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JustTom's Journal 2: Summer Edition

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Full Detox Day 17/90 | Overslept: Yes | Pomodoros: 13 + social

Full Detox Day 18/90 | Overslept: No | Pomodoros: 21

Still sick, but pushing myself super hard in spite of that. It seems like a lot of small external coin-flips are going against me. It's like the universe is trying to make me as uncomfortable and anxious as possible, although I'm handling it well. I still don't even know which courses I'm allowed to take so I'm living in this probability distribution, trying to just take the actions that yield the highest expectation lol. Despite feeling weak physically, I feel surprisingly strong mentally. I can't wait to be healthy again - it's going to be SIIICK!

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Full Detox Day 19/90 | Overslept: No | Pomodoros: 26

Today I realized what is a major part of why I had problems with productivity, waking up, escapism and depression. It's that I really suck at what I'm doing. I put in 13 hours today but got almost nothing done because I got stuck at a fairly simple programming problem. I really just don't have the talent for this. Sure if I worked hard in the past, I would have been much smarter but seriously I feel like the dumbest person around sometimes. And I very well might be, actually. It's just so depressing seeing my classmates hammer out exercises one by one and then have all this time to do some amazing research on top of that and still have some spare time to enjoy the evenings, while I struggle to do the simplest tasks. Maybe it's just a bad day, but I felt pretty good, very little anxiety or procrastination, I just literally couldn't figure it out, despite almost having the solution right in front of me. Towards 10pm, a friend was so surprised I was still working on the same problem that he helped on his own initiative(he solved it in the morning, took him literally 10 minutes). If I was able to consistently solve these problems, it would be very enjoyable, but this way, it's just extremely frustrating and energy-draining. I feel very sad. Really hope tomorrow is going to be better. 

On the positive note, the cold is receding, I kind-of got the second business course approved and I kind-of finally got assigned the accommodation I was waiting for, so I will move next month, unless they screwed up the administration.

Last 3 pomodoros are playing the piano as my conscious reward. 

EDIT: I've heard about this concept somewhere that people avoid work because then they can say they failed because they didn't try. While if they actually tried and then failed, it would hurt their ego much more. I think I'm starting to get a taste of the latter.

Edited by JustTom

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I have the same issue as you where I have trouble starting an assignment or project because I feel dumb.  The thing is, you're hyper focusing on people who are immaculate at their work and work habits.  Those people struggle as well.  If you really feel far behind on the subject matter, just go to your professor and keep asking for help in their office hours.  They love to help students and just tell them you were sick for a while and fell behind and are just overthinking everything in the class now because you're trying to catch up instead of learn at a normal pace.  They'll give you the important lessons and help you get back on track.  Just have some humility with it and be patient.  

As for hobbies with that mentality, just be patient and accept that you're not gonna get it right away.  This is a huge thing for people to do another hobby out of nowhere and not get anxiety while trying to learn how to do things properly.  We all struggle with it, so don't beat yourself up for it.  Allow yourself to be a little slow, but use that anger towards yourself and turn it into determination to do well, not anger at yourself.

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18 hours ago, JustTom said:

Full Detox Day 19/90 | Overslept: No | Pomodoros: 26

Today I realized what is a major part of why I had problems with productivity, waking up, escapism and depression. It's that I really suck at what I'm doing. I put in 13 hours today but got almost nothing done because I got stuck at a fairly simple programming problem. I really just don't have the talent for this. Sure if I worked hard in the past, I would have been much smarter but seriously I feel like the dumbest person around sometimes. And I very well might be, actually. It's just so depressing seeing my classmates hammer out exercises one by one and then have all this time to do some amazing research on top of that and still have some spare time to enjoy the evenings, while I struggle to do the simplest tasks. Maybe it's just a bad day, but I felt pretty good, very little anxiety or procrastination, I just literally couldn't figure it out, despite almost having the solution right in front of me. Towards 10pm, a friend was so surprised I was still working on the same problem that he helped on his own initiative(he solved it in the morning, took him literally 10 minutes). If I was able to consistently solve these problems, it would be very enjoyable, but this way, it's just extremely frustrating and energy-draining. I feel very sad. Really hope tomorrow is going to be better. 

On the positive note, the cold is receding, I kind-of got the second business course approved and I kind-of finally got assigned the accommodation I was waiting for, so I will move next month, unless they screwed up the administration.

Last 3 pomodoros are playing the piano as my conscious reward. 

EDIT: I've heard about this concept somewhere that people avoid work because then they can say they failed because they didn't try. While if they actually tried and then failed, it would hurt their ego much more. I think I'm starting to get a taste of the latter.

Hi Tom, I don't know you, but from your posts, I think you are well organized in terms of writing, and your way of thinking is very logical and analytical. And I believe these are among the most important characteristics of a good programmer.

The top programmers do have some special talents. Some people are natural programmers. But most programmers in this world are just regular people who spend tons of time on it.

Also I think learning programming or mathematics is not about figuring out all the solutions on your own. You can always learn from other people. Actually I believe it's very important to learn from each other. That's why there are so many online communities for programmers, and seminars for mathematicians. Do not spend too much time on a problem by yourself. Think over it, and if you can't solve it, it's OK to get help from others. As long as you can write down the solutions on your own after learning from others -  not copying, but writing after understanding the logic, and hopefully with some improvements. And you should probably try to solve this problem again after a few days, to make sure you fully understand it. 

I have known people from different backgrounds who try to be a programmer after failing to find a job opportunity in their fields. They learn coding mostly by solving a lot of programming problems. Of course they can't figure out all the solutions. Most of them do not have a solid background in computer science or math. So they just read codes by others and re-write the programs again and again. It takes more to be good programmer, or a software engineer, but at least they can write codes to solve certain real life problems and they find jobs as programmers after this kind of training. 

I have also known people with great talents - there was this boy in my high school who was said to be a natural programmer. He went to a decent university and majored in Computer Science. Guess what happened to him. He was addicted to games and anime. He almost dropped out and it took him 6 years to get his Bachelor's degree.

And maybe you could think about this: are you really losing interest in your major? Or are you looking for excuses to run away? I ask myself this question all the time. I used to hate my job and my industry and tried to avoid these negative thoughts by gaming. Now that I am studying and spending more time on it, I become more and more interested. What if this can also happen to you?

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Full Detox Day 20/90 | Overslept: No | Pomodoros: 22

Put in the hours, although little results because of random distractions and just general lack of focus - didn't manage to get the flow. Last 3 are evening piano again. Almost healthy now so tomorrow I might even go to the gym. 

****************************************************************************************************

@Matt S Oh I got humility for days! 😄 I know the people I'm comparing myself against have been working hard on science for the past 5 years while I spent 20-40 hours per week gaming sooo... if I look at it this way and consider that I'm still somehow keeping up, I can consider myself an absolute genius. 

@Silverlining  Thank you for the kind words. I've been studying CS for 4 years and AI for a year, I'm not running away by any means. I've just realized what I'm good at, what I'm not good at, and what I have a passion for, simple as that. I also compare myself to the best, so it's very biased. Nevertheless, I set myself out to finish the degree so that's what I'm going to do, I just like to complain along the way. That talented boy who failed because of gaming is pretty much me. With my mindset and passion, I could have easily had an extraordinary life by now - be it in business, art or science. Oh well, it is what is. Just trying to make the best use of the cards I have now. 

Edited by JustTom
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Full Detox Day 21/90 | Overslept: A little bit | Pomodoros: 14 + social

Once I got to the uni I had SICKENING focus. I don't even remember the last time my mind was so clear. Maybe because I just got healthy, maybe because I've had consistent sleep for the past two weeks and even sleeping 9 hours last night, maybe because of the lack of stress of deadlines because I'm working hard with my teammate and we almost have the assignment done, I don't know. But it felt so good to do work! Then I succumbed to social pressure to go to a small house party - pretty boring, ate a million chips, went to bed late -> absolutely not worth it. I realized that I really just enjoy being at the workspace and being productive. You could even say it makes me feel fulfilled. Just working on my dreams, eating healthy, exercising, sleeping 7-8 hours - that's what makes me happy the most right now. In a month I will move to a new awesome place so I will add dating to that list and then I will be pretty much complete. I feel like everything is slowly but surely coming together. Notice how I'm completely detached from the external success. Because success is not the results, success is the process, being successful means being on the journey. External results are a manifestation of that success and random chance. Success is a continuous realization of a worthy ideal(Earl Nightingale).

Edited by JustTom
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31 minutes ago, JustTom said:

Full Detox Day 21/90 | Overslept: A little bit | Pomodoros: 14 + social

Once I got to the uni I had SICKENING focus. I don't even remember the last time my mind was so clear. Maybe because I just got healthy, maybe because I've had consistent sleep for the past two weeks and even sleeping 9 hours last night, maybe because of the lack of stress of deadlines because I'm working hard with my teammate and we almost have the assignment done, I don't know. But it felt so good to do work! Then I succumbed to social pressure to go to a small house party - pretty boring, ate a million chips, went to bed late -> absolutely not worth it. I realized that I really just enjoy being at the workspace and being productive. You could even say it makes me feel fulfilled. Just working on my dreams, eating healthy, exercising, sleeping 7-8 hours - that's what makes me happy the most right now. In a month I will move to a new awesome place so I will add dating to that list and then I will be pretty much complete. I feel like everything is slowly but surely coming together. Notice how I'm completely detached from the external success. Because success is not the results, success is the process, being successful means being on the journey. External results are a manifestation of that success and random chance. Success is a continuous realization of a worthy ideal(Earl Nightingale).

A lot of what you have said feels quite related.

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Full Detox Day 22/90 | Overslept: Yes | Pomodoros: 0 + chores

Had a bit of a break day I guess. Not that I needed it or that it would benefit me, but that's what happens when I convince my aide to not push me in the morning and I oversleep on sunday after a party. Oh well, at least I shopped, cooked food, for 5 days, did the laundry and now I'm ready to crush this week with a force of a thousand bulls! I'll try to hit 23 pomodoros each day so that when I have a tiny down-turn, I can still make the 20p per day average to complete the first goal.

Also, I should mention that I watched the global finals of starcraft - quiiiiite a few hours of gaming content, but it's fine, it was a one-off thing and I don't feel any pull to watch more. It's not the end of the day yet, so in case I get super inspired to some late-night work, I'll update. 

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Full Detox Day 23/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 25

Absolutely crushed it. Tried the nootropic I ordered a few days ago and I don't know if it really worked that well or it was placebo or just another good day mentally like yesterday, but I had VERY strong focus, despite the agenda consisting of more or less various small tasks, which in my opinion is the hardest to not procrastinate on. Tomorrow I'll do some more programming so we'll see how the focus holds up. 

I'm replacing the oversleep stat with "Got up", which indicates whether I got up in the morning by myself or I required a push from my aide. From now on I'm also counting lunch/dinner as part of the work time, as every other normal human being does. I realized my initial calculation did not account for food-breaks and it's not a big deal anyways, I usually eat as fast as possible. 

There is a bunch of good events coming up in the evenings this week. We're doing good on the assignments so I'm actually thinking of doing a bit of partying. Not sure if this is a good decision since I have all this momentum, but I already bought a ticket for one of them. Either way, tomorrow will be a bit pomodoro-starved because of a lot of commuting. I'm thinking of counting that in since there is nothing I can do about that. We'll see. 

Last 2 are piano.

**********************************************************************************************

@Rualani @Silverlining Thanks friends. I indeed set high-standards, but for the first time in basically YEARS, I'm able to consistently execute on them, as opposed to have a productive few days, only to get stuck in a rut afterwards. Feels great. 

Edited by JustTom
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Full Detox Day 24/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 17

The day's schedule turned out such that I went home early. After eating junk food and watching a movie, I just fell asleep so I didn't read the paper for today's team meeting I was supposed read, nor have I done further thesis research like I planned to. Of course. 17 pomodoros is not bad, but they are pretty low-value - including a lot of commuting and sitting at lectures. 

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I'm new to your journal; what do you mean with "Pomodoro n" ? You did n pomodoros in the day ? How long do each session last ?

Did you actually talk to others in your class about the programming exercises ? Are really everyone else but you succeeding without problem at each exercises ? I doubt it. I'm sure others are stuck at it. You probably wrote about it in your thread, but since I lack the time I'll have to ask you directly; what do you study ?

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Full Detox Day 25/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 12 + social

Pretty unproductive day because of having to sit at classes, visit a doctor and therefore commute a lot, but then I went to the party and oh boy. I'm not going to be sharing details of these things on this forum, but safe to say that it was epic and I can't wait to do more of that once I move to the better place. Right now, the logistics are impossible, but I did what I could haha.

Today is day 26 and I slept until 16:00. Pretty horrible, but hey, I'm going to the uni anyways to finish the assignment. 

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Full Detox Day 26/90 | Got up: Nope | Pomodoros: 9 + gym

Slept through the entire day because of the party yesterday, but that's okay. I feel very motivated. I expect to smash 50 pomodoros in the next two days, perhaps I'll be able to catch up to make the target average 20 per day. 

*************************************************************************

On 11/7/2018 at 5:37 PM, Tux said:

I'm new to your journal; what do you mean with "Pomodoro n" ? You did n pomodoros in the day ? How long do each session last ?

Did you actually talk to others in your class about the programming exercises ? Are really everyone else but you succeeding without problem at each exercises ? I doubt it. I'm sure others are stuck at it. You probably wrote about it in your thread, but since I lack the time I'll have to ask you directly; what do you study ?

A Pomodoro is just 30 minutes of productivity, but sometimes I just use it as a stat-tracking instead of the actual technique to focus. 

I don't know why I got stuck that time particularly, but in general yes, my peers are higher in skill. Especially math. I study AI(masters). 

 

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Full Detox Day 27/90 | Got up: Nope | Pomodoros: 0 + gym

Okaaaaay, we can chalk up another terrible day. I failed to make the decision to go out in the morning, so I fell back to sleep, woke up at like 16, ate lunch, watched some videos and fell asleep again, only to wake up at 21. So I went to the gym and now I'm at the uni, so the plan is to reset the sleep rhythm by staying up all night and going to bed early tomorrow. 

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. This shit has happened before, but I will not let this continue. I'm going to seriously work all night and then push through with coffee and modafinil towards the end of tomorrow. 

One good thing I'd like to note that I feel no cravings for gaming or even consuming gaming media. Here and there I get a slight sense of "yeah let's watch this", but it feels more like a memory, more like "this is what I've done before, so it's okay to do now" and not like "oh my god I need my drug right now!!". It finally feels like I'm in control. At least 90%. I find it quite easy to just say "nah" and either not watch anything, or just watch something non-gaming related. Though a big part of why I slept like 18 hours today is watching a short youtube series. It's great content and the host is unbelievably inspiring to me, but... I did binge watch until I fell asleep.

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?

Edited by JustTom
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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.

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Full Detox Day 28/90 | Got up: Didn't sleep | Pomodoros: 34

Haha. Yes, I actually did 17 hours of work. And quite productive pomodoros too. Resetting my sleep schedule. I'm so hyper-excited for tomorrow I can't think. But maybe I'm just tired. Probably just tired. I also opened up a private 'journal' to document notable moments and social life, now that I'm slowly gaining some. If I get up consistently throughout the week, I will be able to work enough to afford even more. While the business is on hold, I might as well enjoy life a little bit!

@karabas Yah I'll just keep being vigilant. Although progress with youtube and reddit is quite slow nowadays, I think it's fine as long as it's getting better - and it is. Some days I really just don't care to consume more because I'm so motivated to actually live. I think these 0-days will eventually stop happening naturally. 

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17 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 have a favorite fitness channel on YouTube. The YouTuber is full of positive energy and sometimes I just turn to her channel to listen to her for a few minutes and stand up to do a few moves following her. I guess when I sit down (or lie down, to be worse), it's difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone. But once I stand up and exercise a little bit, it would become easier.

Also I find that a decent breakfast with a cup of hot tea/coffee is very helpful to start off in the morning. I would suggest keeping some ready-to-eat or easy-to-cook breakfast at home, or finding a nice breakfast spot in your neighborhood or in school. 

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Full Detox Day 29/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 0 + chores + social

Full Detox Day 30/90 | Got up: No | Pomodoros: 14

Although day 29 looks bad stats-wise, it was actually fantastic. This week, I will focus really hard on getting up. As long as I master this elusive skill, I will be complete. 

 

On 11/10/2018 at 7:21 PM, Silverlining said:

I have a favorite fitness channel on YouTube. The YouTuber is full of positive energy and sometimes I just turn to her channel to listen to her for a few minutes and stand up to do a few moves following her. I guess when I sit down (or lie down, to be worse), it's difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone. But once I stand up and exercise a little bit, it would become easier.

Also I find that a decent breakfast with a cup of hot tea/coffee is very helpful to start off in the morning. I would suggest keeping some ready-to-eat or easy-to-cook breakfast at home, or finding a nice breakfast spot in your neighborhood or in school. 

I do intermittent fasting, so I don't eat breakfast. This is some kind of mental issue though - like a fear of starting the day, confronting reality. Every morning, I do 30+ pushups - that completely wakes me up, but sometimes I don't make the decision to go out anyways. With the help of my aide, I'm slowly making progress though. 

Edited by JustTom

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Full Detox Day 31/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 21 + gym

Updating at noon just to proudly announce that I got up on my own, did 31 push-ups and went to the uni. I'm feeling fantastic!

Evening update: Absolutely crushed it. I'm feeling much more confident, grounded and excited at the same time. I'm starting to feel my old care-free spirit and spunkiness returning. 

Although I do feel a lot of symptoms of oneitis. Which is also a reason why I'm going out with a buddy tomorrow as well - should alleviate some of it. The worst disease of all. Avoid at all costs, hehe 😄

Edited by JustTom
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14 hours ago, JustTom said:

Full Detox Day 31/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 21 + gym

Updating at noon just to proudly announce that I got up on my own, did 31 push-ups and went to the uni. I'm feeling fantastic!

Evening update: Absolutely crushed it. I'm feeling much more confident, grounded and excited at the same time. I'm starting to feel my old care-free spirit and spunkiness returning. 

Although I do feel a lot of symptoms of oneitis. Which is also a reason why I'm going out with a buddy tomorrow as well - should alleviate some of it. The worst disease of all. Avoid at all costs, hehe 😄

No matter how bad that disease is, at least you don't have Ebola.  So there's some silver lining lol.  Good job on the improvements.  One day at a time and keep planning your future.

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Full Detox Day 32/90 | Got up: Yes | Pomodoros: 19 + social

Morning update: Got up again! BAM! What you got, blankets? WHATCHA GOT??

Evening update: Very unproductive pomodoros due to commuting and switching between various random tasks, but still put in the time and effort that's what matters. I will try my hardest to get up tomorrow, but I will not guilt myself if I don't since I'm going out and will go to bed very late. We'll see. 

16 hours ago, Matt S said:

No matter how bad that disease is, at least you don't have Ebola.  So there's some silver lining lol.  Good job on the improvements.  One day at a time and keep planning your future.

Oh no no, it's a very different kind. Too many people have it and are not aware though!

Thanks! I appreciate it. I'm not only working hard on my daily habits, hustle discipline, health and social contact, but I also got some external results, which don't necessarily always come, so I'm very happy about that. 

 

Edited by JustTom
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