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ElectroNugget

John's Diary - Search for Discipline

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1 hour ago, ElectroNugget said:

DAY 13:

I passed my programming exam! And I even got a decent grade. 🙂 I'm absolutely exhausted haha. It's been a wild week between these two exams. But I'm proud of myself... Programming was my biggest subject this semester, and arguably the most important. And I did it! Despite ups and downs, pain and uncertainty and all the other challenges that have come with adjusting to my first semester here. 

It's nice to feel like I actually achieved something after the past few years of failure. One exam to go! And now I'm off to sleep for a day. 😄

Congrats. This is excellent progress. You got through that crap studying period and nailed it. Use this as motivation to keep doing the right thing.

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1 hour ago, ElectroNugget said:

DAY 13:

I passed my programming exam! And I even got a decent grade. 🙂 I'm absolutely exhausted haha. It's been a wild week between these two exams. But I'm proud of myself... Programming was my biggest subject this semester, and arguably the most important. And I did it! Despite ups and downs, pain and uncertainty and all the other challenges that have come with adjusting to my first semester here. 

It's nice to feel like I actually achieved something after the past few years of failure. One exam to go! And now I'm off to sleep for a day. 😄

Nice! Congrats on passing the exam, one more to go!

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DAY 14:

Thanks for the encouragement guys! It feels good to succeed. 🙂

Not much to say today as it was super lazy: I slept in, went to the bookstore and bought a nice sci-fi book by my favourite author, and ate a giant victory hamburger and chocolate milkshake. Overall, a very uneventful day of rest and relaxation to celebrate my progress. This evening I'll just be in bed reading my new book. 😄 Today also marks two weeks clean of gaming! That seemed to go very quickly.

Tomorrow, studies will start again for my third exam, and I think I will need to begin planning how to disconnect from Youtube, so more on that tomorrow!

Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 15:

Very weird day today, had a bit sort of emotional slump and felt really tired and miserable most of the day. Perhaps it's just coming down from the exam stress of the last week. I just had all the usual negative thinking that comes with my usual downers. Lots of bad thoughts about how I'm not good enough, not successful enough, etc. Kind of a bummer. Hoping I will feel better tomorrow.

The last exam is on the 23rd so there's plenty of time to study. Got started today, and going to be getting more heavily into it in the coming days. Looking forward to being done with this semester tbh, and hoping I can study a bit better next semester. I'd like to be able to say that I did my best with 2020.

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DAY 17:

Hey everyone.

After a dispassionate couple of days I finally feel a bit more like myself. I don't know if it was some kind of exam blues or what, but I was just really down and low-energy for a few days after my programming exam, after the initial feeling of success.

Today I decided I really needed to get out and so I organized a board game evening for a few of my friends at ITU. Before that I spent a lot of time meditating and reading a book called 'The 5 Second Rule'. So far I think it has some really good principles I can apply to my near future. The board game evening went really well and I had a lot of fun. I really just need to spend more time at social events. 

My Software Engineering exam is coming up on Thursday, so I really need to start studying this weekend. I am considering blocking YouTube on my computer and phone for the duration to try and curb that time-wasting desire, and to make the most of the weekend. It would also be interesting to see what I do with my time when YouTube is out of the picture... Although now that I think of it I might have to block Reddit too. Hmm. I will think about it some more tonight, maybe just blocking all distracting websites for a day or two would be a good experiment?

My first shift at the board game cafe begins on Monday evening, really looking forward to that!

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3 minutes ago, ElectroNugget said:

I am considering blocking YouTube on my computer and phone for the duration to try and curb that time-wasting desire, and to make the most of the weekend. It would also be interesting to see what I do with my time when YouTube is out of the picture... Although now that I think of it I might have to block Reddit too. Hmm. I will think about it some more tonight, maybe just blocking all distracting websites for a day or two would be a good experiment?

When I was trying to lose the bad habit of automatically checking social media all the time I blocked every social media website in my phone and PC and uninstalled the apps. What's interesting is that in the beginning I was always trying to unconsciously open them all the time, and after some time I stopped doing it. Personally I think blocking them was a good way to break the habits. Lately I've been opening Youtube unconsciously too, I might give it a try again.

Ah, and it's very nice that you are getting into this board game job, have fun!

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@WhatAboutToday? I have a similar experience. When I still had facebook, especially facebook, I used to open it during working like at least 3 or 4 times per hour. After deleting the account, I would still see myself opening facebook and then closing it. This would happen with other "unproductive" websites as well. It is crazy, how much you can be on autopilot. 😮 

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DAY 18:

Today I decided to try and block Youtube, Reddit and other time-wasting sites like Facebook until 8PM. I used a program called Cold Turkey Blocker which works very well in this respect. It's very hard to get around it, and it blocks the pages quickly and provides a motivational quote in their place. 

What I found was WOW, I have even MORE time when I'm not burning hours on Youtube... And I really do burn a lot of time on Youtube. It's made me extremely aware of how much time I spend on autopilot. Suddenly my day felt really long... I found I had to fight a strong feeling of boredom in order to direct my time and energy to something productive.

The good news in all this is that I finished reading The 5 Second Rule today as a result (It's really good!). 😄 And I also cleared my entire to-do list. So, I think perhaps quitting Youtube, Netflix, etc, will need to be a major focus for the next few weeks. This is clearly an area where I could make big gains in time and productivity. I will have to add blockers to my phone, and either permanently block them on my PC or at least set a daily timer that only makes them available later in the day after I've gotten all my work done.

In the long run, perhaps I should banish Youtube altogether. This little experiment made me realize that I usually watch something when I eat, so I don't enjoy my food. I've also become conditioned to almost need videos to fall asleep to, which means my sleep hygiene is not great. Basically, while at first changing my life meant quitting gaming, the next step seems to be to quit consuming so much media.

It's gonna be tough! I gotta admit I was surprised by how uncomfortable I felt today when I couldn't just watch some dumb video whenever I felt like it. But the time I got back seems worth the sacrifice. So, starting tomorrow, I'll block Youtube and similar sites for most of the day, and perhaps I will eventually escalate that ban. It's going to be interesting to see how that works out... 

Edited by ElectroNugget
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@ElectroNugget I really relate to that. I often need to watch something to sleep. I also always watch something, when I eat. But this is a real tough challenge to get it out of my system. Neither is it out of my system yet nor do I have a solution for that. Maybe someone of us can find a way to tackle that issue eventually. 🙂 

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DAY 19:

So today started out with Youtube again (I really need to get my phone out of my bed), BUT once I got up, I blocked everything and managed to have quite a productive day! I studied for 6 hours this afternoon and evening, despite really not feeling like it (Software Engineering is probably my least favorite subject 😫). In that time I made a lot of progress! I'm sure if I put in similar hours in the next 3 days I will be more than prepared for the exam. 

I consider this a great success. It was still a bit uncomfortable, and I often found myself trying to open Reddit or YouTube in the middle of something, but my blocker kept me on track. I really think this is something I need to keep doing. It's incredible how much time I am getting back, and how much easier it is to stay on track with the things I usually used to avoid when my usual distractions are out of reach. The next step will be to block my phone as well, as I could still watch videos on it, but I was much less inclined to watch long videos since it sucks to sit on a tiny screen for an hour. Tomorrow I think I will try to find a similar blocker for my phone.

Although I still slept in, and spent the beginning and end of the day watching stuff, and got distracted by my phone from time to time, it was a far more productive Sunday than most. I just need to keep building on this theme. 🙂 So, I think I will be using the blocker every morning until Friday, and we'll see how much I can get done this week!

Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 20:

Well today was another weird day haha. My plan to fire up my YouTube blocker worked, but I overslept again and ended up spending a lot of time watching YouTube on my phone... So I'm starting to think I need to categorize this as a media addiction... I continue to watch loads of media even when I know the consequences are undesirable. As a result, I didn't get any studying done today between getting up late, going to my first shift at the boardgame cafe, and generally loafing around watching random YouTube stuff.

So I need a blocker for my phone. I've downloaded one this evening and I'm going to set it to block Youtube for the rest of the week.

While this has been frustrating, I guess it's good to have all this free time right now to 'burn' because it's really highlighting the magnitude of my problems with games/internet/media consumption. They seem to be a set of habits that conspire to devour my time and which will expand to fill the spaces left by the other habits if I give them up (in this case, my media consumption has skyrocketed to compensate for the time now free from videogames). This is a really serious battle. But I've won it before with videogames and I can win it now with media.

In other news, my first shift at the boardgame cafe was awesome! I met a lot of really nice people, and generally had a great time introducing others to new boardgames. It's a great fit for me because I can scratch my gaming interest in a new way that involves me being out in town and face to face with others, socializing and relaxing in a much more constructive way than being cooped up in my apartment. I'm very eager to see where this takes me in future.

Tomorrow, I continue the fight against YouTube! 😄 

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3 hours ago, ElectroNugget said:

DAY 20:

Well today was another weird day haha. My plan to fire up my YouTube blocker worked, but I overslept again and ended up spending a lot of time watching YouTube on my phone... So I'm starting to think I need to categorize this as a media addiction... I continue to watch loads of media even when I know the consequences are undesirable. As a result, I didn't get any studying done today between getting up late, going to my first shift at the boardgame cafe, and generally loafing around watching random YouTube stuff.

So I need a blocker for my phone. I've downloaded one this evening and I'm going to set it to block Youtube for the rest of the week.

While this has been frustrating, I guess it's good to have all this free time right now to 'burn' because it's really highlighting the magnitude of my problems with games/internet/media consumption. They seem to be a set of habits that conspire to devour my time and which will expand to fill the spaces left by the other habits if I give them up (in this case, my media consumption has skyrocketed to compensate for the time now free from videogames). This is a really serious battle. But I've won it before with videogames and I can win it now with media.

In other news, my first shift at the boardgame cafe was awesome! I met a lot of really nice people, and generally had a great time introducing others to new boardgames. It's a great fit for me because I can scratch my gaming interest in a new way that involves me being out in town and face to face with others, socializing and relaxing in a much more constructive way than being cooped up in my apartment. I'm very eager to see where this takes me in future.

Tomorrow, I continue the fight against YouTube! 😄 

Have you tried re-routing your addiction paths instead of just blocking them all? I know this sounds weird, but I've been writing down instances where I'd reach for my phone to watch porn. I study those instances and replace them with something. So when I go to bed I usually grab my phone to read or watcha  video, but get frustrated and watch porn.

I recognized that I just want to read a little. So I read a book and no longer watch my phone at night and removed the entire media and porn habit at night.

Maybe you could do this and study when you generally go to watch media and just train yourself differently instead of being so authoritative. It could be less exhausting and more rewarding in ways. 

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7 hours ago, ElectroNugget said:

DAY 20:

Well today was another weird day haha. My plan to fire up my YouTube blocker worked, but I overslept again and ended up spending a lot of time watching YouTube on my phone... So I'm starting to think I need to categorize this as a media addiction... I continue to watch loads of media even when I know the consequences are undesirable. As a result, I didn't get any studying done today between getting up late, going to my first shift at the boardgame cafe, and generally loafing around watching random YouTube stuff.

So I need a blocker for my phone. I've downloaded one this evening and I'm going to set it to block Youtube for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow, I continue the fight against YouTube! 😄 

I managed to uninstall the YT app from my phone and that did the trick for me. I can still use my regular Internet browsers to access the site, but it's much more time demanding.

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@BooksandTrees I take your point. I think for me it's just really hard to picture controlling this without at least eliminating it for a while. I know I'll need to replace it with something else either way I go about it, but as long as I even remotely have the option to pick up my phone and look at YouTube, it's difficult to stop and do something else. I had the same problem with games... It really only got easier for me when I completely removed all possibility of playing from my environment, then I HAD to deal with it.

@Ikar I just uninstalled YouTube on my phone and blocked the website during working hours. Was very upset when I had to go to the toilet and couldn't watch videos! 😄 I guess I will learn with time.

I've decided to track more habits here as I've had some other things going on in the background! I'll have a count at the start of every entry like I did for my game detox.

[ GameQuitters : 21 // Meditate : 10 // PornFree : 4 // NoFap : 4 ]

Yay! Three weeks clean of games today! To be honest, it hasn't been anywhere near as hard as it was the first time. But I've also had so much less to tempt me this time around. Now my problem is media! Nonetheless, it is really nice to feel like staying away from videogames is less of a challenge for me now. I guess I have changed a bit since my last detox. 🙂

Today, despite what I've said the past few days, I STILL managed to wake up late and burn like, 2-3 hours watching YouTube during a prolonged morning and chores routine, rather than getting straight to studying. That said, I took some more steps to tidy up my phone, which now has a blocker for all the time wasting websites during working hours. The nice thing is it's scheduled! So I don't even need to start it. I'm going to find something similar for my PC I think. I know it seems a bit authoratative or extreme, but looking at this graphic from Cold Turkey Blocker today was very sobering:

1613975897_TIMEUSED.PNG.861dce8e5a109560e750a078d881528f.PNG

Some of the days in the past month I spent upwards of 10 HOURS ON YOUTUBE. WHAT THE HELL! I mean, I've been watching long-form videos like debates and stuff, but still. 10hrs is a ridiculous amount of time to burn every day watching what is essentially online television. And this is just tracking my PC time! I also use my phone in bed. 😰 Imagine what I could have accomplished in my exams if I'd spent even half of those red bars in December on studying! 😡 Truly horrifying.

This really made it clear to me that this has to stop. So, blockers are going on schedule every day now. Right now they're limited to working hours, but if need be I'll ramp them up later. I will not accept this for myself. There's so much more I could be doing with my life.

All that said, I did EVENTUALLY manage to start studying, got in a solid 6hrs today. Not the best time but good all things considered, I'm happy with that as I managed to finish summarizing my textbook for Software Engineering, and even started to enjoy it at the end. 🙂 Exam is on Thursday, so now I can actually go into tomorrow fairly relaxed. I'm still going to study of course, but I won't feel like I have to cram like mad thanks to today.

So yes, interesting day haha, if you read this, I appreciate your tenacity. See you folks tomorrow!

Edited by ElectroNugget
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[ GameQuitters : 22 // Meditate : 11 // PornFree : 5 // NoFap : 5 ]

Oh man, studied alll day. Feeling confident-ish I guess? 😄 Exam at 9AM tomorrow morning. Super tired and brain exploded right now, spinal fluid leaking from ears. Gonna go sleep. Cya tomorrow.

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Wish you luck John. Something I did during my academic stage when preparing for exams :

1) memorizing material while walking in the room. This gives you added blood circulation

2) not missing snack breaks. They are important not only for energy, but a break for your brain to process all memorized material

3) doing light exercise (like 10 quick pushups) 

Edited by Amphibian220
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@Amphibian220 Thanks for the tips! Luckily I won't need them for a few months but I'll remember them come next exam season. 😄 

[ GameQuitters : 23 // Meditate : 12 // PornFree : 6 // NoFap : 6 ]

Another short update today because I am beyond exhausted. 

I got a 12! The highest grade possible. I'm super happy! 😁 Despite the struggles I seem to have begun to figure out how to study properly and make this work. Feels like a big victory. I could never have managed to put in the hours that I did without quitting games and the support and feedback from everyone here. This is literally changing my life, so thank you all!

That said, I came home and went to sleep immediately, and have just been up for a while to eat, and now I'm going back to bed again haha. Everything hurts. XD I really pushed myself and it paid off, time to go into a sleep coma for 24hrs. See you on the other side!

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[ GameQuitters : 24 // Meditate : 13 // PornFree : 0 // NoFap : 0 ]

Haha, so after a lot of sleep, I got my mark for Discrete Maths today and sadly it seems I just barely failed. 😞 It's a bummer, BUT I am trying to see this in a good light. Maths was the first subject I studied for during the holidays when I hadn't really figured out how to do it properly, and it's by far the subject I paid the least attention to this semester. So a low mark is only fair. I have to resit the exam in March, and rather than being sad about it I want to frame this as an opportunity to really master the subject and aim to get a great score in my next test, rather than settling for 'just passing' as some of my fellow students have.

It does mean I will have a lot on my plate next month, starting 4 subjects and having to study maths on the side as well, but with any luck the subjects will start off a little slow. That means I must make the most of the next few weeks to write some mock exams for maths, and solve a lot of problems. My feeling is that I'm pretty comfortable with the overall theory of maths after my studies, but I just didn't practice enough problem solving (I ran out of time before the exam). Now I have some time to get the practice in, it's critical I spend February well.

In other news, I spent today lazing around, sleeping, being super tired and bored, and so I relapsed on my porn streak which sucks. But I am trying to learn from that as well... I've had a fairly easy time not looking at porn when the pressure was on during the exam period. And now suddenly the pressure is off and I relapse almost instantly. So being bored, alone at home with nothing better to do is definitely an environment where I'm very vulnerable to relapse. I need to come up with some kind of tactic to manage this.

Either way, exam season is over! Some exams went better than others, but I learned and grew a hell of a lot, and I intend to only get better this semester. 🙂 I'm also feeling a lot more like myself today after sleeping a lot, so overall feeling positive. This weekend, time to make an action plan for the coming month!

 

Edit: It's quite interesting to look back on my journal this month, as I have an entry on the 5th of January where I was convinced Discrete Maths just wasn't for me, to the point that I was doubting my whole choice of studies. And yet now, despite failing my first DM exam attempt, I can happily say that I understand and even enjoy the topic, even if I'm not the best at it yet. It's funny what you can change if you just trust yourself, apply some elbow grease and learn.

Edited by ElectroNugget
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[ GameQuitters : 25 // Meditate : 14 // PornFree : 1 // NoFap : 1 ]

So yesterday evening I decided to try blocking all the time-wasting websites for the weekend just to see what would happen. YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Netflix, etc. I can't access them on my phone or my PC until early Monday morning.

As a result today was... interesting. 😄 I have spent the whole day in a state of mild boredom/discomfort, feeling a little aimless. The nice thing is that it actually forced me to go out to town just so I'd have something to do. I also played a solo board game for a while, which feels a bit like cheating and is probably not something I want to encourage. That said, all things considered I guess it's OK for today.

Even without access to online media I managed to dig up some Rick and Morty episodes on an external hard-drive and have them running in the background while I do stuff. So that was very illuminating. I've become soooo used to having this constant white noise of entertainment in the background, it doesn't even seem to matter that much if it's new or even entertaining. This is worrisome and I think I'll need to lean into this ban and see where it takes me. I saw on @Southern Northerner's diary that he was planning on making his environment as boring as possible, I think that might be a good tactic to follow. If there's nothing more interesting to do than studying this semester, I should get a lot of studying done right? 😄 

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7 hours ago, ElectroNugget said:

[ GameQuitters : 25 // Meditate : 14 // PornFree : 1 // NoFap : 1 ]

So yesterday evening I decided to try blocking all the time-wasting websites for the weekend just to see what would happen. YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Netflix, etc. I can't access them on my phone or my PC until early Monday morning.

As a result today was... interesting. 😄 I have spent the whole day in a state of mild boredom/discomfort, feeling a little aimless. The nice thing is that it actually forced me to go out to town just so I'd have something to do. I also played a solo board game for a while, which feels a bit like cheating and is probably not something I want to encourage. That said, all things considered I guess it's OK for today.

Even without access to online media I managed to dig up some Rick and Morty episodes on an external hard-drive and have them running in the background while I do stuff. So that was very illuminating. I've become soooo used to having this constant white noise of entertainment in the background, it doesn't even seem to matter that much if it's new or even entertaining. This is worrisome and I think I'll need to lean into this ban and see where it takes me. I saw on @Southern Northerner's diary that he was planning on making his environment as boring as possible, I think that might be a good tactic to follow. If there's nothing more interesting to do than studying this semester, I should get a lot of studying done right? 😄 

I think it's important to note that what we consider boring now won't necessarily always be boring to us. We are so used to living these highly stimulated lives that anything less seems boring. Yet that is how many people before us used to live. It's hard to measure the overall happiness of people in the past vs people of the present but I do believe the increase we see in things such as suicide rates could point to people being more content with their lives back before the modern world.

Also congratulations on getting through your day. Perhaps you could find an interesting book to help fill in the time? I've been reading Norman Doidge's "The Brain that Changes Itself", it's been great so far, highly recommended to anyone that wants to learn more about our brains and how we could change them.

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17 hours ago, ElectroNugget said:

[ GameQuitters : 25 // Meditate : 14 // PornFree : 1 // NoFap : 1 ]

So yesterday evening I decided to try blocking all the time-wasting websites for the weekend just to see what would happen. YouTube, Reddit, Facebook, Netflix, etc. I can't access them on my phone or my PC until early Monday morning.

As a result today was... interesting. 😄 I have spent the whole day in a state of mild boredom/discomfort, feeling a little aimless. The nice thing is that it actually forced me to go out to town just so I'd have something to do. I also played a solo board game for a while, which feels a bit like cheating and is probably not something I want to encourage. That said, all things considered I guess it's OK for today.

Even without access to online media I managed to dig up some Rick and Morty episodes on an external hard-drive and have them running in the background while I do stuff. So that was very illuminating. I've become soooo used to having this constant white noise of entertainment in the background, it doesn't even seem to matter that much if it's new or even entertaining. This is worrisome and I think I'll need to lean into this ban and see where it takes me. I saw on @Southern Northerner's diary that he was planning on making his environment as boring as possible, I think that might be a good tactic to follow. If there's nothing more interesting to do than studying this semester, I should get a lot of studying done right? 😄 

Hey, congrats on this attempt! I personally felt a LOT of boredom after blocking social media, some news websites and YouTube. Starting to practice new stuff when this boredom hits helped a lot. But I still use my phone too much, I guess.

Which app are you using to block things? Right now I'm using an app called "Blocksite" both in my PC and in my phone.

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@WhatAboutToday? I'm using a few apps. Cold Turkey Blocker for my PC is real great. I'm using Detoxify to block all porn on my android, and AppBlock to block other apps and websites on my android. Bit of a mix right now but it does the trick so far.

[ GameQuitters : 26 // Meditate : 15 // PornFree : 2 // NoFap : 2 ]

Short entry today as it's really late and I should go to bed.

Today my blocking continued. I definitely still burned a bit of time watching some media I had on my HDD, so next time I block I think I will avoid that. But I got more chores done and spent a good portion of the day setting up for my upcoming courses. Tomorrow I start Algorithms, so that's gonna be interesting. In the evening I had a friend over for dinner and played some board games with him. It's so much better to have people over than to play something online till 1 AM, and the only reason I reached out to make that happen was because I needed to! If I didn't ask friends over, I wouldn't have socialized at all this weekend. So, cutting off the internet, media, and games has made me seek face-to-face social experiences which I think is a very positive thing.

Overall I think this blocking attempt has been very successful and I might consider continuing it into the week, but now it's time to sleep!

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[ GameQuitters : 27 // Meditate : 16 // PornFree : 0 // NoFap : 0 ]

Man, looooong day. Being back at ITU with a whole load of new subjects, seeing people again, fresh start, yada yada. It was great, but I'm also completely exhausted after today. There hasn't been much downtime between my exams and now, and I really have been running on fumes a bit lately... So naturally ended up very tired by the end of the day.

That led to another relapse with the porn. It's insanely difficult to quit. Being tired seems to be like, my huge weakness. If I'm tired and around my electronics late at night, I have an almost Pavlovian response apparently. I'm still tracking overall clean days this month to try and at least wean myself down to a lower regularity if not going for a huge streak just yet. But I've been trying to quit since 2016 sooo... 😕

This got me thinking, there's a LOT I want to change this year and I wonder if I'm not trying to take on too much simultaneously. Just listing a few of the habits I'm trying to work on: study harder, go out for social stuff, exercise daily, drink enough water daily, try to eat healthier, meditate daily, quit porn, quit masturbating, quit social media, quit YouTube, try to improve my sleep, get into body-building eventually... etc. etc. Maybe I need to break these down into more manageable steps, or at least focus on one thing at a time. Right now I'd say quitting games, meditating and studying has been pretty successful as a sort of 'big trio' for this month, but I am struggling to do more than that right now.

I should probably also recognize the progress I've made this month despite what feels like failures in sleep and porn. I've studied harder than ever before, got good marks on 2/3 exams, quit gaming again and meditated on 27 days since December 29th, by far the most consistent I've ever been with that habit.

I guess I can ease off on a few things and maybe pick one or two to focus on in the coming weeks when meditating etc. is finally just a daily habit (it's already pretty close to being that anyways). Thoughts?

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