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Day 3 | Focus: 70% | Pomodoros: a bunch + CGAA

Another nice day. Slept for 12 hours, but this time it was needed because last night I only slept 4.5 after being awake for 24. Missed the sunday gym opening hours, but other than that, I was making music, engaging in the CGAA community and talking to some buddies of mine. My friend will be moving in tomorrow already so that's going to be fun. A new experience for sure. Will help me through recovery. It has to. 

This time around, I'm taking the detox much more seriously though. I not only don't watch any gaming videos, but I also limit youtube and reddit very heavily. I locked them both behind a password and uninstalled the apps on my phone. In this way, I can still use them if I need them, but I stop for a second before alt-tabbing and decide whether I'm just procrastinating or not. My usage has gone down significantly. This trick is just one of many helpers. It's my commitment to change my lifestyle that lowered my meaningless internet usage. Feels good.

I still use videos to chill out a little bit, but I feel like in a healthy way - specifically, I put on videos from Alex Moukala, my favorite youtube channel for orchestral music production and composition. He makes really really high-value tutorials as well as "track from scratch" videos where he streams the entire process from the first note to last including mixing and mastering. It's mind-blowing stuff. 

TRIGGER WARNING! If the words "heroes of might and magic 3" mean a lot to you, don't click this spoiler.

 
 
 
 
 
3
Spoiler

While immersing myself in my passion of music, I checked out what's new with my idol composer - Paul Romero. Apparently, 3 months ago, there was a massive 20th anniversary full orchestra concert of HoMM3 soundtracks, adapted for live performance and expanded by Paul. And despite him being an American, it was in Warszaw, probably because of the huge legacy following the game has in eastern europe. I only listened to the first 2 pieces because I wanted to continue producing, but I already had such strong goosebumps during the second piece!

Warszaw is a 1-hour flight away. If I didn't game in the past 5 months like a maniac, I would have noticed it in time, like I did today, and went 100% I am very sad, this really breaks my heart.

 

Plan for tomorrow:

  • Wake up at 9 -> call with a fellow
  • Go to the gym (if it's not closed on a holiday)
  • AI Thehme reproduction
    • Finish velocity and expression tweaking
    • some light EQ, compression and we're done!
  • CGAA meeting
  • Friend moves in
  • Journal & Plan the day after

 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 4 | Focus: 50% | Pomodoros: a bunch + CGAA

ANOTHER nice day. What a time to be alive. I've managed to stay off games as well as heavily limit mindless internet browsing. Starting from evening today, I have a roomie, who's also a good friend of mine, doesn't game, knows personal development and has an open mind. I think this will be huge. It's certainly a change in lifestyle. I have to stay off games, I just have to. If I game, I die. And there are no exceptions. No "artistic" games. Any contact with gaming will make my brain snap and go insane. For me, games are poison and I will do everything it takes to stay away. Being connected with the community and friends is the most important factor. 

I stumbled upon a trailer of a game I've been "looking forward to" for months. It's coming out only next year, so it's not like I can relapse on it, but I still choose not to watch it. I want to forget about it, eventually I will. Right as I had the video open but paused at 0 seconds, I messaged the fellowship and my sponsor, instead of watching it. That action alone made my cravings decrease significantly. I am very proud of this behavior. I'm also very proud of myself that I managed to stay true to my commitment for these 4 days. 

Tomorrow I will know what's up with my career. Gonna be interesting. I'm not even sure which results I want myself so I guess either way is good for me. As long as I stay off games. 

Also, here's the track I practiced the very basics on, after years of essentially not touching it(0 mixing involved so the sound is imbalanced): 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e1mlg12e531x1w2/Mixdown.wav?dl=0

Edited by JustTom
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Day 5 | Focus: 60% | Pomodoros: a bunch + CGAA + Gym

My thesis internship continues. I've been given one last chance, under the condition that if I miss a single day of work, I'm done. I think I needed this kind of a condition before. This means I have to stay clean for 4-6 months. A single relapse means I lose the job. Nevertheless, I'm taking it day by day. Slowly making my way through recovery. If I relapse tomorrow, so be it. But today, I will stay off games. 

Hit the gym as well and finished the day with orchestrating percussions. I love putting down every single note. When this exercise is finished, I'll post it here again. I still haven't watched the game trailer and at this point, I don't even feel like watching it, but again, taking it day by day.

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Day 6 | Focus: 75% | Pomodoros: 17 + CGAA

Quite a productive day, I'm slowly getting back into my stride. Besides gaming, there is also depression that sometimes creeps up on me and I was reminded of that today when I woke up - I didn't feel good at all, but in the end I picked myself up and went outside, just about an hour later. I have to remember to just take it day by day, hour by hour, and that if I don't game, I will recover my mental strength over the longterm. Today, I don't even feel the need to watch the trailer or check out the recent gaming news, so the principle of one day at a time has been successful. Always ask myself "Can I hold on until the next meeting? Can I hold on for these 5, 8, x, y hours? Yeah, sure I can." The present is all I have and that's what I'm laser focusing on. 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 7 | Focus: 75% | Pomodoros: 11 + CGAA + social

I was going to write on the topic of patience, my hyper-productivity-into-a-crash relapse pattern and how I'm going to deal with it in the upcoming weeks, but I'm too tired right now. Just putting it here to maybe write about some other day.

Been talking to my roomie instead of making music tonight. Which is okay, I value those activities about equal. Anyways...

1 week in, fuck yeah!

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Just want to share with you that I have had to deal with morning depression too and the mistake I did was counting on it feelings. If I'm feeling bad, something is wrong with me, and then I'd linger in that state of mind which was not the right approach. The right approach is what you said, we accept we have bad feelings but we make a choice to do some activity. It can actually change our feelings, whereas just staying static has zero chance to do that.

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Day 8 | Focus: 75% | Pomodoros: 16 + CGAA + Gym + Chores

Awesome day, I set my alarm clock the same as my roomie, which made it easy to get up and go. The plan was to do music in the evening, but after doing laundry and coming to say hi for an hour to some of my neighbours, I got really exhausted. Should have went to bed immediately, but instead I procrastinated for more than 2 hours from going to bed but instead of watching youtube or reddit, I re-watched one of my favorite movies, which is a huge difference in my mental patterns. I'm going to pat myself on the back for that one. I'm also pat myself on the back for completing an entire week! I can't exactly say I'm working hard at my job just yet, but I'm sure as hell working hard at my recovery. And that's the most important thing in the world right now. 

19 hours ago, fawn_xoxo said:

Just want to share with you that I have had to deal with morning depression too and the mistake I did was counting on it feelings. If I'm feeling bad, something is wrong with me, and then I'd linger in that state of mind which was not the right approach. The right approach is what you said, we accept we have bad feelings but we make a choice to do some activity. It can actually change our feelings, whereas just staying static has zero chance to do that.

But that's exactly the hard part. 

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Day 9 | Focus: 85% | Pomodoros: 23 + CGAA

Woke up with bad allergy, but because my rommate was going out to study, I also left the house with him. Procrastinated a bit in the office at start, but after the first few hours, I got into such sick flow that I could not stop myself from producing. It's now 4am in the night and I'm leaving the office, still excited and barely even tired lol. 

My sponsor gave me homework to write out my thoughts about step 1, maybe I'll do it tomorrow cause I REALLY need to go to bed ASAP.

Edited by JustTom
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Day 10 | Focus: 85% | Pomodoros: 22 + CGAA

Crushed it. The track is finished -> will upload and post probably tomorrow. 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 11 | Focus: 85% | Pomodoros: 16 + CGAA

I might do a few extra pomodoros of music after work, in which case I'll update tomorrow. I'm trying hard, doing the best I can at my internship, but if results don't come soon, I don't think this is going to work out despite me being off games. I honestly think I don't have enough data and computational resources at this point. Anyways, on a nicer note, here's the track I've been working on! It's based on a percussion tutorial and I learned a TON I didn't know. I think I can write and produce percussion on a professional composer level(if I got my mixing skills up a notch):

 

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Day 12 | Focus: 85% | Pomodoros: 19 + CGAA

Day 13 | Focus: 40% | Pomodoros: 8* + CGAA

Day 12 was amazing, because I woke up with my roommate, was very productive and found some new methods to implement, while day 13 is the exact opposite, overslept, went to my job in the afternoon only to find out that it's buggy as shit and I don't even have enough gpu memory, plus the single course I need to retake in september is already full so I was put on a waiting list, which is an absolute disaster since there's so many students this year and it's very popular. All in all, my degree is going to shit despite me being off games. Very motivating. Makes me want to quit every single day. 

Only worked 4 hours so far, but I'm so frustrated I can't even put in the other 4. Think I'll just calm myself with writing some strings. On that note, I'm putting a link to the previously reproduced simple soundtrack, finally on soundcloud and not just my dropbox.

 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 14 | Focus: 65% | Pomodoros: 17 + CGAA + chores + social

Going home for a wedding so I might not update. Honestly, I'm getting enough daily sharing at the CGAA meetings and reporting to my sponsor every day, so I haven't written much, or even read other people's journals lately. Or maybe it's my heavy pull towards music that I feel, and don't want to spend time on anything else. Don't know, we'll see, I'm doing good either way. 

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1 hour ago, JustTom said:

Day 14 | Focus: 65% | Pomodoros: 17 + CGAA + chores + social

Going home for a wedding so I might not update. Honestly, I'm getting enough daily sharing at the CGAA meetings and reporting to my sponsor every day, so I haven't written much, or even read other people's journals lately. Or maybe it's my heavy pull towards music that I feel, and don't want to spend time on anything else. Don't know, we'll see, I'm doing good either way. 

Keep going and don't feel bad about it. When life pulls at us we barely have time to record our progress in our diaries and barely respond to others or even post in other's diaries. Enjoy what you're doing and see it through.

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Days 15-18

The wedding was great, although I'm dying of allergy now. I'll try to wake up in the morning despite not being able to breathe and go to the office to check up on my model. I assume it will suck, but if there is decent improvement, that could be huge. This week is going to be hardcore because of my serious reaction to the warmer and drier home environment, plus tomorrow is going to be the hottest day of the year in this city, so I'll just kind of try to survive, do as much work as I can and then I have the weekend to look forward to(going to write a 1-minute string harmony exercise!). 

On 6/21/2019 at 3:33 AM, BooksandTrees said:

Keep going and don't feel bad about it. When life pulls at us we barely have time to record our progress in our diaries and barely respond to others or even post in other's diaries. Enjoy what you're doing and see it through.

Yep, thanks! I'll keep updating and I'm 100% sure I'll get back to being frequent on this forum eventually.

On 6/21/2019 at 6:36 PM, katsudo19 said:

@JustTom What programs do you use for creating music? I must say this two songs are pretty good!

I don't know how much you know about music production, but for the DAW, I use Studio One, though I'm learning the basics of FL studio just because it has a midi scrub tool haha. For libraries, this was mostly Damage for percussion, REFORGED for trailer hits and Metropolis Ark 1 for the orchestra. 

 

 

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Day 19 & Day 20 | CGAA x 2

I find it extremely difficult to focus at work. Allergy + no positive rewards + constant day-dreaming about music. Seriously, today all I've done is look at online film scoring courses, their previews, chatted with a composer on discord, etc. Tomorrow I will have 1 more gpu available, though a single titan X or 1080TI would be better than two 1080's, but at least I can always run 2 experiments in parallel. 

Music: Switching to FL studio has been more difficult than I thought it would. It's got a completely different workflow from all other DAWs, so it's taking me some time to learn the fundamentals, but at this point I have a template I know how to operate. There are some library-specific controls I'm still confused by, but I'm getting there. By saturday I'll probably have it figured out and can start writing the strings exercise. Ahh if only I could do this full time! 😄

Fun fact: 10,000 is commonly stated to be the number of hours needed to reach mastery at a skill. This can be achieved in:

~2.4 years with 80h/week of practice(11.5hours per day incl. weekends) or 
~3.2 years with 60h/week of practice(8.5h per day incl. weekends) or
~4.8 years with 40h/week of practice(8h per day excl. weekends) or
~9.6 years with 20h/week of practice.

My extremely vague calculations show me that I could start making enough money(with music) to survive in my home country in under 2 years of deliberate practice(doing 60h/week). Just an interesting... hypothesis.

Another thing - I NEEEEED to laser focus on evening and morning routine. I'm going to bed SLIGHTLY late today, but no devices, water prepared with the phone nearby it. In the morning, I must under no circumstances lay down - neither on the bed, nor the couch. This is not a should, this an absolute must. I HAVE TO get this shit sorted in order to fully recover. This is the most important habit in my life and I MUST master it. 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 21 | Work: 18p | Music: 2p | Misc: CGAA

3 weeks wooo! By far the longest I've gotten in 2019, very proud of this streak. It's also the second day home alone, but except for going to bed later than ideal, I feel totally fine. I do think about games here and there, but don't feel any cravings. I just keep avoiding any content and focusing on music, if anything. That's really the only thing that interests me nowadays anyway. Today I managed to get out of bed and actually focus a bit at work which is fantastic. 

Allergy is pretty much gone, but the internal swelling and inflammation take some time to heal and it's very uncomfortable. Especially the ear pressure(the plane flight didn't exactly help) - I'm getting a bit anxious about damaging ears by blowing my nose through the pressure. That would be one way to kill a passion lmao. 

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Day 22 | Work: 16p | Music: 0p | Misc: CGAA

There was a very worrying pattern I followed yesterday, but didn't relapse. I'm in a hurry to get into bed ASAP(still in the office at night), so I'll write about it later.

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Day 23 | Work: 11p | Music: 0p | Misc: CGAA + social

So the pattern on thursday night was that I binge-watched the new mini-series Chernobyl. It is absolutely amazing, a piece of art. But, I watched it until ~6am. Emotionally, it felt like a relapse by all means. I did not game nor did I watch gaming content, but it was intense escapism and when I thought about stopping, I got hit by a spike of anxiety, so I just kept watching untitl I fell asleep out of exhaustion. That made me wake up in the afternoon, go to my internship at the end of the day to disappoint once again. The rest of the day was pretty good though, as indicated by 20 total pomodoros on day 22. 

Today, I watched the series again. For absolutely no reason. Well, of course there is a reason. I just don't see it. I don't think it was exactly escapism this time. Maybe after 20 days of sobriety, my ego is rebelling once again and it's trying to bring me back to my old patterns. It's now 3am and instead of composing music for 5 hours, I've watched Chernobyl again, for 5 hours. I also met with a buddy of mine who's visiting the city, at around noon and we drank a few beers. When I got to the office(nobody there on saturday but me), sligthly drunk and feeling like I really want to chill with coffee for a while, I watched the GSL starcraft finals of this season, for something over an hour. I did message my sponsor and the whatsapp group that I'm doing it though, and I was ready to report any cravings should they arise, but in the end they didn't. After it ended, I just closed it and started working. After 5.5 hours, I attended the CGAA meeting, had a call with mom and my sponsor, which kind of broke my workflow a bit, so then I procrastinated on reddit and started watching the mini-series.

Oh well. No matter. I still consider this a very successful day, all things considered. It's 3am now, going to bike home to get to bed by 4 and wake up at 12 to just have fun with music on sunday, no pressure. If I feel like working, I can work instead of course, but it's not a must. Fresh start tomorrow, with plenty of sleep. This might be one of the harder periods of my early recovery and I fully intend to stay connected, vigilant and patient. 

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Day 24 | Work: 0p | Music: 10p | Misc: CGAA + a lot of chores

No more dangerous patterns today, it seems like the withdrawals are over for now! Though for some reason, I was very unfocused during the day. Probably because I was home alone with my laptop. I kept alt-tabbing and procrastinating, but it's okay, it was Sunday and I'm moving forward. Going to bed extremely late again, I have to set myself a hard limit of 1am bedtime from now on. The condition under which I can continue my internship now includes never coming after 11am, so I need to start focusing on that. My sponsor also confirmed that I completed step 2, so early recovery is going very well. I sense another great week coming up!

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Day 25 | Work: 20p | Music: 2p | Misc: CGAA

Crushed it today. Got up, went to the office at 11, worked until 22, now I'm going home to chill for two hours and go to bed to have a meeting tomorrow early morning to summarise my work of past 3 weeks and determine next steps. I didn't get the results I wanted to and performance wasn't up to standards, but I did what I could given my mental condition and for that I'm happy and even a little bit proud. 

No matter what happens, as long as I stay off games, my success is guaranteed. 

One day at a time. 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 26 | Work: 24p | Music: 5p | Misc: CGAA

Crushed it AGAIN. Three days in a row I woke up on time and worked really hard. It's fascinating how great having control over my own life feels. I did chill for ~2 hours instead of jumping right into music, but that's totally fine.

I've been listening to the Atomic Habits audiobook on commutes and wanted to write about it here, but honestly - I just want to get more shit done. Maybe later haha. No cravings, no negative patterns. Will update how many pomodoros of music I've done. The plan is to go to bed at 2am and wake up at 9am, so optimally 5p. 

EDIT: Indeed did 5p, but then procrastinated for an hour so I'm going to bed at 3am. This, however, is still an improvement hahah. Trying to use cues and program my subconscious to execute habits in the evening - I just have to start the first cue early enough. 

Edited by JustTom
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Great job man.
Remember to take care of yourself in this process (non productive relaxing/wasting time away from games), since usually when we work hard, we tend to play hard too after we've ridden the high wave.

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Day 27 | Work: 21p | Music: 2p | Misc: CGAA + social

I didn't just crush it today, I absolutely massacred it! There's blood everywhere, people running around screaming, the police is chasing me for this brutal murder of this wednesday. 

Almost 0 procrastination, actually got a lot of stuff done, 10.5 hours. Just before I left the office, I noticed something wrong that could potentially be a huge problem, but I'll look into it tomorrow. I finally got to do some coding after some time again, which is the part I like the most. Maybe this is the promised land, the land where I don't hate every single minute of what I'm doing at my job. I wonder if it's going to get better or worse. I'm guessing better, but there is a very solid chance it could go worse. Anyways, I had to actually stop myself from working and go home. Not only for food, but also for at least 1 hour of learning music. I want to stay consistent with that. 

Though to be realistic, since I've gotten back from the wedding, I've been giving up (intentionally) gym and social life, as well as using modafinil as a crutch. I'm not abusing it at all, I have a very good relationship with supplements, but the fact that I'm not working out or talking to people is bothering me slightly. It's a short-term thing, I'll start exercising and socializing soon as well. 

That being said, I had over an hour long call with a good friend I haven't talked to in a long time. It was really nice, I shared my addiction story, we connected. 

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

On 7/2/2019 at 11:10 PM, fawn_xoxo said:

Great job man.
Remember to take care of yourself in this process (non productive relaxing/wasting time away from games), since usually when we work hard, we tend to play hard too after we've ridden the high wave.

Actually, that doesn't work for me. I would have to force myself to be unproductive in those times. And the thing is, what most people consider "relaxing" is a negative unconscious pattern for me. Even watching a movie, derives quickly from really enjoying myself, to being a zombie. When I feel like chilling, I will chill and I will do it in a conscious manner, but I won't force myself to watch a movie when I feel like working just because I've worked "enough".

Another thing that I keep in mind at all times is the difference between discomfort and exhaustion. Change in behavior and identity creates discomfort. Discomfort masks itself as "being tired", but it's actually just cognitive dissonance, and when I make myself comfortable in the face of discomfort, I stop growing. Or regress. In fact, being uncomfortable, for me, is the signal to keep going because that is where growth lies in the first place. It's not a given that when I do things, I grow. It's really only when I push through discomfort that I grow. So I am always really mindful of when I'm uncomfortable, and when I'm legitimately exhausted and need to rest(physically, mentally, emotionally, sleep-wise..). 

Edited by JustTom
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Day 28 | Work: 16p | Music: 3p | Misc: CGAA

No more crushing today. Didn't do too bad, but definitely wasn't in the zone. I wrote a script to automatically download and split up album videos on youtube by their timestamps for individual songs instead of working on my thesis as well. Really not feeling it, but I still did a bit of work. There is a weird bug that I think I'm just going to ignore for now and make a workaround for the sake of my sanity. Going to leave the office just after 8 hours because I'm hungry and my rommate is coming too. Will update in the evening, put I expect to just chill and go to bed early to finally sleep more than 6 hours. 

Edited by JustTom

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