0104 – manage your information diet and lethargy

(this is an old post- should really be about 20 vomits ago or so. 26th of august.)

“This mrt ppc curve is not maximised” – RJC kids on the train.

I’ve been feeling tired, lethargic and unproductive lately. I think I might be slightly ill, slightly dehydrated, and I haven’t really-properly exercised in a while. I’m determined to think of this is a plateau which I will overcome.

I’m thinking it’s really important that I continue to watch and influence my information diet. I’ve been saying several times that I want to deny myself certain distractions but I haven’t done very much about it. I’m still coasting on the good feelings I have from deactivating Facebook, but it’s really not that big a deal. I still find ways to distract myself. It’s frustrating.

I’ve been deleting and aggregating my bookmarks online. I think I need to work in short bursts because long runs simply don’t do it for me. I know pomodoro works so why don’t I use it? I think I simply have too many options on my plate. I need to eliminate, eliminate, simplify, meditate. I feel like I’ve fallen into a backlog trap with my work, which is very reminiscent of the problems I’ve had since I was in primary school. I’m tired of writing about how tired I am. But I don’t see what else I can write about. What else could possibly be meaningful other than me developing self-control, self-discipline, self-mastery? I don’t have anything useful to contribute to the world other then a bunch of opinions, which are pretty cheap and easily replaceable, reproducible. I think my blogging-as-inquiry is leading me to the realization (have I stated this before?) that blogging is insufficient. Wit is insufficient. Networking and socializing is insufficient. All of the skills I’ve developed are relatively worthless in this regard. My usuak approach does not work here, the best chain-gunner in the world will not be able to operate a sniper rifle effectively. I have to unlearn and relearn. I have to empty my cup. I think this means I have to empty a LOT of things… but I don’t have the luxury of spending too much time doing that. I have to Do. Why is this so hard? That’s not even a useful question- it’s hard, the why is simply a curiosity, a parlor game. The question to answer is how do you tackle something that’s hard?

You break it down, of course. You find the weakest spot and you hit it as hard as you can. Okay, what’s the weakest spot in my current enemy (myself)? Where can I hit hardest to do maximum damage with the limited energy that I have?

Let’s take just the present moment. I’ll haze to go home and shower immediately- do my pushups and squats (which have to be non-nrgotiable because it’s ridiculously easy to get lethargic and unfit when you’re working and not paying attention). Clean the cat litter before showering. Have dinner with the wife… should I try and get a little bit of work done before that? Probably not. I should probably draw up battle plans, which is what D told me he did when things got tough.

I think I have to seriously experiment with writing on pen and paper instead off online. Sometimes it seems like my word vomits are the most productive part of my day and they really shouldn’t be. I cannot be trusted with an internet connection unless absolutely critical- which is usually only at the stage of publishing and sharing. I can’t continue this cycle of thinking I can be trusted and then discovering that I can’t.

Going to ask the wife to help me with this.

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31st august 2013:

That was a pretty quick recovery. I had tuna, eggs and vegetables for dinner last night and I had a kaya toast set for breakfast this morning- and I noticed that I wasn’t lethargic after lunch. I realize that my understanding of nutrition is woefully limited by my own standards. And I realize this applies to a lot of things. I go through life with an unremarkably piecemeal understanding of things. I’ve never really fully mastered any video game- even metal slug and bare knuckle which I think I’m pretty good at- I never break past a certain threshold of “good enough”. This is fairly consistent. I claim to be perfectionist in theory, but in reality I give up on things before they get really really good. There was a period of time where I tried to improve my metal slug x playing further, which was a little remarkable, but what a pointless pursuit! It would’ve been more impressive maybe a decade ago. If I’m going to get really good at something now it had better be something that’s genuinely useful to me. So blogging, then. Fitness, nutrition (never thought I’d care about that but I’m getting older and my energy levels at 23 seem to be more limited than I thought they would be- isn’t this supposed to be the endless youth phase?). Attention management, focus. Conquering fear of imperfection and daring to ship over and over, to create, to lay seige to that which lay before me.

I’m always afraid of giving my everything. The neurosis that makes me hold something back is powerful and deep rooted. But it has to be extracted, now. Yesterday. Surgically. This is way overdue.

I was writing about what smoking does to the body. I had to wonder- does social media have similar effects? Does it wear down your mind? I think it did for me. I love the internet deeply but it also often keeps me from doing the deep work I believe I should be doing, that I believe I am capable of doing. But what is this bloody deep work I keep alluding to? What is this mystical state of productivity I seem to romanticize? There’s no such thing, Visa. All we have is this moment- one foot in front of another, one word in front of another, putrid mouth, dithered mind and weary muscles. Deep breaths.

I was reading something about the Gervais principle and I realized that, within that framework, I’m a loser/sociopath. But I don’t want to be, damnit! I’m a drone most of the time but in moments of awareness I want to take drastic heroic action. But there are no drastic heroic actions, don’t you understand? There’s only the steady drip-drup-dripping of the everyday commitment- you unattended this when it comes to vices and addictions, the challenge is merely to apply it to the inverse. This is nothing new, it is phenomenally boring. Same old shit x1000. You most certainly do NOT want to be making these same bullshit excuses at 30, not even 25… The time for extreme surgical action is now.

I have to declutter. I made some progress but I need to take it further. I need more meditation.

Cigarettes suppress your appetite. They burn and numb your tastebuds. They hinder your sense of smell.

I wonder if social media does something similar. I wonder if it suppresses something and substitutes it with something else. Earlier I caught myself craving informatioj and updates- new things to look at, new things to “act on”, novelty. I think that’s a kind of fetish, a kind of perversion, “extremization”, addiction to speed and volume.

It reminds me of playing in a band as a beginner musician. You want power, and the two ways to seemingly get power are speed and volume. Bud volume damages your hearing, and you get numb to it. Speed is exhausting and you get numb to that too. You hurt your hands, you hurt your ears, you get acclimatised to it and it takes more and more to get the same pleasure.

But real power or heaviness doesn’t come from volume, speed, hoarseness. It comes from intensity. Control, dynamics. Pulse. The real challenge for a musician is to play slow, not fast. Slow forces you to listen to every single note. It forces you to face weakness, inconsistency. The challenge is to sound powerful and heavy even at low volumes. To have great melodies and rhythms that resonate, that are memorable. This is the pursuit of a certain kind of complexity that isn’t immediately apparent to the beginner who just wants hard loud fast now. The same seems to apply to every sort of complex field: writing. Cooking/drinking/eating. Dancing.

My stomach hurts, why? Am I hungry? Whey is it trying to tell me? It’s a little sharp for regular hunger. But I last ate at… 1pm. It’s been 6 hours. Maybe that’s too long. I should try having more meals at smaller intervals. It seems tedious, but so is smoking, isn’t it? Smoking is remarkably tedious. You have to remember to light up every hour or so, sometimes more often, especially when stressed. You have to carry a pack with you at all times. Truly remarkable how responsible smokers are at taking care of their habit. Same for social media, for games…

The challenge I think is to pay attention. To listen to your body. To listen to your subconscious. These things are hard to notice over the noise of ad and id overload.

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Cigarettes are horrible friends. They deserve to be cut out of your life. You think they make you feel good but it’s an illusion, a low hanging fruit- like getting into internet arguments.

Cigarettes, internet arguments, procrastination and abusive relationships all have a little something in common. They’re all destructive.

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