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DD 127.0.0.1


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Day 18

Having stress-related dreams again, waking up constantly and dreaming about the issues that are on my mind. This also means that my lack of running lately is really effecting me. I just need to focus on getting through my tasks in small bite-sized chunks rather than looking at the big picture and getting overwhelmed. A massive step for this will be getting my assignment in (draft due today), then allowing myself to go for a run outside of that. I think I will be back on track once I have done that, or at least feel a lot better about life.

I might pick up the 5 minute journal app again. I used to have that way back before I studied cyber security and ditched Google Play Services on my phone. Now I have it back because I don't have the time to maintain that aspect of my life, I might pick it up to help keep my mind clear and focused on gratitude. The biggest challenge from that app was forcing myself to find 3 things that I am grateful for. Once you get into the habit of forcing yourself to find positives, you start looking at it from every angle and seeing positivity in every aspect of day to day life.

Well, I really need to get on with today. It's not going to get on with itself!

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Day 19

So yesterday I was in a haze of being overwhelmed, so writing my journal completely slipped my mind. I am very overwhelmed with what is required of me for my studies, and I am not confident on how to tackle it. It has begun impacting my sleep and I can't relax during the day as I can't think of anything other than my assignment. I have booked some tutorials with some people to talk through it and submitted my draft to my instructor, so hopefully that will all help me relax. It primarily is coming from not doing as much of the course content as I should have this semester, so I don't have that technical foundation to draw from for some self-confidence. I will need  to complete this assignment early as a result, because when it comes to the day that it is due (Monday), I'll be so frozen from stress about it that I will not achieve anything. I would argue that I am not really achieving much towards it over the last day for the same reason, so I really need to get some traction towards it tonight.

I have discovered the 'Digital Wellbeing' setting on my phone, where I can set maximum time per app per day, which resets at midnight. It's a great concept, so I am very curious of how it implements it and how hard it is to get around its measures. It might do wonders for making me limit the time on my phone.

I really need to be disciplined on keeping running every day. I have reduced and removed a lot of my running to give more time for studying (which has not been effective), but what that has done has taken away my stress coping mechanism. I need to bring it back in, and see it as an investment of time into my mental wellbeing. I need to get more out of the remaining hours of my day, rather than trying to spend more hours on study/tasks.

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Day 20

Felt good to be back out running again. It's like meeting up with that friend you haven't seen for a year! I had a relatively good pace with it as well, taking into consideration the heat. As mentioned yesterday, I need to be disciplined to make sure that I work out every day in order to keep myself grounded and more relaxed about life. I am going to try and mix up my routine though, instead of trying to run everyday because I am so fixated on numbers and data, I really need to bring in a day of pool work and a day of weights. This might mean I run every second day and break it up with other training techniques, but it will probably do me well, especially with swimming.

I had a bit of a harsh reminder how important sleep is the last few days as well. When life gets a bit too much and I feel like I have too much to do, I tend to start cutting back on my sleep. This is one area where you cannot cut back, because it is going to throw your entire rhythm out, and I become overly lethargic for the remainder of the day and I achieve less than if I had a full nights sleep and lost 1-2 hours of work. Don't underestimate the power of tactical napping as well! Squeezing in half an hour here or there throughout the day rather than mindlessly scrolling could be the difference between feeling level headed and feeling like my world is collapsing on me.

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Day 25

Wow, how quickly one day becomes 5 days. I have had an incredibly productive period though, finishing up an assignment, doing a lot of work, and getting back out running. I took yesterday off from study to celebrate the assignment being finished, and ended up working remotely until midnight. Not ideal but at least I got a lot of work completed. I had to skip the run this morning though because I thought I was going to be too tired - but in hindsight I should have tried anyway.

I have been spending a lot of time reading/researching about van dwelling, due to watching a few YouTubers that live in their vans that they converted themselves. I really love the idea of this, particularly boondocking, and so it seems to have become my new hobby. I need to be careful thought that it is not the new time waster in my life and therefore not achieving anything with this digital detox. The digital wellbeing settings are going great on my phone, though I have had to amend the time permitted for my texting app so many times now because I use it heavily for work sometimes. I need to either work out a way to lock out me changing the time permitted in the app or work out another way that I can control the use of this.

Only 3 more days until I start reflecting on the start of this journal. Wow it does not feel like I just started. The great thing is I have filled this time with productive tasks (mostly), which is the whole point of it. I just need to be careful of what topics I choose as 'productive' and not as time wasting. There are naturally going to be some empty days that I will not be able to reflect on (like the last 5 days for example), but there should be plenty of other ones that will still make it worthwhile.

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I'm also interesting in camping and RV living but it became an intellectualization/procrastination research-binge with no end-state or final product in mind until - I booked a campground for a specific date and time and committed to going.

While buying and converting a van is too time consuming to test -

You can easily experiment with boondocking. I think if you set a precise date and place for when you are going to do the deed and commit to it, then your research becomes superfocused. Then, you can decide after that experience if you really like it or not.

Marking a date on the calendar is the benchmark and differentiates between something real or just mental masturbation.

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On 9/30/2020 at 1:42 AM, Bird By Bird said:

I'm also interesting in camping and RV living but it became an intellectualization/procrastination research-binge with no end-state or final product in mind until - I booked a campground for a specific date and time and committed to going.

While buying and converting a van is too time consuming to test -

You can easily experiment with boondocking. I think if you set a precise date and place for when you are going to do the deed and commit to it, then your research becomes superfocused. Then, you can decide after that experience if you really like it or not.

Marking a date on the calendar is the benchmark and differentiates between something real or just mental masturbation.

 

This is a really good point @Bird By Bird , and I could use that as a way to make sure it doesn't turn into wasting time. I think the positive outcome right now is that I saw a design I'm pretty much set on, so now I am not interested in seeing any more van builds. Before I was torn between a design purely for me that is compact as possible, and a design that my wife could also use. I know that the smaller design is one I really wanted but can't justify just making it for me if my wife wanted to come to or I spend so much time on it, only to have to need something else for the both of us. But, by chance I saw a really good design on Reddit, saved it to my phone, and I am pretty much set on that now. I can't really do anything else until I get my hands on a van and know the exact dimensions, and I can't do that until I finish the move at the end of the year. So thankfully it all has clamps on it for now.

 

Day 28

Pretty happy I am up to day 28 already. I am starting to see a change in how I go about my business and my friends, as I have totally cut down on my texting to them and therefore it has not encouraged them to be in constant contact with me all day. It also encourages phone conversations a lot more, which makes it harder to misinterpret tone and video meetings bring in body language as well. Unfortunately I have not journalled as frequently as I have wanted to, but it has not been because a lack of interest, but more trying to jam in more productivity and not wanting to interrupt my flow. Back when I used a set time and a set length and a set format for my previous journal, it felt like it became a chore, but at least with a bit of flexibility here I am still enthusiastic about it. Plus if Penn Juliette swears by it, who is one of the smartest guys on the planet, then it must be good.

Back out running longer distances again too. I had cut down my running for a few months as I got over some injuries and was balancing quite a lot of other tasks I was trying to complete, but once you have run as much as I do, I feel like I have cabin fever all the time if I am not out there running. So that feeling has gone for now and I have the usual fatigued legs and an increased level of relaxation. I am hoping I can get a marathon in this weekend, I have accidentally committed myself to 3 marathons over the next two months, so I need to try and get out there and get one back under my belt. I don't think I have done one for about 4 months. Will depend on how much study I can get done and if this travel I want to go on gets approved.

So today is the first day of reflection! Let's see what I was up to four weeks ago -

On 9/5/2020 at 6:00 PM, giblets said:

Day 1

Guess who is back, back again. I've been lurking on the forums for the better portion of the last two years, commenting now and again when I thought I had value to add to other people's process, but it's time to make another journal. My previous journal was such a success to give up games, and really gave my personal development a huge boost. Now though, I want to go for a significant digital detox (DD) on myself (127.0.0.1). I am becoming very self conscious about the amount of time I spend on my phone around my kids, and I don't want to set that example for them. I was going to buy a LightPhone or a feature phone to swap to instead of a smartphone to help limit my usage, but neither of them are an option. So, I need to be held accountable. So here we are. It's a bit ironic that I am doing a digital detox journal on my computer, but I find it much quicker to type, and by making smaller shorter entries when I feel urges to mindlessly surf the web or excessively check the news or send people random texts, then I will post here instead. Listening to Penn Julliette's podcast (Penn's Sunday School), he mentioned he has journalled every single day with about 4-5 missed days for over 10 years. I always feel sharper and more relaxed (read: less anxiety) when I journal, but it continues to fail to be part of my daily routine. I think it has been about 70 days since I have journalled properly. I figured this should help keep me accountable, and help me stay grounded by reading how everyone else is going.

I have ordered a new phone as my current one is starting to show issues (it is 3 years old - I was going for 5 years), but when it arrives the first app I want to install is one of those screen monitoring apps to give me alerts or restrictions from spending too much time on it.

The other thing as mentioned briefly above is I want to text people less. I suffer huge anxiety spells when people don't respond to my texts. I can't control what they do when they get my texts or how they respond to it, but I can control how many texts I send out, to make them more powerful or worth while, or force myself to call people to discuss things instead, that way I can't misinterpret tone or language.

So here we go!

So I haven't had many anxiety issues since this post, which is a bonus. I am much better in recognising when anxiety hits and how to manage it rather than fight with it, which is a massive improvement to my quality of life compared to 3-4 years ago. I have come to the conclusion that the majority of people in the world suffer anxiety but are either not aware of it or not willing to admit to it. You can see it if you know what you are looking for.

The new phone has been fantastic, it was a big upgrade from my previous one, and only cost $277. Always happy when I get a bargain. I have not found a screen monitoring app, but I have been using the digital wellbeing settings on it to show alerts and monitor my use. It has been really effective for things such as YouTube and internet browsing, but not so much with texting apps. Initially it did help me cut down on the amount of time on texting and reading texts from other people, but what I realised is how much I actually use them for work, so it came near the end of the working day and the apps would be paused, which was quite inconvenient. I have extended the timings on those apps to allow me to use them more, but I need to find a comfortable medium that I feel ok with, rather than picking an arbitrary number or giving it unlimited time. Might be easier during days off (which are not many right now)

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Day 30

Two big points to talk about today, one of them is related to why I missed my journalling yesterday.

Turns out I am still allergic to gluten. It's that weird human nature, where we think "I feel amazing, maybe I am not allergic or sick anymore" while still taking the medication or avoiding whatever it is we don't like. And then we 'allow' ourselves to stop taking medication or to taste the food we wanted, and BAM it all comes rushing back. It can be extended to gaming too - we think we are doing great after 90 days and so so many people say to themselves "I've done 90 days, I'll reward myself with some casual gaming". Next thing you know they are back to square one. It's why gaming won't work for us, or at least the 'us' being who are on the forums. Anyway, I ate something on Friday that had gluten in it, either the sushi I had for lunch or the steak for dinner, or at least was cross contaminated with gluten. Boy oh boy did I pay for it. Someone asked me yesterday to try and describe the feeling, and it's hard, it's like having a hangover but way worse. Your body aches, there is no energy, stomach is churning because you have the "I'm hungry but don't want to eat" feeling. I ended up falling asleep, still in my clothes, while laying at the end of my bed talking to my wife. I woke up at about 0130, in the same position, but all the lights off and my family in bed. I regret that, another opportunity with my family wasted. This was the whole reason I gave up gaming and wanted to do a digital detox in the first place.

The second point is I really need to make more friends. This is completely on me, as I never put any energy into making or keeping relationships for the last 30 years, but I am definitely reaping the rewards of that now by only having 2 good friends. It makes it harder because I rely upon them almost solely for my social energy, which makes me come across as overpowering or too much sometimes. I really have no idea where to start for making new ones at my age, several times I have thought about finding people online to write to, as writing like journalling really clears the mind, but I don't think many people do that anymore, or you risk being catfished. I tried writing to a few people on here to help them through their journeys but that goes cold relatively fast (the old group that was here when I joined is long gone). I'll have to do some more thinking about this one, as it is definitely something I need to solve.

Reflection

On 9/7/2020 at 8:05 PM, giblets said:

Day 3

This detox is going to be a lot harder than I thought! Ok, at least I am on the path and aware that I need to change, but the actual effort to make it change will require more effort than what it felt like to give up games. The difference is I just changed my environment when I got the cravings, but that is not possible with your phone. No matter how great I'll fight some urges when I am paying attention to it, subconsciously I will reach for the phone and waste time, then realise what I am doing and stop. Rinse repeat. Maybe with a different job I could leave my phones behind, but while I need  to stay contactable the itch is going to be there as I can feel it in my pocket. I have had great results from leaving them in a central place in the office/house, and then only coming back to it if I get a call or message. I am going to try to use my smartwatch again to read/dismiss notifications, so then I shouldn't need to look at it very much.

RescueTime indicates I had 6.5 hours of screen time today, including working on my laptop. That's not too bad, though most of it was spent on e-mail. I will never forget a quote I heard on a podcast - "your inbox is a to-do list that anyone can write on". I used to only have my inbox open in the mornings so then I could conduct deep work in the afternoon, I think I might have to try doing that again and see if I can see/feel a difference.

Back running today after hurting my ankle. It is still not full recovered, so not confident I can get another marathon in this weekend, but I will at least try to get a half marathon. I hate that my distances are down, but I am juggling so many concurrent activities right now that it is a necessary sacrifice. It is also forcing me to train better in the time that I have rather than phoning it in, which is timely as there is a race coming up that I would really like to do well in, so it is forcing me to pay close attention to my pace.

Don't forget to back up your computers!

So I have dropped RescueTime since this post. I was on the free trial to see if it was what I was after, but I found it not value adding to my life. It was good to see the screen time that I had, but having to log in every time on my computer was annoying, and resulted in me not using it a lot, which distorted the data. If there was a way for it to start automatically then maybe we would have a different story. Never mind, I am using the Digital Wellbeing app on my phone for now, which is really controlling my use of that very effectively (with the exception of texting). I have tried to combat my texting or messaging by not allowing myself to have conversations that way. If I need to respond to a question or ask a very short question that can be responded with one word, then I text. If it requires anything else, I make myself call them. This does a number of things, a) it stops me being on my phone so much, b) stops me being overbearing to the few people I talk to, c) builds the bonds between people that I am trying to work towards, and d) means you can't misinterpret things by not getting the attached tone to conversations. If people can't take your call because they are busy, then they can't give you attention via a message either.

I am back running fully after the ankle roll, that was the last time I have injured it and I am making sure I strap it almost every day (maybe only 1-2 days a week it is not strapped). While I am not back up to huge distances like I want to be, as seen in the day 3 post, I am back out there consistently. Doing a minimum of 10km a week day, and 21km on weekends. I need to ramp it up to doing 3 marathons - I have inadvertently committed to 3 separate ones that I need to complete by november. The race that I am referring to though, I don't think I am going to be able to make it due to work. I am using my watch settings to overcome that, by setting a desired pace on my watch and trying to beat it.

I did back up my computers! I haven't done it yet this month, but don't forget people!

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Day 35

So I had a really interesting conversation with a mate about the whole loneliness concept, which was very thought provoking. We talked about how I was feeling quite lonely, but it quickly went down the path of a lot of people at our age tend to spend less time with friends or have reduced to 2-3 people that they are really close to. It's the concept of time - the older you get the more you become cognisant of how much time you have, and what you want to achieve with it. When we were younger, we thought we could do everything and had time to spend with everyone, going wherever we liked and not being bound by a strict schedule. But, the older you get, the more responsibilities you have, the more you realise that you don't have those spare few hours to sit at a bar and talk to randoms or just watch the day go by with your mates. So you start to cut those down. You might find you only have one or two spare afternoons outside of work, study, exercise, family, so you can only catch up with people who have a similar schedule. Next thing you know, you have lost touch with those people you considered within your group, but were really fringe players and you didn't prioritise time with them, so they dropped off and did their own thing, the phone calls and texts became fewer and further between.

Of course this may not be accurate for all people. Vanlifers for example, would have a lot less reduced responsibility of trying to clean or maintain a home (though might have the added burden of having to find a new location to stay). It at least seems scarily accurate for me, after all that's why I am back here on this digital detox, because there is too much I want to do and I feel like I am constantly out of time. I think even if I had a bigger friend circle, I wouldn't be able to fit them in, so I would be in the same position that I am in now. It might be an easy comparison to when you give up games and you confuse the feelings of cravings to those of nostalgia. It's fine to have nostalgia, as long as you know what it is and you appreciate it for what it is. Here it is ok that my friends circle is smaller and the contact is often few and far between, as long as when the interaction comes that it is intentional and we are present. Deliberate. Mindful.

 

On 9/12/2020 at 8:44 AM, giblets said:

Day 8

So I missed a few days since I went out camping, but I still really liked my progress, as there was no phone coverage where I was staying. It was great to really spend more time with my family, and I took a "mental health" day by going fishing for half a day as well. It was amazing, I have come back feeling refreshed.

I have also changed a few things which I think has improved my productivity. I have swapped out using my phone late at night and early in the morning to wake up/wind down with my kindle. I have been reading Born to Run which is not something that I usually read (instead I focus on personal development and research essays) but it has been great to fall asleep to and to get my mind kicking first thing in the morning rather than mindlessly scroll. I have been combining it with drinking electrolytes just before bed and as soon as I get up, and I definitely feel a lot less sluggish, though I wonder what it does for my teeth. I had a dentist appointment last year where they pointed out the amount of acidic sports drinks I had been drinking was wearing away the enamel on my teeth. This is a different brand and isn't gels, which has that going for it, but I am sure there would still be somewhat of a similar impact.

I am starting to feel the "productive side" waking up in me much like when I gave up games so long ago. I enjoyed tracking my hours and keeping myself productive back then but it did drop off because it was a bit of work to maintain on a daily basis. I have tried RescueTime but it isn't as seamless as i thought so I don't think it is really helping much at all. One thing I have come to the realisation over the last few weeks is I need to start accepting a "good" solution rather  than the "perfect" solution in order to use that extra time for other things. I picked this up from the The Producitivity Show, where they talk about paying for gardeners etc as a solution to free up time for something you value more. For me, I always like to tweak the software on my phone and my computer to make it perfect, but I would spend way too many hours tweaking it and then keeping it tweaked. Now I am going to accept a state where I can do what I need to and spend my time on other projects or my family.

Hope everyone else is having a cracker weekend!

I have missed a few days again here, so I think it is going to be a much more regular occurrence than I like. I am curious how Penn Juliette maintains his consistency, he either needs to have an ultra portable laptop that he takes everywhere to journal in between his other commitments, or he does it via some other medium, such as a voice recording or a video blog. I have tried all of those, but I continue to find the most effective being writing everything down. I am going to have to get better at accepting that I am not going to achieve a post every day, but also make it a higher and higher priority to make the gaps smaller.

Unfortunately the Kindle trick was relatively short lived and only lasted a few days around the 8 day mark. I do need to bring it back. That's not saying the phone has wrestled its position again in wasting time, which I don't feel it has thanks to Digital Wellbeing, but I think I have reduced the time of winding down or waking up and just try to get straight out of bed in the morning or go straight to sleep at night. It's more of a shift towards "do I really need this extra time to wake up/wind down?" Right now the answer is no, but it may come back in the future, depending my stress levels.

I am still drinking a lot of electrolytes, I like my routine of having one as I wake up and just before I go to bed. I think it is doing wonders for how dehydrated, and therefore how moody, I am. After having a discussion with a dentist, I think one of the main problems I was having with my teeth is that I always drank filtered water rather than water out of the tap which has added fluoride (depends where you live). So I have swapped back to that for now while still maintaining the electrolytes, so will see how that goes.

I do like the "good" solution rather than the "perfect" solution mindset, though I do have to keep practicing it sometimes. I will be using an app or planning something and think "but this is not the perfect solution" and look for the one that would be perfect, but require a considerable extra amount of hours to have it ready. I have to force myself to stop and think about it and remind myself that I need to accept that a good solution will work, and will free up more time to do other things. An example of this is my dream of haveing a converted camping mini van. This is going to take months if not years to get the solution that I want, so I need to settle on a good solution to mean that I can have it  finished earlier and take it out to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I have decided on a design anyway, I just need to find a van for it. All the second hand prices seem quite inflated right now due to COVID and the supply chains drying up and/or people having less money for new ones. I just need to be patient.

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Day 36

So I let my discipline slip with getting to bed on time, which means I couldn't motivate myself to run this morning. I am always annoyed with myself on days that I don't run in the morning, because it means I have something in the back of my mind all day that I want to achieve instead of finishing work and doing something with my family straight away (or study). It also means the day is a lot hotter in the afternoon rather than in the morning. The silver lining though is I generally perform better in the afternoon than in the morning and can get a better pace. I just need to get back to being disciplined about my bed time, I have let it slip over the last two weeks because of some personal issues. Time to wrestle that back.

On 9/13/2020 at 9:47 PM, giblets said:

Day 9

So facebook is gone, or at least from my phone. Looking forward to one less reason to look at my phone.

Have been spending a lot of time today thinking about how I seem to try and do so many different things at an ok level, rather than only choosing one or two things and doing them at a great level. It has been a trait through my whole life, maybe it's a bit of ADHD, maybe it's a bit of being too scared to commit to something too deeply, maybe it's a part of thinking I am invulnerable and can do everything. Well I really don't feel invulnerable after my 2019-2020, and as a result I seem to not have an area of expertise or hobby/task that I am really good at.

Food for thought. Today went well, I feel more productive than yesterday, and I am hoping to up the ante tomorrow and become even more productive. I don't like going into full 100% productivity mode because it feels like I wear out and become the closest to playing games or wasting time, but at the moment I feel like I don't have any other option with the amount I need to achieve in shorter and shorter timelines.

Bit of a quiet post today, I think I left my journalling far too late so I feel very tired and lack motivation as a result. I will try to aim for an earlier post tomorrow.

Well, Facebook is back on my phone. I think it only lasted a few days not being there. I am trialling it with Digital Wellbeing, which is proving really effective. It makes you ask yourself "is this worth some of my wellbeing time to see/read this?" Generally if I am asking myself that question, the answer already is no. I really need to try and work out a way to lock in the quotas though, as a few times I have adjusted them for my chat apps, and I would like to not let my brain think it could do that for something like the browser or reddit or facebook. Then it will lose its effectiveness.

I don't have an answer still on why I want to always try different/new things rather than stick to one or two things, I think maybe that is a better way to look at it. Rather than being sketchy and not willing to commit to deeply doing a few tasks, I am always on the look out to try new things and expand my horizons. I know a few friends have commented in the past how impressed they are with my willingness to try new things and get out of my comfort zone, I need to capitalise on that.

My productivity is still relatively high, I would like it to be more intense and achieve more, but then I might flame out like I mentioned on day 9. As long as I am not wasting time, and therefore the whole point of this process, then it is a success.

Quiet post again today four weeks on - I had a big post yesterday and have been so occupied with work and family that I don't really have much to say. I am tired and lack motivation due to not getting to bed on time, so I have not run this morning. Though I have finished my journal instead, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

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Day 38

So I had another down day yesterday. It was made quite difficult through my running not going very well lately (I have swapped shoes to try and solve that), so from the morning I felt a little down, which rolled into my kids being absolutely painful, which rolled into feeling overwhelmed by how much stuff we have in our house, then finished off with trying to build some step things for my kids to help in the kitchen, but I could not get the right angles and I am so not good at that stuff, so I split wood and had screws poking out everywhere and I got so frustrated. So after dinner I just sat on the couch and stared at the wall about a lost day. Time is my only finite resource and I can't afford to waste them - especially when everything is taking away from my study right now, and I have a massive assignment due in a month that is worth half of my grade. So when I was sitting on the couch staring at the wall I just could not bring myself to write in the journal. I am really tempted to ask Penn Juliette on how he forced himself to journal every single day, but I am sure I would get some kind of canned response, as I am sure he gets asked that quite a lot.

On 9/15/2020 at 8:32 PM, giblets said:

Day 11

Feeling quite horrid today. I woke up in the middle of the night with crazy bowel pains. It kept me up for a few hours. I didn't get on my phone though, which is good, and worked through a chapter and a half of a book on my kindle. This meant I was very sluggish today, didn't get my run in because I wanted to study, but then felt too poor from the nights sleep to even study, so just wasted time. It is quite clear  that the mental discipline or defense against our compulsions is at its lowest when I am tired or when I am feeling poor.

I have so many deadlines right now that I am trying really hard  to not get overwhelmed. As soon as I get overwhelmed I will feel the urge to drop all of them and not work towards any of them. I need to focus on breaking them down to bite sized chunks and make any progress - no matter how small - towards them.

Ahh I remember that day. That was quite a horrid day. I still don't know what the cause was, I should probably go see the doctor about my bowel problems. I thought the majority of it was gluten related but it quite obviously isn't (or there is something else that I am allergic to as well). I have yet to have a decent run since May and I just had another poor productivity day yesterday. This is why we want to reflect on previous posts, because if there is a repeating theme then something seriously needs to be changed, but here I am not really sure what to change. I have got a pseudo new approach to not get overwhelmed by deadlines, and that is to submit things at least a day early, that seems to be working so far. But as for productivity and health - no changes in this aspect. Maybe a really good long run will make me feel better about life? Just need to jam that in somewhere...

I have been contemplating also bringing old quote from my previous journal as well to start reflecting on those. I just need to decide when to start bringing them in, maybe on the days that I do not have any journal entries in here to reflect on? Or possibly, once I have done 90 days, I could start bringing them in then to see how I am feeling versus going through the original detox, or how I was feeling after it.

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Day 43

Been a very challenging week. It feels like that is the opening line on the majority of my journals. Are the days actually normal, but I am just seeing them more and more challenging? A deeper underlying issue? Or am I again trying to do too much?

I am feeling better about the loneliness part, or possibly it might be because I have kept myself so occupied that I haven't sat down and thought about it in detail for a while. I feel a lot better with the big discussion with my friend last week about it, and I feel a lot less like this problem is unique to me because of life choices, and more towards something everybody feels when they are middle aged, balancing family and a career and a personal life. I don't think COVID has had any impact on it because it hasn't changed my routine very much - it did initially when the world was clamping down but it feels like we are back to normal - or whatever the new 'normal' is.

I haven't had great internet connectivity this week which has contributed to my poor streak of journalling. In these situations I need to go back to my previous journal format, so at least I am giving my brain an opportunity to decompress and reflect rather than attempting to go at a million miles an hour all day every day.

Seeing things for what they really are - a waste of time - is coming along nicely in this detox. I still think about endless scrolling or pointless video watching, and heck even start to, but it doesn't last more than a few minutes until I think it is pointless and move on. There are so many distractions in life that it makes me wonder how we achieve anything at all as a society - it takes some serious discipline to stay focused and on the path, and I can only see it getting worse. Definitely something I need to track for my kids.

On 9/19/2020 at 2:10 PM, giblets said:

Day 15

Bit of a sluggish start to the day today. Last night was fantastic though, dusted off the pomodoro timer and smashed out quite a lot of study. I managed to go from 77 words to 600 words towards my assignment, which is great progress. I need to get to 2000 words by Monday. I am so far behind on my reading for my study (like 7 weeks or so) because of escapism really... trying to start something is the hardest task I feel like I have. Once I have started something, however, it is easy from there. It blows my mind that we can create so many barriers for ourselves (whether that is distractions, escapism or excuses) that will prevent us from starting stuff, but all that does is make the situation worse! Just get on with it dammit!

Bit of a random scribble today, but it at least brought my motivation back and I should get on with this assignment.

The pomodoro method is such a breakthrough for me. Not only does it help me achieve quite a lot, but it removes all the distractions so you can get into the flow. After being in the flow for a few hours it always feels like I have achieved so much and are much more happier with life.

Seems fitting that I was talking about trying to get an assignment in 4 weeks ago, as I just got the results today. I am happy with the results, could have been better but could have been a lot worse. Noting how much I am limited with the time I can dedicate to it, it is a good outcome. Now onto the next one, the final assignment for the year is due in two weeks. Time to knuckle down and get on with that one. The barriers are here again, and sometimes it takes me being backed into a corner to really get on with something - this should not have to be a thing.

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Day 48

Connectivity has been problematic to getting onto the forums, and the routine has not set in enough yet for me to instinctively reach for an offline version instead. I think I have mentioned this a few times before so it's embarassing that I still have not rectified it. I used to journal as soon as I woke up in the mornings, but now I use that time to run, so there is no set other time during the day which I put aside for writing. Maybe it could be a lunch time thing? Go have a sandwich and then retire to the laptop to type away my mind pretzels. I think I might have suggested that a few times in the past, complete with "maybe make smaller more frequent entries throughout the day". Both ideas I think would work well if I had a different job, but this one is quite fluid. I need to keep on keeping on.

While the DD is going well, the push to refocus to my study has not. I still am dragging my feet on the final assignment. I really need to get started today. As soon as I sit down and start reading or typing, my brain thinks of 30,000 other things I should be doing instead. While I can sit through those, it means I am not focused for a long time. I think my discipline with the pomodoro or staying put has gone back down again. Today's the day to get it recaptured.

On 9/24/2020 at 8:53 PM, giblets said:

Day 20

Felt good to be back out running again. It's like meeting up with that friend you haven't seen for a year! I had a relatively good pace with it as well, taking into consideration the heat. As mentioned yesterday, I need to be disciplined to make sure that I work out every day in order to keep myself grounded and more relaxed about life. I am going to try and mix up my routine though, instead of trying to run everyday because I am so fixated on numbers and data, I really need to bring in a day of pool work and a day of weights. This might mean I run every second day and break it up with other training techniques, but it will probably do me well, especially with swimming.

I had a bit of a harsh reminder how important sleep is the last few days as well. When life gets a bit too much and I feel like I have too much to do, I tend to start cutting back on my sleep. This is one area where you cannot cut back, because it is going to throw your entire rhythm out, and I become overly lethargic for the remainder of the day and I achieve less than if I had a full nights sleep and lost 1-2 hours of work. Don't underestimate the power of tactical napping as well! Squeezing in half an hour here or there throughout the day rather than mindlessly scrolling could be the difference between feeling level headed and feeling like my world is collapsing on me.

It looks like the gaps in my journal are almost exactly lining up four weeks later. Maybe it's a cycle that I have fallen into?

I've had a couple of really good runs lately, putting up 30km every day for a few days, so I am feeling great in that aspect. After I get to the 4-5 day mark of doing it though, I begin to become self conscious of the amount of other things I should be doing, so I think I am going to wind it back for a little while until I at least get a way with this assignment. It obvious why the pro athletes fade out in their 30s and put on so much weight, because it is so time consuming it takes up your whole life. Finding a balance is hard, especially when you're a "boots and all" person like me.

I still haven't introduced alternate workouts into my routine yet. I have been looking around for a road bike to make that more fun, but none have come up that are my size. I will keep looking, I am a little bit excited to transition to riding, though I need to be super careful to not have any accidents - it seems they are quite common with drivers not watching out for riders. I think part of the reason I haven't substituted other workouts is that I have started playing Zombies, Run! again. I was one of the kickstarters way back in the day (now maybe 10 years ago or more), but stopped using it when they went to a subscription model, which I am fundamentally against. Well I can't remember much of the storyline so playing it through again has been fun, and makes me want to get back out there and hear the storyline progress.

Exactly 4 weeks ago I was having issues with sleep, and here I am again, fresh of a week of 5 hours a day and starting to feel worn down. Obviously nothing has changed. This is where Penn Juliette would say that if the same issues kept coming up in his journal reflections that he made himself make a change. I obviously need to make a change. Maybe my bed time needs to be a hard deadline rather than a soft one? Force myself to go to bed as soon as the sleep alarm goes off? I have been using it as a 'guide' to start getting ready for bed, but I quite often just silence it and keep doing what I am doing. I need to look at this differently, no matter how much I have (or want) to do. I'll adjust my watch time so there is not so much "be ready for bed" business which lets me get distracted, and more of a 'as soon as the alarm goes off, shower and bed'.

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Your run number are insane, grats on that. Endurance running actually seems to be one of the few sports that you can maintain with age. So many of the ultra-marathon people are like 35+. I was following Courtney Daulwater for a bit a couple months ago and she was attempting something like 700k in 7 days. She made it 500k in 5 days before having to stop and ended up in the hospital. That was 2 months ago. Then I got notified yesterday about this crazy race that's going where they have an hour to run a ~7k lap over and over and the last person standing wins. She's in it. They've been running since Saturday lol. She's 36.

I get what you're saying about the other things you should be doing than training though. I've felt the same when I was going hard. It's not even just workout time anymore, it's also stretching and physio. All that adds up. I was definitely starting to feel like I was using exercise as a way to procrastinate or hide from life. It was easy to justify because it's healthy. Sometimes when I reach that point, I'll switch my routine so that I'm just doing enough to maintain my current level in the morning, and then extra stuff I don't do until I've done my other work. Do you rank the things that you feel like you should be doing instead of running as a higher priority than exercise? 

About sleep, I've been listening to fiction audiobooks for about half an hour in bed before bedtime. Sometimes helps. That and the meditation apps have packs to help with sleep. I still wake up like  times a night though, and end up sleeping in way too late

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Day 50

This assignment is tormenting me. Work has been quite challenging lately so I haven't been able to make myself sit down and study at the end of a long day, which means I am not using whole days and falling significantly behind. My sleep pattern is all out of whack as well, which makes me so sluggish in the morning and less productive. It all feeds into each other, focusing on just one element of life will cause an imbalance in others, or to rectify an imbalance needs help from all the other parts. I keep saying today is the day, but it never happens. The positive thing is that I don't find myself aimlessly scrolling anymore, though I am not entirely sure if that is because the changes that I have made in life or whether it is a by product of my daily schedule and how chaotic it is. I guess regardless of where it is coming from it is effective, but now I need to channel that time into being productive.

On 10/20/2020 at 11:30 PM, Lampshade said:

Your run number are insane, grats on that. Endurance running actually seems to be one of the few sports that you can maintain with age. So many of the ultra-marathon people are like 35+. I was following Courtney Daulwater for a bit a couple months ago and she was attempting something like 700k in 7 days. She made it 500k in 5 days before having to stop and ended up in the hospital. That was 2 months ago. Then I got notified yesterday about this crazy race that's going where they have an hour to run a ~7k lap over and over and the last person standing wins. She's in it. They've been running since Saturday lol. She's 36.

I get what you're saying about the other things you should be doing than training though. I've felt the same when I was going hard. It's not even just workout time anymore, it's also stretching and physio. All that adds up. I was definitely starting to feel like I was using exercise as a way to procrastinate or hide from life. It was easy to justify because it's healthy. Sometimes when I reach that point, I'll switch my routine so that I'm just doing enough to maintain my current level in the morning, and then extra stuff I don't do until I've done my other work. Do you rank the things that you feel like you should be doing instead of running as a higher priority than exercise? 

About sleep, I've been listening to fiction audiobooks for about half an hour in bed before bedtime. Sometimes helps. That and the meditation apps have packs to help with sleep. I still wake up like  times a night though, and end up sleeping in way too late

I have read a lot of that about endurance running. I wonder how much of it is mental resilience. I was a bit worried that I was getting into long distance running too late in my life but males seem to hit their peak at around 35, women slightly later than that. Women are also far better at the sport. The race you're talking about was in Belgium, or was at least won by a Belgium team. It came up on my feed, the winner ended up doing 104 laps and bowed out on lap 105. That is hardcore commitment, and would be great to watch. Seeing people overcome massive hurdles and commitment to have big achievements like that is very inspiring. I remember reading a while back about having so many people at the finish line at a marathon after the 5 hour mark. I didn't understand it. But when you think about it, sure the people finishing in less than 2-2.5 hours are great athletes and good to watch, but it is moving and inspiring to watch someone who has just done a "couch to marathon" plan or doing a marathon for charity or to defeat personal demons and carry themselves across the line after 5 hours.

Some days I feel like my running is enough, some days I don't. You're right though, I think maybe I do use it sometimes as an excuse to escape, and therefore it may be just as bad as gaming sometimes. I think I am going to wind back to the minimum to keep my mind at ease until I get a bit more comfortable or relaxed with where I am in life. This usually happens in cycles, I run too much and my life falls to pieces, then I cut back to the minimum, then I get frustrated and run too much again. Usually 15km is a good minimum where I felt like I have had a good run, yet it is not taking up the majority of my day. I do have 3 virtual marathons I have registered for in November, so now might be the perfect time to rest and get my life in order.

So today is another day where 4 weeks ago I didn't journal and can't reflect. I would like to start incorporating my old journal somehow, maybe this is the opportunity I need. Let's see if I can copy it across here.

Well there was no day 21. Turns out I had challenges with keeping a routine then too! I also tried to skip ahead to day 50, but turns out that was when I was in Las Vegas on a bachelor party in my original journal. That was a great trip, because the moons aligned and allowed me to meet @Cam Adair when he gave this keynote speech. I might rewatch it today and reminisce about old times! Instead of finding an entry to reflect on, lets leave with this gem on anxiety, still so true.

On 4/29/2017 at 11:58 AM, giblets said:

"Hey anxiety! Great to see you today mate! I haven't seen you for a while and was wondering how you were going? I wasn't enjoying being productive today and having effective work relationships at all until you arrived!"

 

Said no-one ever.

Edited by giblets
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Day 52

Nothing significant to report. Just avoiding study. It's funny that now that I have cut out all the wasting time on my PC/phone, that my brain thinks of other things to waste time on. "Oh hey you should go see that person" or "hey you should read this thing" or "hey you should go do your washing". Don't get me wrong, they are all tasks that need to be done, but it's quite obvious my brain just does not want to sit and study. I have been using the "just sit with it" technique to try and force my brain to focus on it because I won't let it do anything else, but usually work gives me an out. Someone comes to see me or calls me. My brain gets excited that it can do something else other than try to write this report that is overdue. JUST GET ON WITH IT. My usual motivational videos and audio aren't cutting it this time. I must do this.
No day 23 journal entry on this journal, so I will grab one from 2017

 

On 5/10/2017 at 6:10 AM, giblets said:

10 May 17

Game Free: 23 (17 Apr)

So a new record of game free days! I have been a bit quiet lately as I have been at home in bed sick for three days. Not recovering as fast as what as I used to because I can't get as much sleep with my son. This would have been a perfect recipe for gaming - being home alone, no distractions, nobody holding me accountable. But I don't care about them anymore. They don't interest me at all! I think my relapse did that for me, or at least helped focus that. The strongest feeling I have had to relapse has been some mates of mine talking about the original playstation - and the misty eyed nostalgia of "those were the days" came to mind. It's so easy to emulate consoles these days too...

I haven't been constructive at all since I have been sick. When I haven't been in bed I have been mindlessly surfing the internet, which is bad. That usually turns into spending money, which I tend to waste too much of. I plan to get back to being productive today, or at least book some shows in Vegas to go see while I am there so I don't spent all my time on the tables. 

Broke my 13 day Duolingo streak yesterday too :( Whoops. Was going so well. Back to being productive! 

The old mindlessly surfing the internet routine. Problem then, not so much of a problem now. Its interesting how I could not see that as a way of wasting time back then, or maybe this entry was the first that I was becoming aware of it? I am super self-conscious about it now around my kids, especially after watching Cam's keynote speech in Vegas again (which at this point in 2017 I had not seen yet), where he talks about the amount of kids who are problem gamers that started at 9. My kids want to start playing games now but I will not let them. My wife allows them to play some educational games, and while I learned a lot from playing them when I was a kid (especially about the United States and their war of independence), I do not want them to play games. Everywhere you go now that is kid friendly, there is some kid who is a zombie on their parent's phone or their own tablet. Then they'll grow up like me with no creativity or initiative and be as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

I don't let myself buy things on my phone anymore, which is good too. No eBay, no Amazon, nothing. If I want something that badly then I can get off my butt and go look at it on the computer, where chances are I'll get a better deal anyway. Or I'll decide it's not worth the hassle, and keep those extra few dollars.

I haven't done Duolingo in years. I really should pick it up again, learning Spanish is really one of those bucket list items, but I could not dedicate the amount of time that I wanted to it. There was a great another person from the forums that I was practicing Spanish with a lot for a while which was great, but it began to fall by the wayside when I had a sit down and really started to wonder what I wanted to do with my life, and I saw it as a distraction more than anything else. Maybe I will pick it up or something else similar again when my kids learn a second language to try and encourage them or make it a little bit more enjoyable. Time will tell. I know at least I can't pick it up for another year or so as my focus will be elsewhere, but I would like to learn it nonetheless.

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Day 57

Another bit of a stint away from my journal. This time I really struggled to think of anything to write at all. Life has been quite uneventful. Maybe a formal structure would encourage the words to flow in those situations, but I did not enjoy forcing myself to follow a formal structure in my old journal. After a while I abandoned it completely and just went free flowing like I do now (though I do have reflections). I have a few days left and a bit of work to do on my last assignment for the year, so I will be hunkering down and getting as much as I can done on that for the short term so I will be quiet again. I am looking forward to being on the other side of it, so I can increase my running. Though, having said that, I have no done as much as I should or achieved as much as I should over the last few weeks by cutting down my running anyway. It has not been a productive few weeks, so while the detox continues it has not been super successful. I am also strong on avoidance lately as well, so while I have removed my avenue to 'escape', my brain still looks to do it, so I have only been treating the symptoms and not the underlying problem, whether that be a lack of discipline or some other issue.

On 10/2/2020 at 6:49 AM, giblets said:

Day 28

Pretty happy I am up to day 28 already. I am starting to see a change in how I go about my business and my friends, as I have totally cut down on my texting to them and therefore it has not encouraged them to be in constant contact with me all day. It also encourages phone conversations a lot more, which makes it harder to misinterpret tone and video meetings bring in body language as well. Unfortunately I have not journalled as frequently as I have wanted to, but it has not been because a lack of interest, but more trying to jam in more productivity and not wanting to interrupt my flow. Back when I used a set time and a set length and a set format for my previous journal, it felt like it became a chore, but at least with a bit of flexibility here I am still enthusiastic about it. Plus if Penn Juliette swears by it, who is one of the smartest guys on the planet, then it must be good.

Back out running longer distances again too. I had cut down my running for a few months as I got over some injuries and was balancing quite a lot of other tasks I was trying to complete, but once you have run as much as I do, I feel like I have cabin fever all the time if I am not out there running. So that feeling has gone for now and I have the usual fatigued legs and an increased level of relaxation. I am hoping I can get a marathon in this weekend, I have accidentally committed myself to 3 marathons over the next two months, so I need to try and get out there and get one back under my belt. I don't think I have done one for about 4 months. Will depend on how much study I can get done and if this travel I want to go on gets approved.

I was much more elated with this milestone! I think there hasn't been much change since the 28 day mark, though part of that could be because I haven't forced myself to reflect as much as I was back then, so I am not paying enough attention to it.

Distances have been steady over the last week, averaging around 15-25km per run, six days a week. I have not done a marathon yet, but that is all about to change next week, with two planned in short succession if the legs can hold up. This will be marathons 31 & 32. I like the idea of doing 42, so then it will be 42 x 42km. I wonder how proportion of the population has done that many. I remember seeing an old runner a few years ago in the Sydney marathon doing his 100th. I thought to myself, less than 0.01% of the population has done that. Unlikely I will join him at this pace, but you never know. I think there is too many other things I want to achieve now that it will take me some time to get to 42.

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Day 58

Look at me go, two journal entries in a row. I've spent a lot of time thinking since my last journal entry, and in the last 24 hours as I try to avoid this assignment. I think I have been spending the last 3 years addressing symptoms, but not the underlying issue. I have done *some* work on the underlying issue, but I mainly have been trying to keep myself distracted or removed from succumbing to the symptoms, that is gaming and procrastination. The real focus of my work should be on avoidance (anxiety). Why do I feel so anxious when tasks come my way and look every which way to avoid it? All i have done is swap the mindless escapism with "escapism with purpose" by trying to be productive in the wrong areas or keep myself moving.

Where did all of this start? There are two thoughts here. The first is where my anxiety first started appearing in the first place, which was around 2014. I was in a very stressful job and I was not looking after myself, and I think I burnt out from it. I thought I was or had recovered or rebounded from being burnt out, but I don't think I am. I think this anxiety is now going to keep following me around and digging itself into everything I do and disguising itself in my life until I work out how to combat it.

The second thought was when I last was doing therapy for my anxiety, where we dug up some deep stuff when I was a kid that I had not thought about in years. The environment I grew up in displayed some traces or at least some seeds of where the anxiety could have started or could have sewed doubt in my mind. I worked a little bit on those, but I haven't touched it for a while.

Looks like it's time to head back to therapy. Based on my thoughts the last couple of days I would say this is going to be a regular thing I am going to have to do for the rest of my life or at least the near future. I will look at booking appointments in the next month.

No entry for day 29, so time to jump in the wayback machine to the original journal -


Hmm, I can't seem to work out how to copy quotes in the new forum format. Maybe there is a trick that I am not aware of.

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