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Forging On


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I figure I better participate in this daily journal thing, because I feel it will be healthy. I'll catch up the past 3 days.

Confession - The day I confessed that I have an addiction to my wife it was an evening, since I had gamed that day, I'm not counting it, I also said I was going to do a 90 day detox. She has been very supportive of me, and very happy with my decision and realization to do so. Over the past couple of months we have been talking about getting a dog. I love dogs, and I haven't had one since I was a kid. I work from home now, so I have very little social contact besides virtual phone calls and video conferences. These are NOT the same thing, I realize, as good social interaction. I'm hoping that the dog could help me with that :) I had been keeping an eye out over the past couple weeks, and we went to the Humane Society today to look at who was available. We were lucky to find one dog that we both really liked! She had a deposit on her already, but it was expiring that day, and any other deposits on her would just be made into a donation if she was taken otherwise. We wanted to be sure to have our name on the list with her, so we put a deposit on her. It felt good, donating to a Humane society, and also finding a dog who was very kind, quiet, and cute.

Day 1 - We got a call that Rachel (our dog we found yesterday) got passed up by the previous people with the deposit! So we had the option to pick her up, we were excited and went out and got some things to be ready for a dog (a stake and a braided line for her to go outside and not run off, treats, dog food, and a Welcome Home bone). We went to the humane society and went to see her to make sure she was the one we wanted, she recognized us right away leaned heavily into our petting, something that we liked about her. We went to the front desk and went through the process of acquiring her! We brought her home, she got acquainted with her new home, and she only had one accident (luckily, #1). We renamed her to Ula, meaning Sea Jewel in celtic/german. We didn't really pick it, but as we were saying names outloud, once we said Ula she came over and jumped up on us happily, so we figured that was a sign :) It's nice and a little different to have a noise maker around the house.

Day 2 - I had some gaming craving today, but I started off the day right in that I did a lot of things I've been meaning to - I finally did some Christmas shopping, Ula is getting more used to being home, and I feel pretty productive in the first day in a lot of days. I started uninstalling all my games, there are a lot of them uninstalled. I was a little worried that some of them I would be losing "Saved Data", but I feel like that is healthy to just let go of it. Getting it out of sight out of mind is very important, I feel. My wife is really liking that I am "Being responsive and not 'Shutting off'" while on my computer, which is what I have been usually doing because gaming is all I was doing when I was in the office.

I feel having Ula is going to help me get through some of the harder days to come, so I'm pretty fortunate to find her right on my starting day. We took her for a walk out on a frozen lake and around the neighborhood, it was a balmy -10 F today, she had a blast and the freezing air felt incredibly good (that's why I live where I live). Enjoying some Christmas movies, tea, and making my computer void of games.

Edited by phpsmith
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Thanks for the warm welcomes :)

Day 3 - Today is the first "work day" of my detox. It feels a little weird, to wake up and not start up a game. Last night, I uninstalled all of my games from my computer, a suggestion from my wife that I should have them all removed before today which I thought was a good idea. It feels pretty good to not have that temptation even existing on my computer any more.

I feel distracted though, of course. It's a little hard to focus, and I'm also a little lost on my work since I have not put in the time I have been meaning to. I'm thinking it's just because I am so used to when my wife leaves for the work day, I would shut off for 8 hours and get involved with games until she gets back. It will take me a little bit of time to try to get a handle on where I was with my work, as well as get my motivation back, I'm sure.

I plan on putting some time in for my client today, partially because I have a deadline at the end of this week as well as a video meeting today, but it probably won't be a whole lot given my focus and taking it easy the first day. I will try to get a few other things in my life straightened out that I have been putting off, starting with some basic cleaning of my piled up desk and catching up on my ignored emails.

Music and Podcasts seem to make me feel a lot better than game sounds, so that is helping. Ula is keeping me distracted as well, which is also helping.

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Thanks @dandielionous :) 

Day 4 - It feels a little better today, a lot of yesterday I was distracted. I went easy on myself, letting my mind continue to be distracted by some things as long as they weren't gaming related of course. I used to watch some LetsPlays, mostly of horror/scary games because I enjoyed the reactions from the LetsPlayers, I had a bit of an urge to watch them but stayed away. I think I need to be sure that any and all gaming related things I should be avoiding, it will lessen the urge to "Just play for a little bit".

Unfortunately, yesterday I also noticed that due to my browsing history and my profile acquired by advertisement companies like Google and Facebook, most of my advertisements are actually gaming. It's a little distracting when reading through articles and seeing a little preview or cool screen shot of a fun looking game - boy they really can determine what people will look for. The games are ones I'm more interested in (fantasy/RPG), rather than sports or other types that never really drew me in.

Anyway, yesterday was great - even if I didn't do much for billable hours, I felt looking back on the day I was actually quite productive on a personal level. I sat and read one of the couple of dog books I got for a while, played with Ula who is fitting in very nicely (and learning how my wife and I like things around here), did some more Christmas shopping I have been putting off in lieu of gaming, ordered up a couple of blacksmith tools for myself for my own Christmas gift (from my wife, of course :P), and did a lot of article reading about dogs, some reading of Respawn, and of course on these forums.

I also took Ula for a nice walk/run yesterday. I did need to take it a little easy on her, she got spayed last week, and this morning I brought her into her first Vet. visit where she did very well and learned we should be restricting her activity a bit more to help her surgery. So no jogging until she is recovered, which I guess I'm fine with just because I'm so out of shape the bit of jogging I did yesterday I could swear I Ula thought I was joking about the speed.

As for today, I'm going to plan on doing a bit more work than I did yesterday. I do have a deadline to meet tomorrow that I set for myself, I'm hoping I can make it and not get too distracted. In order for me to do good work, I need to be in the right mood - that's the same for a lot of people. When designing, developing, and testing software you need to be focused on the task at hand but also it's fairly imperative to be sure to step back once and while to review what you have done, make sure it makes sense from different perspectives (will the user understand this?). I'm hoping I get my focus back in time, it's part of the reason I even have a business.

And speaking of the business itself, I finally checked some of my ignored emails. Looks like one of my clients emailed me last week, asking if I could help with something. This is one of the clients I have been ignoring, unfortunately. It's completely lost work, they pay well, the work is good, I'm just not doing it. I'm a little scared that they may get tired of my unresponsiveness/laggard delivery and move on, but it doesn't look like I have reached that point quite yet. This week I would like to try to do some work again for them, it's been months since I last have, and I still have things on my plate that have fallen by the way side.

In addition, there is one client in particular who has a rather large bill on them that is dependent on me finishing one small bit left for them before they send it my way and we sign off on everything. I don't get why I don't just do it, get it over with, and get paid for all the work I have done for them. Again, I feel it's the problem that gaming actually became more interesting than making my business and myself be successful, which is weird. You always picture entrepeneurs as go-getters, people with a handful of ideas and are pumping them out almost like candy to kids on halloween - it's an image I try to appear as to my clients and other people as a status portrayal and confidence in giving me their business. The fact is that when I do win a bid, I've been just sitting on the work, letting it fall by the wayside and be forgotten, while I dive deep into a virtual world.

These journal entries are nice, they kind of help me focus my mind for the day and also to self-reflect. If I didn't grip a pen/pencil so hard my hand cramps after writing a paragraph, I might enjoy continuing to do it in an actual physical journal. But for now, baby steps.

Time to do a little TCB.


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Day 5 - I'm starting to feel more motivated and focused without gaming. I did a few things that I have been ignoring for my business yesterday, and it felt great to have some progress. Took Ula for a couple of walks, one during the day and another in the evening with my wife. It's nice to bring her out and get some fresh air ourselves too, I love the cold dry air that winter brings. It always feels refreshing to take a deep breath.

I didn't do much for my client yesterday because I was distracted doing my own work, which I feel a little guilty about because my deadline is today. But I'm going to try to focus and get the work complete today in order to hand it off and move onto the next project. Also, it'd be great to have some billable hours for my next invoice, it has been pretty pathetic lately. I feel if I just get started, I will pick up where I left off and suddenly be completely involved again - so that is my goal for this morning.

Some other goals I have for today is to do some weight lifting, it's been a while since I have and I don't have that solid, grounded feeling that comes with strength. Strength helps a lot with some of the activities I want to do in my free time, such as climbing, more cardio exercise, and my crafts.

Also I want to call a construction company that came out to our house earlier this year, we need more insulation in our attic as it's laughably low. In the cold winters we get where I live, that's just money out the window. They came out a few months ago, hopefully the quote they gave is still good. Ironically, there was an automatic email I got from them today saying, "5% off quote" if I move forward with them, which I was going to anyway. I always like looking at these coincidences as more than coincidences, but signs for me to just do it!

As an aside, I've always enjoyed good quotes. Short, sweet, to the point but also thought provoking. They help us remember the great people who have said them - often individuals who have had such an impact on the world it's hard to imagine they were just one person. So, as part of my daily posts, I would like to also include a quote for the day.

This one from Nelson Mandela, a man of no short resolve - "It always seems impossible until it's done."

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Thanks @dandielionous :) 

Day 6  - A bit later start to the day today, but that's ok. I was still up at the same time, I just spent some time writing a few friends an email and working with Ula. She is doing well with some of the training, it's a fun and enjoyable thing for me to occupy my time. It's also rewarding to see her actually learning some things.

Yesterday I did really well, I'm pretty proud - I put in 4.5 billable hours in and completed my project (albeit, I wish I completed it a while ago). I have some more time today that I will be able to spend on it too, and tomorrow. It was nice getting into the swing of things, this is an important client for me to keep, my business relies nearly completely on keeping them happy, so I feel like finally having some deliverables will be a good omen to them.

I also did some weight lifting, I found a neat app called "5x5" which focuses a bit more on strength training. I would like to do more cardio, but I feel I would enjoy it quite a bit more when Ula is ready to run too. That should be next week about when her spay should be all healed up.

A few things I didn't do yesterday that I want to do today are shave, cause the beard is getting a bit long and itchy, call the construction company for our insulation which I neglected to do yesterday, and a few "dog keeping" things with Ula such as giving back some feedback to the humane society and sending in a rebate. I plan on doing more strength training today, I feel a little sore but not too bad because the app started me on very low weights to start. I also plan on working on the business today, luckily I have a few clients that keep me busy but if I'm going to grow at all I need to set a few things in motion.

With that said, keeping an eye out for the future of my business brings me to my quote for the day - this one by John Galsworthy, who said "If you do not think about your future you cannot have one."

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Thanks @WorkInProgress :)

Day 7 - Boy, 7 days sure does go fast. It's crazy to think just last week on this day I was playing video games throughout the day (Saturday was my Day 1). Today, I'm feeling very productive - as I felt yesterday as well. Yesterday I did all the goals I had set out to do for the day, and then on top of that my wife and I drove a trailer full of junk to the dump that has been sitting outside for weeks, we had a nice night out and worked on some christmas gifts. During the day, I didn't do much for billable hours, but I was able to work on my business for a good part of the day as well. It makes me feel good to finally do some good for the business, it's been neglected, and one things for certain - if I don't get my butt in gear, I may as well just look for a job, because it won't make sense to run the business otherwise.

What some people don't realize, although I'm sure it's pretty often taught, but running a business itself actually costs quite a bit. On top of the additional taxes I need to pay up, I also need to pay for insurance, tax accountants, and other fees. It all adds up and makes you quickly realize when that although you charge a higher rate, it dwindles down pretty quick. Mind you, the business I run is classified as a LLC and taxed as a corporation, this is because if you do business in your own name (sole proprietorship) you need to pay additional taxes, but then you don't need things such as insurance, and a few other fees. It's kind of a hard scale to balance when starting out, whether to be a sole proprietor or an LLC. I chose the latter because I have high hopes that the business will grow.

Anyways - enough of the business talk. I was going to actually reach out to a couple of companies today, I feel I need to grow my business network a bit more and I feel I could do that more easily by reaching out. I was also going to update my professional website/resume, as I was going to apply for a job. It's kind of counter-intuitive, I'm very driven to have my business succeed, but applying for a job. The thing of it is, in my position I may be able to use my weight as a founder to entice a lucrative offer. I need a situation where I can work from home. A few months ago I was contacted by Facebook to see if I would like to interview with them for a Production Engineer role, I did over the phone because I was interested in the position of course, Facebook is well reknown as having the most appealing benefits package in the tech. industry. I went through the interview, but came to realize that the position would not be remote - although there would be a stipend for moving to the west coast, it didn't interest me. I like being where I am in the midwest, close to family and it's quiet.

A good friend of mine works for Adobe, and I was going to head to their satellite office to interview with them. Obviously being a technology company, their benefits package is pretty great as well. If anything, it will be good practice to sit down an interview.

Ok, really, that is enough business talk.

I worked out yesterday, it felt good. This 5x5 app is really nice and user friendly, I can see why it's so highly rated. My wife actually downloaded it as well to use, she's in much better shape than I am. Oh, yesterday another client called me, one I haven't talked to in a while. They have some work for me to do, so that is wonderful news because I sort of just left them by the wayside. They don't pay nearly as well as my primary client, but a job is a job and I shouldn't be picky right now.

Some goals I have for today will be to work out again, I'm feeling sore today, and I want to continue this good feeling. Maybe it's my lack of video games that's making me enjoy a work out more? I actually have a bit of desire to do it, which I haven't in a long time. I will be working on my business more today too, I would like to get a few things that I believe make me look unprofessional polished up. I'm currently only acquiring clients by word of mouth, but I need to change that. If I am to grow, I need to generate new business.

My wife is taking a half day today so we can go look at a dresser on Craigslist that she likes, as well as make sure we can finish the Christmas gifts and wrap presents. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and although both of us aren't religious, it is recognized as a day you gather with your family. Tomorrow we will be gathering with her family, the next day (Christmas Day) we'll be gathering with mine. We will both be taking off the 26th, although, as a business owner, you never really "take time off". I'm sure we'll spend time up in the office, but it's always really nice when she gets to be up here with me.

So 7 days down, I would say it hasn't been so bad. It might be Ula that is helping me, or GameQuitters, or maybe it's just that I've gone 7 days or more without games plenty of times before when my wife and I go out backpacking? I feel, for me at least, the real test will be to make it a month without games. If I can make it a whole month, I think that might be the longest I've gone without games since I can remember.

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Thanks everyone :)

Day 8-11 - Well I needed to skip a few days journaling, mainly because the holidays are just a busy time of year. On Saturday, we were at my wife's family all day celebrating, Sunday was to my family, and Monday was a day my wife and I spent together all day. It was a great Christmas, lots of laughing, food, and good company.

I did say to my brother that I had "Quit games", he doesn't really play much because he has a couple of young ones but he does play a card game called Hearthstone, which many have heard of before. He said, "Even Hearthstone?", I think because he wanted to play with me. That's the only game that my brother plays nowadays, so it's kind of a good way to communicate with him. But I've played Hearthstone before, and like many other games, I've binged on it. If it wasn't something so virtual and compelling to play I may be up for it, but it's not your normal card game. I would like to avoid it.

During the holidays on both family we always play a good amount of board games and card games, something that people get interested in and just something to do. It's fun playing all these sorts of games with family, it's why I asked (and also purchased) a couple of board games for my wife and I and also for myself.

I got a couple of classic board games, Chess and Backgammon. My wife isn't interested in chess, but I'm hoping to set the board up and send pictures of the board to my Dad to play with him. He loves chess. It would be a nice way to keep in contact with my Dad as well. I used to play a lot of backgammon but I haven't in a while, so my wife and I had to relearn it. It's a fun game.

One game we played that I was a little unsure about but ended up trying it because I didn't want to be a party pooper was a game using your phone and Oculus. It's called "Keep talking and nobody explodes" or something like that. One person has the Oculus + Phone thing and is looking at a virtual bomb, while others all have a pamphlet of paper that helps the person solve the puzzle.

It was a fun game, really fun actually. It's neat that one person can see the bomb and tries to describe the puzzles on the bomb and then others try to help solve it. I thought if this was violating my Detox or not, I decided since it's a social game that requires other people near you to play (and you pass the Oculus around the table) that maybe it's more of a social game.

My wife and I have one of the VR Head Set things for the Galaxy S7 as well, we hardly ever use them because they came free with our phone. But after we played that game, we wanted to play yesterday. We played a good amount of that game together yesterday, and then we sort of realized that it's probably not a good idea for us to play it so much together. It's a weird line to draw, is it a video game or is it a "social" board game type thing? Yesterday, we decided it's better we just don't play it too much, or if we do play it, it's only when we have 2 or more guests over.

I did get a board game for us though, called Lost Cities. I enjoy board games, I also enjoy things like DnD with friends although a lot of my friends nowadays have kids so we don't get together too often. Board games I haven't gotten into too much, but my wife and I are just thinking of other things we can do besides perhaps watching TV and board games was an idea. The game is fun, challenging, and can be played with 2-4 players. I was looking for games that weren't "2 player only" so if we do have guests over, we can play it with them. It's a great board game, and I would recommend it.

Oh, I did actually play a game over the holidays again but not from my own decision - My brother was having fun with his S7 and the VR head set, and he had a rule that everyone had to have a "Rite of Passage" and play through a scary Haunted House game called "Affected: Manor" or something like that. It was more for other people's entertainment, because we all sat around waiting for the things to jump out and scare the person going through the Manor. It was a little funny, my Mom and Dad were completely affected by it, jumping wildly. Everyone was pretty affected by it, but as I went through the mansion I hardly jumped at all. It ended with a scary looking girl screaming in your face, I hardly flinched. I think why was because of a couple reasons, one was everyone was talking the whole time so you never got really "immersed", but my family all jumped so I think it made more sense that I was desensitized to it more than they were.

Anyways, I feel a little bad about using the headset but I'm going to mark that up as a one-off Christmas event and not reset my Detox timer. The goal of my Detox isn't to do 90 days and start playing in moderation, it's to continue and cut games out of my life. I feel if I just wait 90 days then play in moderation I'm going to fall right back into it, I would rather not. I feel so much more productive, self-aware, and in tune with this life when I'm not getting absorbed into a virtual world.

So, my goals for today will be a nice walk outside with Ula and my wife (she is "not feeling well" and staying home today :)), working out, and getting back into the swing of my business after 3 days off.

And for my quote, I'm always reminded of the very famous Laozi quote, one that I always think of when we get out doors, "A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet".

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The short break is nice, but it does screw a bit with my focus.

Day 12  - I feel very out of focus today. Yesterday I was doing alright, I didn't do any billable hours since I'm heading in to my client's tomorrow, but I do need to put some in for this week. I did say I would complete a task for one of my other clients, so I want to set that as a goal today - it should be a short and easy thing to fix.

Also I need to prepare a bit for tomorrow as well, so that when I do go in I can actually be a bit productive. Some studying up on some things I need to do would be great. I should set a goal to have at least 1 billed hour of preparation for tomorrow, and also to finish my other client work today.

I'm finding I have quite a few different goals, both business and personal, that aren't really written down anywhere. I think it might help my focus if I get them written down.

Maybe I should switch my exercise to the morning, I have heard that it helps with focus throughout the day but I've never been much of a morning person. Something I wish I could change.

Anyway, today just feels.. lackluster so far. Kind of "meh", I feel lethargic and unmotivated. Not really sure why, hopefully I find my drive sometime today.

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Day 13  - Well today was a little rough. I had a full day planned of heading into a client's building and working on site all day, then right after hitting the mountain bike trails with my friend. It would be the first time testing out a fat tire bike in winter, something I've been wanting to do for a while.

Unfortunately, as luck would have it, as I was on the freeway and heading in my car didn't want to and stalled. It seemed like the battery, as all the lights were dim. I immediately let my contact with the business know I might not make it in (they are about an hour away and with a questionable car, I need to take care of that first). Well my wife left work to come save me and jump the car, it jumped fine but we both decided it was a good idea she follow me home. Lo and behold, the car couldn't last too long til it needed another jump. So hopefully the alternator is not faulty. Skip forward to a few more stalls (4 in total) in order to get home and my wife and I are both home now. We are both working from home (home is my office, where as she has the option to but doesn't do it very often). I'm bummed I didn't get in to the client, I'm missing the social aspect of work and my client had been able to fulfill that for me.

It is what it is though, we both figure it was Ula who was going to be crated up all day that hexed us and made sure she was able to spend the whole day with both of us even.

So, for today, I do want to be more productive than I have been the past 5 days or so. With my wife here it will help keep me focused perhaps on what I need to get done. We have been neglecting the house and picking up since the holidays and things are a bit out of hand, so we're both hoping for a "GSD" (Get Sh#t Done) day today, with both of us home.

We are both going to commit to about 4 hours of solid work, as well as a few different breaks to clean up the place. Some other goals I have for today are to continue to polish up a project I've been working on, work out, and get the construction project scheduled.

I missed my quote yesterday, but today I got one. This one by Teddy Roosevelt, "Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground."

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