applicable to yours), I'd say do the gaming detox, then go for videos. On the other hand, I really feel like youtube is the "gateway drug" to everything else that sucks about technology.

    • Like 1

  11. Day 2/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100)
    Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
    Spiritual Routine: 0/7

    Sleep: 1am-6:45am, 7:30am-11:30am

    I'm re-starting this journal, although I'm going to have to put it on pause in 10 days while I'll be on pilgrimage in Saudi.

    It's actually been going pretty amazing in a number of ways. I've been super productive: I'm on target for doing 40 work hours (or even more!) by end of Saturday, which I don't think I've ever done. I've been going to the gym daily (my wife and I got a deal: $10 for 2 weeks of gym for the both of us) for 45-60 minutes a day.

    I think it's mostly due to the fact that we're staying with someone else. Meals aren't really a responsibility. Neither is groceries or anything else of that sort. I basically wake up and do work, go to the gym, and go to sleep.

    I haven't fixed my sleep but I'm slowly working towards it. Also my spiritual routine has taken a hit and I need to revive that, but it's mostly a problem of sleep. If I can get up on time and stop wasting so many hours on sleep (I've been sleeping for 10+ hours a day on average), I'd have time for it.

    Work's going well. I wish I had the time to work on my business, but right now I'm swamped with client work at great rates, so I can't complain. I'm also taking nearly 2 weeks off for the pilgrimage and then I'll be traveling and working a lot less for Christmas break (going to visit my family), so I need to make up for all that time spent not working.

    Video stuff has been a problem, but I've stayed off of them for 2 days now, so that's an improvement. I've gotten stuck with a new bad habit: sudokus. I can solve pretty much everything except for the most ridiculously hard ones, but it takes me close to 45 minutes to solve a difficult puzzle and I've been doing them all the time. So that's another time sink.

    Anyway, that's the update for now.

    • Like 3

  12. Wow, first post in nearly two weeks. I had a friend come stay over with us last week, which meant that I was taking him around and had less time for work & other productive activities. Then I got sick, then we traveled. I'm still recovering and I'm currently abroad at my in-laws' place. So far I'm struggling to be productive here, there is no work space and I'm constantly distracted by other things. In two weeks or so, we're traveling to Saudi for the umrah and I'm taking those 10 days completely off. So I gotta put in as much work as I can between now and then. Let's see what I can do.

    I haven't gamed or come close to it - that's 83 days now since I quit, so I'm nearing my 90 day mark with barely a hint of any craving or risk of falling back into it (I did see a mobile game today that I was tempted to buy until I remembered about my detox). That's progress, I guess!

    I haven't been good about videos, though ? But I think I have the opportunity here as it's much harder for me to watch stuff here. If I get momentum here and I definitely won't watch anything in Mecca/Medina (God willing), I could set myself up for 4 weeks of video-free time. That's a lot of momentum! Let's hope I can get it going again.

    On 10/23/2018 at 8:11 AM, JustTom said:

    So the website blocking had no effect, hm? You work from home right? I am able to keep my internet escapism down because I minimize the time I spend at home and always work in an open environment among people(except yesterday ? ) so that I don't even think of opening a video - I would be ashamed to show this side of me. Maybe you need some co-working space.

    Yeah I found a very easy workaround that so far has kept me watching stuff. It's clearly a bug and I've contacted support, but they've been quiet since I've sent them screenshots. And yeah, I work from home - coworking space isn't an option. And honestly, people other than my wife seeing my watch videos isn't a big pain point for me (unless it's something embarrassing). So it's a bit of a dilemma ?


  13. Day 0/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (67/100)
    Sleep before midnight x1 (longest streak: 4)
    Spiritual Routine: 4/7

    Sleep: 12:10am - 7:20am

    I'm still watching a game show from my home country. I think nostalgia is one of my most powerful relapse methods. I used to watch this show with my parents as a kid and it was good times, and now I'm watching it again. Sigh. At least it's somewhat intellectually stimulating?

    However, despite all that, I've been able to be fairly productive. Last week I was able to finally do 40 hours of work (this is not counting stuff I do on the side, like work on my business, read Qur'an, and a class I recently started taking in Islamic Law & Theology, etc). I literally don't remember the last time I was able to do something like that since I started freelancing. 

    I wish I could say that my plan for the next month or so is to ensure that I can keep this up, but the reality is that we're doing so much traveling, it's going to wreck my habits.

    Oh, speaking of travel, completely forgot to mention: my wife and I are going on Umra, which is a minor version of the Hajj to Mecca (can be done any time of the year, unlike Hajj, and has a lot fewer components). We've done it once before a few years back, but we decided to go again because there's a particular teacher leading the group this year. He hasn't lead groups for years and he's probably the most influential person in our lives in terms of understanding our religion, so it's a great opportunity.

    But overall I think it's a great opportunity for self transformation. While we obviously believe that God hears and sees all, there's something different about standing in front of the Ka'ba. It's almost like you're standing in front of Him. It's a very awesome experience, in the original sense of the word "awesome".

    So I want to drag my broken, flawed, Netflix-watching butt there and just pray my heart out. A lot of Islamic spirituality is based on the recognition that you can't do anything except through Him. I don't think I was there 2 years back when we went, but after struggling with myself over gaming and entertainment for the last year, I think I have a much stronger recognition of that.

    We're also going to Medina, where the Prophet (peace be upon him) is buried. It's not part of the rites of Umra (or Hajj), but very few miss out on going there. It's very interesting to see how the two cities feel. Mecca is the city of God and it's almost overwhelming. It's majestic, but crowded, busy, bustling, constantly moving. Medina is the city of the Prophet and it's serene. The crowds are still there, but somehow you just feel at peace as soon as you enter. People don't push and shove. And it's amazing that you can still pray in the spot where the Prophet prayed. They know which columns he prayed next to, which he leaned against and rested, where he gave the sermon. It's hard to access that part of the mosque (the current mosque takes up an area larger than the city of Medina was at the time of the Prophet) because of how many people come, but you can usually find a spot around 3-4am.

    And most of all, both cities are like a prayer vortex, lol. My wife has a list of the prayers she made while over there, we've seen them come about one after another, many times out of nowhere. My experience is similar. So it's also just a time of pouring your heart out to God about everything that's on it, big and small.

    So, looking forward to it, God willing.

  14. Day 0/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (62/100)
    Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
    Spiritual Routine: 2/7

    Sleep: 3:35am - 7:15am, 7:45am - 12:35pm

    I haven't been doing great with videos lately. And yesterday I stayed up late due to going over to a friend's and coming home late.

    But it's actually not as bad as it looks. My video consumption hasn't been overwhelming and I'm still being quite productive. I'm hoping I can actually hit 40 work hours this week, which I don't think I've done for over a year. That would be huge. And I'm hoping I can go back to my early sleep schedule soon. I think I figured out the solution: I make a mental target of going to sleep at 11pm (so I have to stop working by 10pm). At best, I'm asleep by 11. But worst case scenario is if stuff comes up, I'm still asleep before midnight. Well, except yesterday... lol

  15. Day 1/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
    Pomodorro Lvl 2 (58/100)
    Sleep before midnight x1 (longest streak: 4)
    Spiritual Routine: 0/7

    Sleep: 11:00pm - 7:15am

    Relapsed again the day before, but yesterday went by well. I've been aiming my workload every day to add up to 40 work hours per week over 6 days (that's 6:40/day). I successfully did that Mon-Wed, adding up to 20 hours. I relapsed Wed night and stayed up super late, woke up late on Thursday and was very groggy. Didn't get a lot of work done and wife wanted to hang out, so I decided to make it my day off, forget work, and head to bed early. So I slept at 11! For the first time in ever, I got 8 hours of (nearly) straight sleep. I say nearly because I woke up randomly at around 3am, got up for a few minutes, and then went back to sleep.

    But either way,  I woke up feeling refreshed and for the first time not having to fight myself about staying up. I'll still nap during the day, but I think I'll make it a 15-20 minute nap. And I'm going to try to be asleep by 11 again. Overall this should save me sleep time as I'll be totalling around 8.5 hours instead of the 9-10 I was doing by sleeping at 12.

    Sleeping at 11 should also make it possible for me to occasionally get up before dawn so that I could fast & pray some night prayers. Dawn is late nowadays, around 6am, so if I'm up at 5 (still 6 hours of sleep), I'll have time to make a meal, eat, and do some prayers. Not bad!

  16. 6 hours ago, JustTom said:

    This happened because I was pushing a bit too hard. During the last 6 days, I was very productive, but I shouldn't have tried to minimize sleep. I wanted to get some more work done yesterday before I left, and so I planned for only 6 hours of sleep. This made me groggy in the morning and with the way my morning system is set-up, it went very badly. I made revisions to it today though and I will stick to 7-8 hours of sleep every day unless it's absolutely necessary to meet a deadline or something.

    Yeah man, I really feel like this sleep thing is the key to it all. Most of my relapsing happens when I'm sleepy & tired, and even if I don't relapse, the few hours saved on not sleeping usually get made up by lack of productivity due to being tired.

    Good luck with the assignments. You got this.

    • Like 1
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