0337 – no really do it now

Today started out a little imperfectly– I didn’t jump out of bed the way I wanted to. (I wrote about that this morning!) But then I watched a motivational video on the way to work to get my mood up, and then I stayed quite focused from task to task before lunch. After lunch I was a bit lethargic, but I didn’t completely fall of the wagon. I did have a couple of meetings to prepare for, which I did. I wrote down each thing I did in a notebook that I keep at work, and so I got a bunch of things done. I would say that was maybe a 6.8/10 in terms of productivity, which I can live with. Pretty good for a meeting-filled Monday.

A couple of silly things happened– I had given my wife my keys because she couldn’t find hers, and we both assumed she’d be home before me. Then I lost my ATM card, and I didn’t have any cash in my wallet (because she had borrowed the 50 that I had left in it, and hadn’t replaced the change). So due to a bunch of seemingly unrelated things, I ended up near home but without my keys, without money, and without the ATM cards I’d need to withdraw money. So I was hungry for a while. I chose to be a little meditative about it, thinking about how there were certainly times in the past when I was in school or in the Army when I was broke and hungry. I could always have asked my parents for money, but I didn’t want to. I was often wasting money on things like cigarettes, or maybe staying out too late with friends and then having to take cabs home. So it wasn’t like I was in a genuinely bad state in life, I was just in momentarily blips of poor-finances-induced-hunger. I hadn’t experienced that for a few years. It was interesting to feel hungry again that way– not knowing when my wife would get back. I mean, it was a tiny, tiny fragment of what genuinely broke people feel, not pretending to suddenly relate to people’s struggles or anything.

But despite that, I got home, relaxed for a while, showered, and then found myself on reddit/Imgur as I normally do when I feel like I have time. The wife’s in the shower. It’s 10:43pm. And something compelled me to stop my reddit/imguring (worst time sink right now– I’ve even blocked them on my browser, and end up opening an incognito tab “just for a few seconds”). I don’t think I spent too long on it, could be worse. As long as I do a vomit and go to bed, I think I come out on top. Well… a part of me wanted to go for another run. But I think I’m due for a rest anyway. Today felt like I got a reasonable number of things done. If I can spend every day with this level of productivity– get a few tasks done, at least one important one, and at least one nagging task that’s been bothering me for a while, and respond to correspondence quickly as it comes, rather than letting it linger– I think I’ll be quite happy.  So we can proceed with that. If I go to bed now I should be up fairly early. And then I can plan my day and focus.

What I mentioned earlier and what I’m thinking about more is– how I ought to “Do It Now”. I know “Just Do It” sounds nicer than “Just Do It Now”, but I do think the “Now” bit is particularly powerful. As I was exploring in the procrastination posts earlier- the central thing about procrastination (or one of the central things) is “pleasure now pain later”. Procrastinators a problem where we’re always underestimating how bad the pain will be later. Systematically, over and over again. We overestimate how much energy and clarity of mind we’ll have later, hoping that last minute panic will force everything to be crystal clear. (Which can sometimes happen, but then you also find that you’re forced into a corner where you see how things should be but only have the time/resources/energy to do 10-20% of it. Cue mixed feelings. Over and over again.)

Also there’s the sense that doing something now is painful. When I wake up in the morning, getting out of bed NOW seems like an insurmountable task. I just can’t seem to do it– except when I’m in the military and there are other guys jumping out of bed and there’s alarms going off and we gotta rush down and there’ll be a miserable, immediate consequence if we screw it up. I was wondering– how do you get better at waking up? The person who’s waking up is, prior to waking up, asleep. And I have very little agency and control over myself when I’m asleep. So the action has to be taken subconsciously. And so far it seems I’m fairly decent (not perfect– I still screw this up) at waking up when the alarm goes off. Then I turn it off and linger in bed. And fall asleep.

It’s the lingering that kills me. I’ve always been a lingerer. I used to linger on the premises after school, maybe because I didn’t really want to go home. I didn’t really want to have to confront things. I’ve always hated and/or disliked confrontations. I don’t really like meetings even now. I’m alright at public speaking, surprisingly, but I have a lot of dread towards a lot of things. I’m not entirely sure why. I have all these expectations. I feel so aware of all the things that can and will go wrong.

I don’t want to over-psycho-analyze myself, at least not right now. It’s more important to recover from the wound than to keep digging at it, asking “why is this wound here? who did this to me? how did it happen?” So I think I just need to develop the habit of doing things immediately, as fast as possible. I mean, I can see how there might be an opposite extreme. But I think that won’t be an issue. Let’s just move fast and see how it goes.

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