0075 – sleepy and unfocused

Have been a bit sleep deprived or something the past couple of days. Maybe dehydrated too. Wasn’t very productive at work. This is frustrating because I love my work, I should be progressing much faster! I don’t really even feel like writing this but I know that I will feel better if I stick with it so I’m just going to blaze through this one right now.

I repeat myself a lot and it’s frustrating that repetition is so necessary. Latest thoughts are the importance of repetition and constant refinement, constant pruning, constant revisiting. I’ve reduced significant amounts of background noise from my life by keeping my email inboxes empty (work and personal.) I still have a shitload of nonsense to declutter from my home PC and from my bookmarks at work, my google drive and evernote.

I’ve decided that I’m going to get rid of my pen-and-paper notebooks. I’ve developed an emotional attachment to them and the idea of throwing them away is painful, but it’s morw painful to have so much in my cup that I can’t fill it up with what matters the most in the immediate. I’m doing whatever is easy and seemingly urgent rather than what is genuinely important.

I think I’ve made significant progress by getting off Facebook- that’s a very real win and sticking with it is good for me. I will not be going back on Facebook until I’ve sufficiently emptied everything else that I want to do. This could take years- so be it. That’s a price worth paying if it helps me so the things I consciously want to do.

Far too often I find myself swept away in the currents of the unimportant- today I found myself on tumblr and Reddit. Sure some of it is interesting and potentially useful information down the road- but it’s not a priority. If I were the boss of me I’d ban myself from all these distractions for a few months at least. That’s a funny thought experiment because I AM the boss of me. I’m just a shitty boss. Becoming a better boss (within the mind) seems to require mindfulness, meditation, regular breaks to refocus on what is important.

I shouldn’t spend too much time figuring this out- that’s another form of distraction, artificial busyness that doesn’t result in useful or meaningful work done. It’s the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I should be getting into a life boat instead. Dramatic shifts are sometimes necessary- keyhole surgery. Slightly traumatic but contained and ultimately for the best. At the very least it would be interesting. I must revisit my local/global optima realization and take significant leaps away from my status quo.

I must realize that it’s always relatively trivial for me to return to my previous state if I really need/want to. I have to triumph over the psychological crutches and bullshit that my mind comes up with to try and keep me stuck in the present state of ennui. I am doing work but I can’t shake the feeling that I could be doing a lot more. There’s no magic solution, it just takes grit and some mental clarity.

The little things go a long way. Baby steps blah blah blah. Need to cut things away. I’m on the train now, reaching bishan soon. There I change train to yishun. Buy dinner for self and the wife. Then take the bus home. Once home I’ll put away the phone and spend time with the wife. Shower first, then dinner. After that I’ll… tidy up computer 1 tomato, cull evernote 1 tomato, cull blog drafts 1 tomato, clean the house 1 tomato.

I just ran from the circle line part of bishan to the red line bit to get my heart rate up. I’m definitely lacking in some high intensity physical activity. Time to start doing more pushups and squats again to kick up the heart rate. I don’t even care about looks anymore, I just want to experience a superior state of flow. I want to focus harder and get individual tasks done. I find myself dissatisfied with most if not all productivity apps. I find don’t break the chain too simple and I find too many things too complex.

The best thing that works for me is actually pen and paper but that’s tedious to carry around with me all the time. I have a smartphone all the time now so whatever tracking I do should be done on this device. I’m not entirely sure what I don’t like about all the available apps. I think done works better than to do. I have a habit of getting complacent with my todos, and many of them have been stuck in limbo for months. I started a mailing list on my blog several months ago and about 30 to 40 people signed up but I still haven’t sent a single email. It’s the perfectionist bug- I’m so anxious to send something great that nothing’s good enough and nothing gets sent.

But do I really need to email anybody? I started the list thinking that it would inspire me to write things that I wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable writing on my blog, but a strange thing happened- Everytime I think of something to tell my mailing list, I end up figuring out a way to write it on my blog instead. I suppose the best use the list will have will be for me to ask people for advice and input and opinions- how can I help you? But I don’t really have the space to help people- I have to help myself. You have to put your own mask on before you can help others and so I’ve got to keep this train chugging. I wonder how many posts in will I be when I have conquered this pwraonal demon- I mean, I know that the quest for self-refinement and self-actualization is never-ending, but surely there are milestones. You can always get fitter, but there are milestones.

So what’s a milestone for me? Maybe I should take a moment to redefine this because you can’t go somewhere if you don’t know where it is, at least vaguely. Well I’ve had a pretty good vague idea so far, so time to make it precise.

What I’m doing is waging a war against anxiety and mediocrity. This war won’t be won just by throwing myself at the enemy hard once or twice- it requires a sustainable strategy and economy. Supply chains. Logistics. Communications. This battle is a tough and complex one- essentially a counter-insurgency. Let me look that shit up.

EDIT: Went home at this stage. Did not look that shit up. Will now look that shit up and write about it next.

One thought on “0075 – sleepy and unfocused

  1. kok ming (@gkokm21)

    good post. it understandable that there are many choices, distractions and big and small goals so its hard to feel competent consistently. Increase your attention on your feelings, both physiological and emotional level will be useful. Or put it in another way, increase your mindfulness. the main problem may be more internal than external, if you get what I mean.

    I do find that years of productivity learning useful as I see how the skills and lessons learn can be multiplied or combined and since you regular learner, you should have the advantage of this phenomenon. That being said, although I enjoy benefits of hacking/learning , I still meet with difficulties, self doubt and having to pluck myself up somehow now and then.

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