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Karabas's Journal: Part 2

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Days 0/120

I totally relapsed on the videos again today. Watched a whole Netflix movie to top it off. 

On 8/20/2018 at 7:50 AM, JustTom said:

How about separate counters? Even if you 'relapse' on videos, you should still feel proud of not gaming!

I dunno. On one hand, I get your point. I'd be like 10 days into my detox by now if I was counting just gaming. But I really feel like my fight is now with the vids.

After my last relapse, I started to strongly feel like I hate games and what they do to me. I might still have cravings in the future, God knows, but right now I'm really not feeling anything close to a craving for gaming. And it's a shift from the past where I was doing the detox but I was missing games, the fun I had with them, etc. I wasn't ready to let them go. I feel like I am ready now. I can say, like Cam does, that it was a good time, but now I'm doing something else.

But I'm not there with videos/movies. And I really do think that they maintain my dopamine addiction while I'm off of gaming.

I'm really feeling like video stuff is what's keeping me in my current state and that if I learn to get rid of vids, that'll be the key to my recovery overall. Because to be fair, it HAS been the harder addiction. I can't completely quit because I need to watch video material sometimes. And I've always fallen back into videos before falling back into games. And videos are often a trigger that gets me reminiscing about gaming and wanting to go back.

So... yeah. Right now I feel like I'm past one hurdle with games (for now, at least), but I need to pass this next hurdle if I'm to actually move forward.

Maybe I'm wrong about this... idk. Lets see.

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I had a pretty chilling revelation just now. I realized that my technology, content, etc addiction is at the root of something I've been very worried about for some time now.

What I've been worried about is this: my emotions are shallow. I love, but not passionately. I worry, but not too much. I feel happy, but not overly so. I feel down, but rarely truly sad. I basically don't have strong emotions, good or bad.

And so I just realized that my gaming or watching shows or binging on YouTube or playing a game while in the bathroom or whatever else is essentially keeping me catatonic. I feel like I'm barely human.

I think it happens because instead of allowing myself to feel life, I'm drowning it out with whatever I can get my hands on. And yeah, I've removed gaming from my life for the past 2 weeks or so but it hardly made a difference. I've simply binged on Netflix, YouTube, and other mindless crap.

I need to start living life, not ignoring it while staring at a screen.

I'm going to be on the road starting Tuesday again. Not really a time to start habits or whatnot. But it IS an opportunity to restart my detox, because I'll have less time to do so. Here it goes, one more time!

On 8/22/2018 at 1:36 PM, JustTom said:

Oh okay fair enough. In end, you've already completed the gaming detox before. 
I just read this article: https://betterhumans.coach.me/how-to-stop-binge-watching-from-ruining-your-life-cd0e92f51750 , very powerful especially the ending part. 

Nice, thanks! I enjoyed that.

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Day 1/120

I feel like I finally have the resolve to do this detox. That realization last night is making me hate any use of technology that distracts me from life (aside from stuff I need to do, like work). I'm trying to stoke the fire by telling myself how much I hate it.

I'm hoping this is a shift in thinking for me. The reason I relapsed after my gaming detox last time was because I felt like games were good, even if they were overall bad for me. Same with videos, tv shows, etc.

Being in a place where I really hate these things for what they do to me is giving me a whole new level of resolve to not engage in these activities.

So today was a clean day and I didn't really struggle with either vids or games, despite being severely underslept.

I guess it remains to be seen if this state of mind is something that persists or a temporary feeling. I hope it's permanent. ?

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Days 3-5/120

I've been on the road with the wife and it's been nice. I told my clients I'm not available and my phone use has been almost entirely limited to the GPS. I've used the laptop for maybe 20 minutes total in the past 3 days, tops. It feels good.

I did lapse early on. I was super tired and I just forgot about my detox and watched a few videos on YT. But I stopped watching quickly and only then realized about the detox. So I figure I'd let that one go. 

Otherwise I feel great and I'm gathering crucial momentum, like @JustTom said. I'll be coming home with a week under my belt and hopefully that's enough progress to feel bad about relapsing.

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Days 6-7/120

Finished my trip with minimal usage of the laptop or phone in general. I'm enjoying the simply "being" in the moment. I'm not super zen about it or anything, but not staring into a screen at all times feels good.

I'm getting back to work and I'm going to steal @JustTom's pomodorro level idea, except I'll adapt it to the way I think would work better with me. The "level" system is going to be based on the amount of work minutes vs rest minutes. I'll slowly increase the focus minutes and slowly decrease rest minutes as I "level up". Overall I'm hoping for at least 16 pomodorros a day (8 hours of productive time), so a week's worth should put me at just over 100 pomodorros. I think that's a good target. It'll be easier now, but as I increase the focus minutes, each pomodorro will mean more time and so the 100 pomodorros/level goal will get harder.

I'm also going to re-introduce my Qur'an habit: 15 minutes in morning and 15 minutes in evening. I'm tempted to turn this into a level system too, but I feel like that's a bit too obsessive.

That's it for now. Let's keep it simple. Here's to a kick-ass week #2!

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Day 8/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (5/100)

Slept a ton. I think I have a lot of sleep to catch up on, so I'll allow myself to sleep in over the next couple of days.

Easing back into work. 5 pomodorros ain't a lot, but I started late...

Overall, I'm not watching videos (and not even craving for it) and haven't thought of games in a while, so I'm feeling good. Here's to another 112 successful days!

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Day 9/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (15/100)
Sleep before midnight x1
Spiritual Routine: 1/7

Sleep: 11:30pm -> 6:30am, 7:00am -> 10:30am

Slept a lot again. Original plan was to stay up after morning prayer and maybe have a siesta in the early afternoon. But I was way too tired. That's OK, I think I'm still sleeping off my travels.

Better in terms of productivity today. Especially given that I only sat down to work for real by ~3pm and manged to squeeze out 5 hours of productivity. 

I'm really enjoying the pomodorros. Since I don't want to use screens during break time, I stand up and walk around, do random stuff. This is good health-wise since I don't sit for prolonged periods and also for my eyes, since it reduces eye strain from screens. I'm actually enjoying having these rest periods and I don't want to make my work periods that much longer. I might just increase the work amount slightly and decrease break time slightly but not go crazy like first intended.

Things are going well so far. No cravings. It obviously starts to worry me because God knows that this kind of motivation doesn't last. But if I can get my mind off of the dopamine for 120 days, I think I'll be in a much better place. And I really do think I have more ammunition than I did last time around. It's progress.

Oh, I never got around to deleting my steam account. Gotta do that before cravings come back. I think I have another game download account on another website too. Have to make sure to remove that one as well.

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Day 10/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (23/100)
Sleep before midnight x2
Spiritual Routine: 2/7

Sleep: 11:45pm -> 6:30am, 7:00am -> 12:00pm

Dunno what happened there. I keep sleeping like that's all I was born to do. Another day or two of this and I'm going to need to start reigning it in. Not a lot of pomodorros today since I went out for breakfast/lunch with the wife after waking up. Didn't get started on work until basically 5pm.

Not doing so well with the pomodorros so far... 3 days and I'm at 23, so just shy of 8/day and not all of those are going to work. I need to step this up in the next day or two.

But things are still going well. No cravings. I'm in double digits in terms of detox days. Now's the time to crush it!

Oh, and I'm going to sleep early... what on earth is happening? Fingers crossed I can keep this up for more than a few weeks.

Edited by karabas
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Day 11/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (28/100)
Sleep before midnight x3

Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 1:15am -> 6:30am, 7:00am -> 10:45am

Ok, so I technically went to bed late. But I was all ready to go to bed early, but something came up that was outside my capacity. So I'm writing this down as an early bedtime day, because I was on time with stopping working and heading to bed.

It's getting late now, so I didn't get to do my Qur'an in the evening. I'll try to make it up tomorrow, otherwise I'm keeping this counter reset.

Not a lot of pomodorros, but I was a lot more productive than they indicate. Did a bunch of stuff without them. But also started late. Tomorrow I'm going over to a friend's place... that'll probably take some time. So I'm in for another day of semi-productivity.

Need to make this weekend happen, man.

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Is there a reason you stay up from 6:30 am to 7:00 am every day? The body doesn't do great with discontinuous sleep, so that could be a reason why you feel the need to sleep so much. If you really have something to do at 6:30 then just try to acclimate yourself to sleeping 7.5 continuous hours from 11:00 pm to 6:30 am. That equates to about 5 continuous sleep cycles, which is about what the average person with a healthy sleep schedule needs.

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On 9/5/2018 at 12:23 AM, karabas said:

I'm really enjoying the pomodorros. Since I don't want to use screens during break time, I stand up and walk around, do random stuff.

This is a big benefit as well. Standing, walking or stretching out throughout lengthy work periods at a desk is pretty much the only thing that can save future back problems. I don't use them that way because it breaks my focus too much, I usually just ignore the break period and continue working, or skip it, but if you can walk, that's big.

On 9/5/2018 at 12:23 AM, karabas said:

Oh, I never got around to deleting my steam account. Gotta do that before cravings come back. I think I have another game download account on another website too. Have to make sure to remove that one as well.

I would just leave it as it is. Just forget about it. There will always be ways to play games, there's free to play stuff, there's easy piracy etc. For me, going back to exchange e-mails with the support staff to delete steam would actually be considered procrastination at this point. 

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Day 12/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (28/100)
Sleep before midnight x4

Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 12:30am -> 6:30am, 6:45am -> 12:30pm

I did procrastinate with my bedtime a bit yesterday. As this is a difficult habit for me, I'm letting it slide this one time.

No pomodorros today, although I did work a bit. But it just got out of hand: I woke up late, then I went for Friday prayer. After Friday prayer, we went over to my wife's friend's house for food and came back in late afternoon. And I was really tired and basically got very little done for the rest of the day. Lame.

I have to make it up this weekend, because this week has been crap in terms of productivity. On the plus side, no games and no media!

And yeah, I lost my Qur'an routine. Restarting tomorrow.

19 hours ago, Deku said:

s there a reason you stay up from 6:30 am to 7:00 am every day? The body doesn't do great with discontinuous sleep, so that could be a reason why you feel the need to sleep so much. If you really have something to do at 6:30 then just try to acclimate yourself to sleeping 7.5 continuous hours from 11:00 pm to 6:30 am. That equates to about 5 continuous sleep cycles, which is about what the average person with a healthy sleep schedule needs.

I'm Muslim and I get up to pray. Right now I have to get up sometime between 5:30 and 6:45, so I push it towards the end. Optimally, I'd be going to bed by 10:30 and waking up at 6:30 and that would be it, but I'm HORRIBLE with early bedtime. In fact, I think I've had an easier time quitting games than going to bed on time lol. So for now I'm trying to get ~7 hours of sleep in and then do a 1.5 hour siesta later in the day, but it hasn't worked out so far because I feel too tired and go back to sleep after. I don't think my sleep cycle is 90 minutes though. I've tried figuring it out, but haven't been successful yet.

The other thing is that it's super hot here and heat definitely makes you physically tired. And I had a VERY bad sleep schedule for a whole month prior to this. So those are contributing factors, I'm sure. But I have to start staying up after prayers as my productivity has been crap because of this.

6 hours ago, JustTom said:

I would just leave it as it is. Just forget about it. There will always be ways to play games, there's free to play stuff, there's easy piracy etc. For me, going back to exchange e-mails with the support staff to delete steam would actually be considered procrastination at this point. 

I remember during my 90-day detox, I almost relapsed sometime around half-way and what kept from it was the technical challenge. I wanted a specific game and it was windows only and I have a Mac. I did figure out how to play it on a mac, but it was just so much effort and by the time I got it working, something happened that just turned me off of games again.

Steam is very easy. Installing it takes a couple of minutes, downloading a game takes a few minutes. And I'm very "loyal" to games: I only play a couple, but I play them a LOT. So I'm basically just a few minutes away from playing my favorite games. Versus, if I delete my account, I'd have to register for steam, fork over a ton of money for a game, etc. Yes, I can play some online game or whatever (I don't really pirate games), but I find that those aren't the ones that have that obsessive hold over me. So yeah, I might relapse and play them, but I won't disappear for two months and lose all my productivity because I'm playing mario bros or something lol.

Plus, I feel like deleting Steam is a statement. I'm losing hundreds of dollars of investment (some of the games I've barely played even). And I'm closing the door on a big chapter of my life. It's symbolic in a sense.

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Alright fair enough. I also have a few hundred bucks on my account. In case you find a good way to sell it instead of deleting, let me know, I'll do it too ?

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Day 13/120
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (33/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 3)
Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 1:00am -> 6:30am

I stayed up and got some work done but then stuff came up later in the day that prevented me from finishing the day on a strong note.

This is the problem: I'm very bad at saying no when someone suggests we do something that I enjoy. It usually means I take unplanned time off of work and it derails my productivity. It looks like this is my next step in self-improvement: being more serious about work.

 

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12 hours ago, karabas said:

This is the problem: I'm very bad at saying no when someone suggests we do something that I enjoy. It usually means I take unplanned time off of work and it derails my productivity

Maybe just focus on increasing productivity and once you build up confidence and a strong habit, then you can go off-schedule from time to time, without breaking your progress completely. Life/work balance is a tough thing, but I know that if I'm not confident with my work ethic, but I'm having a productive day and somebody asks me to go for a beer, the worst thing to do is to accept, even if I would really like to. It's like hitting the breaks while accelerating at the same time you know? First I want to get to a certain speed and then I can slow down or just keep going the same speed with that momentum. 

Now the big problem is when you're not able to get to that speed over the longterm, such is the case with me. That means I NEVER get to that fun part and just keep struggling to accelerate. I don't know if this is your case though, that's up to you to say.

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I think that it's great you went out with friends, even if it interfered with work to some extent. From my limited experience being social is crucial to the success of these detoxes, so I wouldn't worry so much about the occasional hangout that derails your work plans, so long as you aren't going out so much that you consistently aren't able to meet your deadlines.

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Day 16/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (41/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 3)
Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 12:45am->6:30am, 6:45am->9:40am

Had to make another trip to the capital city for some paperwork, so was on the road for a while again. Didn't have much time to be productive and definitely didn't run much in terms of pomodorros even when I was working.

Sleep was actually pretty good, just went to bed late last night because we ordered food and it was an hour late, so it pushed me over past midnight. The other nights I slept early and got a lot of rest.

It looks like I'll need to repeat the trip against next week or so. This nonstop moving around is really throwing me off. I haven't been stably in one place since end of July. I really need to be in one place and get work done. I'm a freelancer, so little work for me means little pay and it's really starting to hit my wallet bad.

Anyway, that's that. Looking forward to (hopefully) being productive for the rest of the week. I have to set specific work hours. Overall, 8 hours a day is more than enough. I'm going to aim for: 8am-12pm & 4-8pm. I need some evening hours because that's when most of my clients are at work because of time difference.

On 9/10/2018 at 1:29 AM, JustTom said:

Maybe just focus on increasing productivity and once you build up confidence and a strong habit, then you can go off-schedule from time to time, without breaking your progress completely. Life/work balance is a tough thing, but I know that if I'm not confident with my work ethic, but I'm having a productive day and somebody asks me to go for a beer, the worst thing to do is to accept, even if I would really like to. It's like hitting the breaks while accelerating at the same time you know? First I want to get to a certain speed and then I can slow down or just keep going the same speed with that momentum. 

Now the big problem is when you're not able to get to that speed over the longterm, such is the case with me. That means I NEVER get to that fun part and just keep struggling to accelerate. I don't know if this is your case though, that's up to you to say.

Yeah that's kinda where I'm at. I almost never accelerate to top speed. But I do agree that overall I gotta be a lot stricter, at least for the time being. First of all, I have to set different expectations with friends & family. Gotta get them used to hearing that I'm busy so can't pick up the phone or go somewhere or attend some party. Second of all, social time doesn't affect me much if it's on occasion. But when most days of the week there's something that I have to do that's beyond my normal schedule, it becomes a problem.

On 9/10/2018 at 8:42 AM, Deku said:

I think that it's great you went out with friends, even if it interfered with work to some extent. From my limited experience being social is crucial to the success of these detoxes, so I wouldn't worry so much about the occasional hangout that derails your work plans, so long as you aren't going out so much that you consistently aren't able to meet your deadlines.

Well I get default social time by virtue of being married. My wife and I hang out and talk a lot. So my needs elsewhere are not so great. But the other problem is that I have some kind of "exceptional activity" that's not part of my default daily schedule almost every day. I do agree that on occasion giving up some productive time is perfectly fine. But when I can't get into work day after day because there's something or other happening, I gotta start being stricter with my time...

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Days 17-19/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (49/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 3)
Spiritual Routine: 1/7

Sleep: 2:30am->6:20am, 6:30am -> 11:00am

I stayed up last the two nights essentially fantasizing about the future (instead of working towards making it happen). Last night I was up late watching vids related to that.

I'm not sure if I should count this as breaking my detox since I technically was looking for those vids, but I definitely slipped into some "recommended" watching (damn phone app... I removed recommendations from my desktop).

I'm going to let this go unless I do more of it today, in which case I'll restart the detox.

This is another pattern of mine that I'm realizing. When faced with a lot of work (as I am now), I instead start imagining my life once I'm more secure financially. I have this dream of going back to my home country (my parents left when I was a kid and the country sucked then, but now it's doing well economically and has been modernized significantly). So I spent two days researching the best cities in terms of climate, healthcare, real estate prices, etc. I think I'm an expert now, lol.

It seems like I have a HUGE arsenal of tricks I use to avoid work. Games were one. Videos are another. It seems that daydreaming and fantasies are yet another.

I don't understand what the hell happened in my life that I grew up to be this lazy man-child who can't handle a small dose of responsibilities. I don't even have kids yet!

*Sigh*

Not feeling all too great about myself today, but I've also found that disappointment in myself is probably the only real motivator that makes me want to change, so that's good I guess?

Here's to a productive day today. There's a lot of stuff I need to do.

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You can do it. In my experience, there is no trick to overcoming laziness. You sit your butt on a chair, make a list of the shit you have to do and make a promise to yourself that you aren't going to leave the chair until it's all done. At first, it will be hard and you'll want to surf the web almost immediately (that's why I personally only work in open spaces where I can't surf without everyone seeing my screen). But as long as you remember that you're disappointed in yourself and genuinely want to improve I have no doubt you can pull it off. It only gets easier after day 1--in fact, you'll probably be shocked how easy productivity comes once you pull off a few productive days in a row.

 

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Day 20/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (58/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 3)
Spiritual Routine: 2/7

Sleep: 3:00am->6:40am, 7:00am -> 12:00pm

Doing a bit better, had a fairly productive day. Stayed up late because something came up, was on course for going to bed slightly past midnight. But I do need to get back onto a proper sleeping schedule. Still watching a few videos, but less now. And I think it's a slightly different psychology this time. I'm not living vicariously through the people in the videos, although I am using the videos to fulfill my daydreaming.

18 hours ago, Deku said:

You can do it. In my experience, there is no trick to overcoming laziness. You sit your butt on a chair, make a list of the shit you have to do and make a promise to yourself that you aren't going to leave the chair until it's all done. At first, it will be hard and you'll want to surf the web almost immediately (that's why I personally only work in open spaces where I can't surf without everyone seeing my screen). But as long as you remember that you're disappointed in yourself and genuinely want to improve I have no doubt you can pull it off. It only gets easier after day 1--in fact, you'll probably be shocked how easy productivity comes once you pull off a few productive days in a row.

Thanks man. Yeah, I just have retrain myself to do the work. Can't really glue myself to the chair, though. That's the thing with not being single: my life isn't just about me, so there's often interruptions or things I need to do on occasion. And since I'm working from home, I sometimes find it hard to get myself back into work if I've been distracted from it for some time. But yeah, it's just practice I guess...

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Day 21/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 1 (68/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 3)
Spiritual Routine: 3/7

Sleep: 2:30am->6:40am, 7:00am -> 11:00am

Again, slight improvement over the previous day. Fairly productive (although still not where I want to be). Today will probably not be as good because I have to help my wife with some stuff and that'll take several hours minimum.

Have to get this sleep thing in order also - I didn't really intend to sleep this late this time around.

Also, I'm still watching YT, it's still somewhat intentional in that I'm interested in a subject and go watch videos about it, but it's becoming quite time consuming and that's a problem.

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I've also caught myself doing this once. During a time when I wasn't watching many videos at all, I just started watching this guy's travel vlogs and fantasizing about seeing all these places for myself, getting to know the people, just enjoying life, I was looking at prices of rent in different cities etc. Day-dreaming, basically. After a few days, I just got tired of it and moved on. Might not be a big deal.

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