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Karabas's Journal: Part 2

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Day 1/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (20/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 1:30-7:00am, 7:45-11:45am

Back on track (almost), although I didn't get to bed on time. Pushed too much stuff off until close to bedtime because I was trying to squeeze enough work in. But no videos!

Also, got an email that my Steam account is deleted. $500 worth of games gone (couldn't sell it because it's against their terms of use, plus most of my games are actually old, so they weren't worth that much). It's been 57 days since I last gamed and aside from an occasional pang of a craving, I don't really miss them. I'm definitely still struggling with YouTube, TV shows, etc, but I'm hopeful that gaming is behind me. Of course, I still gotta be careful about triggers: once an addict, always an addict.

My spiritual routine isn't completely broken, by the way. I've maintained reading Qur'an in the mornings, it's the evening part that I've been missing out on. I leave it until too late and then I'm sleep and I just go to bed.

On 10/8/2018 at 1:17 PM, Robin said:

That's amazing man. I don't think there is a downside in what you did for the man. I'm not religious, but I do believe in karma and what you did will come back in the future.

Thanks, man. Yeah, I don't mind overall. I'm back on track today, so it was just a small hiccup for me, but hopefully it was a big help for him.

Edited by karabas

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Day 2/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (25/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 1/7

Sleep: 1:30-7:00am

Better, although I had some "life admin" tasks (like booking flights and hotels and the like) that I had to do that ended up taking up half my day. But once again, no videos and fairly productive.

Went to bed late still yesterday and talked in bed with my wife for a while too, so I'm pretty exhausted. Hopefully staying up today will help me get back to my early-to-bed schedule.

Edited by karabas
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Day 4/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (40/100)
Sleep before midnight x2 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 3/7

Sleep: 12:35am-7:05am

Staying up two days ago did help me reset the schedule... but for some reason I couldn't sleep at night despite the exhaustion and only fell asleep around 3:30am, despite going to bed at 12. Last night was bad too, I woke up maybe 4 times during the night. Still, feeling a lot more rested today, will take a nap again in a few hours, so hopefully this will be a productive day. My body is probably just confused by my going to sleep earlier than I'm used to. Might take a few days to adjust.

And yeah, I was late to bed by 35 minutes last night, but that was out of my control. I stopped working at 11 sharp, so I'm counting it as an early sleep day, partially just to give myself some momentum.

My productivity isn't as great as it was last week, but I'd say it's at about 80%. It's definitely hella better than when I was hardcore gaming or binging Netflix shows. And I'm now on day 60 of no games! So a lot to be thankful for.

Videos are still a problem... not that I binge watch or stay up late, but I do watch stuff on occasion. I don't generally watch "random" stuff, I end up reading something online and wanting to watch a video about it. And I started reading news websites again and they also have some videos, so I occasionally watch those. Gah, I hate the news. And it looks I'm replacing my video habits with reading news. As much as I hate it, it's probably a healthier habit than video, so one thing at a time. 

Oh and one more piece of good news: I've been taking ~25 minutes a day to work on my business idea. It's not a lot, but it's actually yielding some results, which is a welcome change. My goal right now is to try to finish up marketing materials before the new year. That was I can actually register the business in 2019 (to avoid doing taxes for 2018), build the website, launch a beta of my product, and then plugin the ready marketing. It's still a ton of work. I've dropped the ball a lot of times (I started working on this idea at the beginning of this year and was hoping to launch in the summer originally), likely I'll drop it again. But the feeling of actually working towards it is good. I've spent my life daydreaming about stuff I'd do in the future. I've started projects many a time, but I never finished any of them. Actually accomplishing something would be a gigantic milestone in my life, even if the business idea itself fails.

Anyway, my job is to try. God is the One who grants success (or doesn't). I'm OK with either, as long as I don't stop trying

Edited by karabas
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Day 5/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (42/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 4/7

Sleep: 1:20am-7:05am, 2pm-4pm

I ended up not napping during the day yesterday, which made me really tired towards the evening. And you know how being tired affects decision-making. I stayed up late for absolutely no reason.

At least I got a ton of work done.

Edited by karabas

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1 minute ago, JustTom said:

Uuu! What's the business idea? Or at least the area or the goals, if you don't want to disclose too much this early 🙂

 

An online course. It's a niche with tons of interest and only one decent (but super expensive) course to serve it. It's not a simple 5 videos course though, I'd need to record quite a lot of material + all the marketing content. So it's a lot of upfront work, plus I'm completely clueless in the legal & tax department, so I have to spend on that as well.

So I'm going to try to get all my marketing content done by new year, launch the company and marketing in Jan, work on recording key lessons (that I've already outlined) and sell a "beta" course to test the waters, then finish the course and hopefully scale up the marketing once it's been optimized. It's a lot of work and I don't get paid properly until it's in full swing, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to meet my deadlines. But let's see.

If it works well over the next couple of years, I have a lot of other idea for how to diversify the income.

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Awesome! Online courses can be a fantastic "set it and forget it" way to generate income, from what I hear(if you put it on an established online course platform). 

By the way, the BlockSite extension just released an update that lets you protect yourself from disabling the extension and from accessing the chrome/mozilla extension settings tab with a password so you can't even uninstall it lol. You can also set-up an e-mail where the password can be recovered or a notification in case the user tries to uninstall it (although I don't even know how that's possible right now). 

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3 hours ago, JustTom said:

Awesome! Online courses can be a fantastic "set it and forget it" way to generate income, from what I hear(if you put it on an established online course platform). 

True, although I'm going to try to use a white label platform and be active in continuously developing the course over time. The audience is huge, I don't think it'll be possible to exhaust it, as long as I continue to be active in content production, etc.

3 hours ago, JustTom said:

By the way, the BlockSite extension just released an update that lets you protect yourself from disabling the extension and from accessing the chrome/mozilla extension settings tab with a password so you can't even uninstall it lol. You can also set-up an e-mail where the password can be recovered or a notification in case the user tries to uninstall it (although I don't even know how that's possible right now). 

Nice! Thanks. Maybe I should do that for Netflix & YT...

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Day 0/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (48/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 0/7

Sleep: 6:45am - 12:45pm

Gah! I hate you, Netflix. Gonna try this BlockSite extension @JustTom recommended. If not, might need to do some more hardcore blocking, but I'm hoping this will just serve as a reminder not to watch crap.

EDIT: Just got the extension... it seems that you can just toggle it off? Is there a way make that more difficult?

Edited by karabas

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Yeah if you go to "Account Protection" tab, you can set it up so that it requires a password to disable or uninstall. If you want, I can keep your password for you so that you don't have access unless you ask me 😄

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9 hours ago, JustTom said:

Yeah if you go to "Account Protection" tab, you can set it up so that it requires a password to disable or uninstall. If you want, I can keep your password for you so that you don't have access unless you ask me 😄

Yeah, I'm down man. How would you keep my password tho? Should I just type a random string, message it to you, and delete my message?

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Day 1/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100)
Sleep before midnight x0 (longest streak: 4)
Spiritual Routine: 1/7

Sleep: 3:00am - 7:05am, 7:45am - 12:45pm

Yesterday was better. Went to bed late mostly because I was working. Once I realized I'm no longer being productive, I wrapped up and went to bed.

Hopefully today I can get back to sleep before midnight...

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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!

Edited by karabas

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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

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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.

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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.

Edited by JustTom

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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 😞

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Day 14/120 ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Pomodorro Lvl 2 (56/100) 
Sleep before 12am: 12 (longest streak: 4)

No phone in washroom 16/120
Umra resolutions: 1/90

Not much to update: just getting back into the swing of things after the trip.

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