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10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Related, I found some old videos of some gaming moments I was proud of and it just felt gross. I feel like I should hold onto them though, for the same reason I hold onto photos? Maybe? I don't know.

That's an interesting idea. Sort of like looking back at photos of a relationship with a toxic ex. "Yea, I was so sucked in at the time, but in hindsight, I'm glad I got out."

I think when you can hold both "gaming was fun at times and this moment made me feel proud" and "overall it was unhealthy and I'm better off without it," it's a sign of recovery.

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First ever public journal, here we go. I've been an addict my entire life to different things. Drugs, games, sex, work. With games it started when I was young growing up in the country. Morrowind

So that's been my plan. If I get up around 5:30 that should be enough time for me to get through everything if I stay focused. That said, my success rate for getting up is like once a week at best. I'

Day 33 Just a quick entry because I slept in and am feeling behind. Got to run into town in a bit to pick up some equipment that I'll have to spend the next few days testing, but more importantly

Codepants has an interesting take on it. Personally, I had to get rid of everything, steam account, screenshots, and discord very much included. It's just something I'm eager to put behind me, and that means no day-to-day reminders if I can possibly help it. Gaming was super unhealthy for me, and I know that I'm incapable of moderating it, so holding on to things for a 'I'd really like to play it one day!' for me, personally, would feel a little like writing off all the progress I can make up that point.

Your journey might be different though, and if you can look back on that stuff and go 'Yeah, it was fun in the moment, but it's no longer a part of my life in the way it was.' then that's great too. If y'can look at it and be proud, rather than tempted, then that's a pretty good outcome. Ultimately, you know yourself best, and can make the call on whether you're keeping them because it's a cool way to acknowledge progress, or if it's that monkey digging nails in and holding onto whatever it can.

Edited by Commissar
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@codepants@Commissar I've had both of your perspectives. I'm going to add another one: I've got a bunch of tattoos, I got them all between the ages of 16-18. I am absolutely not the same troubled kid I was at that age. I remember my justification when I was getting them, that I "wanted to remember who I was and the impact everything had on my life." Thing is, though, I'm not that person anymore, and having the tattoos just keeps that kid alive. And since the primary theme of my life at that time was a bad one, that's what the memories have been distilled down to. I get the idea of hanging on to remember lessons and so-forth, but I guess it feels hard to fully commit to a new life with constant reminders of the old one. At least with gaming though, those pictures of a bad ex can be stored away and not looked at.

I'm similar to you Com. Trying to moderate my usage failed miserably, and the journey has been easier with fewer reminders. Without saving anything from that time though, I'm worried about losing whole chunks of my life. I identified as my characters during those few years (a sure sign of addiction).

An interesting trend I noticed was the trend of happy-photos, to photos of stressful things (a crappy house we had to stay in, progress photos of dog wounds, etc.), and then inevitably screenshots of gaming. It was such an obvious trend of using gaming to escape hard times that it was funny, in a weird sort of way.

Still haven't figured out what to do. I think I'm in a decent place right now so I think the healthiest thing for me is to rest here a bit instead of going too hard.

Ah. Negotiation. My old addiction friend. F.

Day 21

As a general update, I've noticed I'm less impulsive than I was. It's hard to say which good habit is responsible for that but I do know that I've never been able to maintain good habits as long as I have while still gaming. My meditation streak is 3x longer than it's ever been (started meditating 2.5 years ago), I've never successfully quit coffee before now (still relapsing but 3 days clean now, and 3 before the weekend), my yoga habit is solid as is my workout routine. I think it's a positive feedback loop and quitting gaming gave me the time, patience, and mental clarity to work on the other things.

 

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8 minutes ago, Lampshade said:

quitting gaming gave me the time, patience, and mental clarity to work on the other things.

I can agree with this sentiment. Quitting games has given me much more free time. Especially things like exercise, food and hobbies have all become much more filled out since I quit games as well. Good to see you're progressing too.

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Day 22

So, I've got this paper that I'm 95% finished that I'm going to try to get submitted by Friday night. I've been procrastinating it because the bulk of it was written a year or so ago and I've got different opinions now about what makes a paper good than I did back then aaand... it's no good lol. But I need to get my publication numbers up so it's getting submitted and hopefully somebody takes it. I went through this morning and spent 3 hours mercilessly editing. I still have to update the digital copy, and plan on doing that this afternoon and tomorrow morning. It's better now, I think. Just sucks cutting down 3-months worth of work to a single line. Sometimes I just want to write in 'this was really hard, okay?!' It REALLY sucks when three-months of work is cut entirely. C'est la vie.

I'm hoping getting it to a place where I can at least submit it to journals without cringing will give me a sense of accomplishment. I'm craving a win. Habit streaks are great but you don't get that sense of completion. Hopefully this does it. Having the self-imposed deadline is great, it's making me try harder than I have been.

Back to it.

 

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Oof. Best of luck with the submission. I had that feeling a lot with my undergrad work. 'And here's the bit where I spent three weeks trying desperately not to inhale the bone-melting acid' really doesn't sit well in an academic paper for some reason.

Which is a shame, because I'd probably read a lot more papers if it did.

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Day 23

Still in work mode. Not that I'm pumping out the hours or anything but I just don't really have much else on my mind than finishing this paper. Still doing the same old boring habit routines in the morning. It takes longer than I want it to though. Right now it's: Get up, feed the dogs, make the bed, take the dogs out, eat, meditate, yoga, shower, shave. Doesn't look that bad actually when I write it out. Last couple of days I've been pushing the shower 'n shave to the afternoon by using the justification that the morning routine is too much. Now that I'm actually writing it out, though, I think that's wrong. Better to just get all those things done in the morning so they aren't on my mind, even if it means getting to work a little bit later. Once I'm working, especially if it's on the computer, it's so much easier to get distracted and procrastinate.

I've also got a bunch of courses that I want to take. Two of them are for different programming languages (R and Python). I can do a little bit in each, basically just work with packages and stuff as I've needed them, but I've never learned a language from the ground up. I'm not sure if learning them simultaneously is the best idea. I'm also unsure which format I'm going to use to learn. I've been really enjoying consistent, bite-sized lessons on the phone version of Datacamp and getting to work in the living room instead of the office is a nice change of scenery (and makes me more available to S.O. if I do in it the evening). I've also been toying with the idea of just dedicating a day/week for Coursera courses and doing it in that more formal way. Sounds less fun, but more practical.

@Commissar Undergrad chemistry is a death trap. Flames, explosions, and acid spills everywhere. The instructor told the lab once that the chloroform we were working with had a smell, so my partner stuck her nose in the flask and took a big whiff. I much prefer working with computers, where I get an error if I do something wrong instead of an explosion.

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Day 24

Well, didn't achieve my goal of getting the paper submitted by last night. Just classic procrastination. I spent a couple hours picking out courses to learn things I want to learn, answering emails, dealing with financial stuff, etc. All semi-responsible, but not the right focus for the day. Semi-responsible shit is also a super effective procrastination. It's tough finding that balance of scheduling yourself to death and allowing yourself to work on things as you feel like it.

I see lots of motivational/disciplin-al propaganda that drives home that successful people just keep grinding. I haven't seen much for the other side of the story, working on things as you get excited by them. I think there's value in each. There's probably a balance. Just seems counter-intuitive to schedule in 'inspiration work'.

I'm still going strong with no gaming, but the next WoW xpac is comping out. It feels weird just letting it go by. Normally this would be cause for like a minimum 3-week binge as celebration. The crowded world, everybody excited and happy. I keep getting hit with the same feeling, that getting in and starting early my character could be so ahead of the curve. Even playing like 3-4 hours a day, you fall behind in gear. Honestly, it seems hollow now. I still crave the fun of it, but I feel better able to recognize that the image I create of myself when I am playing games like that is a lie.

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On 11/6/2020 at 8:24 AM, Lampshade said:

I much prefer working with computers, where I get an error if I do something wrong instead of an explosion.

🤣 🤣 🤣

I was never any good at chemistry. It just seems illogical and like a bunch of memorization. Coding, on the other hand... coding is the MOST logical. Even more logical than math, because math has imaginary numbers and non-Euclidian planes of geometry. I love that stuff but I wouldn't want to do it for a living. But I would never even think of doing chemistry again. Unless it was like fun kitchen stuff.

I don't know how fast your beard grows but I only shave like twice a week which saves some time. I also only shower maybe three times a week unless I exercise, in which case I just rinse off (~5 minutes) afterward.

Kudos for doing all that though. Daily AM meditation is one of my goals. Also getting a dog, and then daily AM walks.

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@codepants I'm trying to learn more coding. I really enjoy it, it's just a matter of time. Right now I basically just have a few snippets across languages that I have figured out for specific tasks. I'm trying to get better at learning the logic and terminology behind it all. Tested out Datacamp and M1Mo, next week or so I'm gonna try a coursera course but it seems much less fun in structure. Any suggestions? I mostly need R and Python, prob R more-so. Some kind of file management thing might be helpful too, I've done some things in Powershell that have been cool. Maybe Linux? I dunno

And yeah I could prob get away with stubble and shower every second day. Just those 2nd days I don't feel like I look my best, y'know? I also find shaving more comfortable if I do it every day, prob cause I cheap out on blades lol.

AM meditation has been key for me to get the habit streak up, otherwise it just gets pushed off forever. And dogs are great but don't underestimate the commitment. We pretty much haven't done any traveling for years cause of how much of a pain it is to make sure the dogs are taken care of. Expensive too once the health issues creep in. And man, those health issues can get emotional. In the end though, if you can commit to them as a priority, they become your best friends. 

 

Day 24

Last week I made some appointments for free/low-cost therapy options. I'd been procrastinating it because I'd heard the waiting list was like 6 months. I've got two options to try out, and my intakes are scheduled for next week and the week after. First time ever doing it. I'm excited and nervous. I just feel like I'm at the point where I'm working on taking care of most of the obvious things and need some professional help for the rest. I've been cutting out all the bad distractions and have been finding that underneath it all is mostly depression and anxiety.

I've been prescribed a couple of different meds before but I really don't want to go that route. I've cycled through a bunch of recreational drugs (recreational doesn't seem the right word the type of drugs or how I used them, but I think you get what I'm trying to say) and I'm worried about the addictive potential + withdrawal symptoms of prescription drugs for psychological issues. I really don't like the idea of having to take a drug for the rest of my life, with a high-likelihood of real mental problems if I ever have to stop.

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Good on you, Lamp. I was super hesitant to try therapists as well, and put it off for years. Felt like a right muppet at the end of it - They're just folks, and hopefully they'll be able to help out some. For me it was just a bit of confirmation, and a bit of help turning myself in the direction I wanted to be going.

As far as python learning goes, though! I've heard great things about 'Automate the Boring Stuff with Python' as a complete beginner's let's-just-make-useful-things, and figure out the rest on the fly kind-of book. Though, by the sound of your courses, you're probably a little further ahead with the language than I am.

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I minored in CS and taught myself the rest, so I'm afraid I'm not much use in terms of how to learn. Honestly though... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HluANRwPyNo

(the video is 30 seconds so you should watch it—it's worth the laugh—but the gist is that you can learn 80% of what you need to know from Stack Overflow)

(Edit: the other 20% is mostly generalizable stuff like how to write efficient, modular code; organize your variables across objects; loop structures, etc.)

I've had a lot of fun tooling around in Google Scripts, you can do stuff like organize Google Drive and auto-send e-mails and such. I've actually made a chunk of change "consulting" for a company that wanted to automate a bunch of their processes in Gsuite.

 

FWIW supposedly men are at their most attractive when the have a 5 o'clock shadow. But you gotta think you look good too, of course.

 

Happy for you, starting your own therapy. You deserve to put you first.

 

 

Edited by codepants
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1 hour ago, codepants said:

Yeah lol. I describe working with R as that feeling you get when you type in your password somewhere and it tells you it's wrong, and you argue with it.

 

1 hour ago, Commissar said:

've heard great things about 'Automate the Boring Stuff with Python' as a complete beginner's let's-just-make-useful-things, and figure out the rest on the fly kind-of book.

I've had that bookmarked forever! Also heard great things

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2 hours ago, codepants said:

I've had a lot of fun tooling around in Google Scripts, you can do stuff like organize Google Drive and auto-send e-mails and such. I've actually made a chunk of change "consulting" for a company that wanted to automate a bunch of their processes in Gsuite.

This, too! I did some work on placement for a company using google scripts and a bit of (outsourced) webmagic to help with tracking competencies and sign in / out for people. Google scripts is remarkably well documented and can really do a whole lot, even for someone like me who'd never worked with web design or google scripts before.

As long as you don't look at my error log. Please don't look at it.

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@JSmithPowershell and DOS scripts working are what I send my friends when I want to impress them into thinking I work the matrix lol.

Day 25

Wife is on vacation this week so I'm trying to take some time off too. I'm terrible at vacationing when there isn't a trip or something to do though. Especially now that I work from home, so my vacation place is pretty much my workplace. Usually I end up trying to force myself to be relaxed and lazy. It doesn't usually work, instead I just end up sleeping a bunch and get back into my vices. Right now the worst one is coffee, though, so I think I'm doing alright. Sleeping in too I guess.

Not many plans for today. Gonna go into town just to hang out with the SO while she does chores. I'm on the last 7/8ths of the third Stormlight Archives book so that's my main source of entertainment. I was also enjoying learning coding casually on my phone with those apps I mentioned but I've hit the limit for the free version and I'm not sure I want to pay for it. That felt so silly to write considering how much I've spent on coffee, and the gas to go get it since there's none in the house, over the last few days.

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Day 26

Supposed to be a pretty nice day outside today so I'm gonna see if I can meet up with a friend and play some ball. Other than that, I've got a therapy phone call soon and I need to do some e-mailing/admin-type stuff.

It's so hard to balance work and life. Seems like whenever I get my work where I want it, my personal life suffers, and vice-versa. For example, right now I am doing great with my personal habits and am taking care of a reasonable amount of the house work/maintenance/repairs that I had fallen behind on but I haven't made any real progress on my main work projects in days. My morning routine is taking like 2.5 hours, I think I have a plan to cut that down some by moving showers to every second day and doing yoga and stretches in the evening. It still seems like it's going to be difficult doing all the things that I want to do in a day without getting up at 5am. Definitely going to have to when things get busier for me again in January. Ideally I like to leave time in my day for 'just whatever', rather than making my entire day one giant to-do list. So tough to cut things out that more concretely progress you towards clear goals though.

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15 hours ago, codepants said:

I couldn't help myself.

Whole buncha lawls.

Day 27

So yeah, I suck at relaxing. I've noticed it the last few times that I was supposed to take time off. I'm just not as happy when I'm trying to force myself to relax. Yesterday I tried to just sit around being lazy and relax, I was anxious all day and craving a coffee. Ended up going to get one and going for a big run with the auiobook Grit playing. Got home and laid out a daily schedule for myself that's pretty much by the hour. It's a lot, but I'm gonna try to go for it starting next week and lasting until Dec. 20th-ish. I hate having days so structured, but the alternative is cutting out certain things that I hope to accomplish/be in the future. Those things will not happen without effort, so I'm going to spend 30 days or so applying the effort, deciding if it's worth it, and then making the decisions on what to admit to myself won't be in my life. I've got 4 hours set aside for family time everyday, as well as 3-hours or so of flexibility during the work day, so I think that the schedule is hard but realistic. The hardest part is going to be the 5:15 wakeup.

Actually here it is. I want to try to do all this every day for 30-ish days. Thoughts? I

  • Reading work material - 1 hour
  • Writing/editing paper - 1 hour
  • Exercise - 1.5 hours
  • Self-improvement apps (Headspace, DuoLingo, Datacamp)- 1 hour total
  • Experiments - 2 hours
  • Coursera courses - 1.5 hours
  • Family and hobbies - 4 hours after dinner
  • Sleep - 7.5 hours

Realized today that the hardest things I'm struggling with right now is caffeine addiction and sleeping too much. Not a bad place to be, all things considered. Well and the background depression and anxiety that lays under it all. That's probably why I feel the need to stay so busy 🙃

 

 

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Consider a two or three days every week where you do nothing but write papers. Also consider extending paper writing sessions to 3 or 3 and 1/2 hours every morning for 'A' Days and then have 2 hours of physical exercise and 1 hour of meditation apps and psych exercises for the 'B' Days. You could do A, B, A, B or A, A, B, A, A, B.

Also your schedule is missing all the activities you do for fun. I know that whenever I forget to schedule fun, my inner union goes on an inner strike and sabotages everything.

I don't understand how the 'family' block and the 'hobbies' block are in the same section. What happens when those obligations conflict? What are the boundaries?

You've also neglected to include breaks. After spending two hours reading and writing, your energy is cut in half but then you want to exercise for 2 hours. Then I assume you eat lunch, then your selfhelp apps after lunch. What would prevent you on a bad day to skip exercise and say "fuck it" and just chill on the couch then eat lunch and skip the apps and the experiments and courses and then feel bad for "a wasted day" when really its the inner union's fault for sabotaging the schedule.

Would it be more or less productive to exercise first and then do reading and writing for work?

What about the days when you wake up at 6am or 7am? What is your plan B? Do you sacrifice writing, exercise, apps, experiments, courses, hobbies, or family time? What about if your boss gives you a major deadline and you need to work on writing papers for 3 hours instead of 1 hour? How does the schedule change? Is there anything on the list that you are unwilling to sacrifice no matter what?

Also in what order will you implement this new schedule into your lifestyle. Everything at the same time? One by one? Start with 3 and then add more every 2 weeks?

I think version 1 of the schedule is fatally optimistic and that a schedule must be designed with the asumption of a cruel world. Better to maintain the easiest schedule possible than have a hard schedule that fails after a few weeks. My previous schedule failed because I miscalculated how much sleep I needed, out of all things.

Edited by Bird By Bird
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@BooksandTrees Bunch of great stuff, thank you. I'm going to respond to most as a way of organizing my thoughts.

You first mentioned one of the things that I was struggling most with, the idea of consistent habit vs. deep work. Mostly for the writing, reading, and experiments. For the rest I've found I find I am more likely to keep with it it if I make it a daily habit. However, a day divided as much as I have above feels like it would be jarring, and too diverse. I think I can do A/B days for Reading+Writing /Experiments+Coursera.

Family time and hobbies I try to overlap. My wife and I workout together 3/5 days for example, so I count that as hobby, family, and exercise. I also consider spending time with her and the dogs to be something of a hobby. Basically just talking, learning, or doing what they want to do. Other than that the only hobbies I have since quitting gaming are stretching and readings. I also count those as family time because I am in the same room and available.

Scheduling breaks is good advice. My plan was to just work through the dailies until around lunch time, then take an hour-ish.

There's a lack of flexibility the way the schedule is done right now, for sure. It doesn't account for spending half-an hour writing a journal entry, for example, lol. You're right about the sleep too, I know for a fact that there will be days I sleep in, or have another appointment. It would be nice to not feel awful when that happens. I have a general feeling that there's just too much that I'm trying to pack into a day. I tried to account for that by leaving 3 hours open during the day, but yeah. Unfortunately 60 hour work weeks are kinda expected for my career track. A/B days seems like the most obvious answer to bring in more flexability and deep work.  It's possible I'm getting too carried away with trying to turn everything into a daily habit.

3 hours ago, Bird By Bird said:

I think version 1 of the schedule is fatally optimistic and that a schedule must be designed with the asumption of a cruel world.

Truth. So hard to cut things out, though. Especially when feeling optimistic and motivated. Stay tuned for v2

Day 28

Going to keep this one short but I do have one update. My dog's mobility in his back end took a big down-turn last night. He's probably not going to make it to the winter. This will be the 3rd family dog that I've seen go to mobility problems, and the first dog that was raised by my S.O and I that we will have to put down. It's heartbreaking, but he made it to old age and had a rich, full life and a good death is one of the best gifts we can give him. We got him as a puppy when we were 18, so he got to be young and reckless when we were the same. He traveled to a bunch of new places and had no major health scares aside from those coming from old age in the last year or two. He's spent the last 7 years exploring the woods that surround our house (supervised, he was not a loose dog), and the last few of those he got to spend barking at squirrels and rabbits in from the deck. Lately it's been more sleeping on the deck, but getting him to that point was always my goal.

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