5:20:1 experiment and the power of timers and rewards

12018.07.21 Saturday

9:45am – [Hammock’s Cruel Sparks] Writing now because I won’t feel like it tonight after work, and I’d rather do other stuff tomorrow morning.

{After one sentence, I get bored and suddenly switch from writing to trying to create a simply animation}

~50 minutes later

10:37am – UGGGGHHHH I JUST wanted to do a screen recording of this stupid animation I put together and the dumb recording app on my computer is not working. I feel dumb getting upset at stuff like this, but it’s stupid stuff like this when I run into an issue I wasn’t expecting where I end up taking MUCH longer than I thought that sets me back emotionally. Just feels like I’m wasting so much time.

But then I figured out something with PowerPoint that enables me to export a video.

I think one of the things I’d really like to get into is animation / video editing stuff. I feel like I’m 15 years behind though. {Feelings of regret and self-hate flood everywhere}

 

There is the damn stupid animation from powerpoint. I have SO much learn. 😦

Bit by bit day by day.

ANYWAY

Back to the original damn purpose of this post.

For the past twodays I’ve been working with this 5:20:1 rule. I do 5 minutes of whatever – usually a quick writing session where I’m venting stuff. Maybe check the news. Then, for 20 minutes, I do work. I can turn on music or a podcast, but it needs to be something related cleaning my apartment, organizing files, paying bills, etc. After and hour, the ‘1’ then I take a longer break. I dunno, maybe 15 minutes? Then I do it all over again, until I reach the reward period. The reward period. This is the time at the end of the day, when I can just do whatever.

{When my mind/inner child knows the work WILL end at some point
it can DO WORK}

5 minute break / 20 minute work / X 3 / 15 minute break / X 2

reward period

{One day later}

As always, I meant to write more. But I have 8 minutes to finish this up and publish. Maybe I should spent more time on these throughout the week.

Overcome with my usual feeling of deep regret – I wish I started all of this sooner. Regret is one of my biggest enemies.

Good things:

  • The 5:20 / reward thing really has shown success. Because I have been keeping things relatively clean for the past couple days, in just ONE 20 minute session I was able to wash a couple dishes, clean my cat’s litter box, make my bed, clean the bathroom, and sweep.
  • I got completely ready to meet someone, BEFORE my usual rush period.
  • I went to bed when I felt tired – IMAGINE THAT

Grateful for:

  • Breaths – I can’t do deep breaths right away. Because I associate deep breaths with being calm. And most times I don’t feel calm. So I start with short, quick, ‘huffy’ breaths. And those usually quickly are able to move into deeper breaths that actually feel like I’m letting some anxiety go.

Hope you all have good weekends and weeks.

MBM

Monster space

Saturday, July 14, 2018 4:11pm

Jonsi’s Grow Til Tall… AGAIN.

High five to me for writing…the day BEFORE posting. Holy crap. What is happening? We really are in the ‘upside down’ if yours truly is planning out this far in advance.

But you know what gave it away that I’m still not really in the upside down? The fact that I stayed up until almost 8am this morning, playing a video game throughout the night.

Yes folks, I am an addict to {addict of?} video entertainment, especially [Stars of the Lid’s Ballad of Distances] video games. I feel like such a loser admitting that. I haven’t talked much about my so-called entertainment addiction on this blog. (And am I really addicted to it? I mean…I started playing this particular game because a friend merely mentioned it to me. Yes, then he showed it to me, but it’s like… oh wow, it’s really highly rated game… [SOTL’s Requiem for Dying Mothers] – suddenly I’m $30 bucks out and the next 24 hours are spent bingeing this game. Losing sleep, not eating or drinking anything, not answering calls / texts, and then afterwards feeling majorly depressed and constantly brushing away suggestions of suicide – is that addiction?)

Most every time I go out and meet with people, on the journey back home I think, wow, life isn’t so bad. It – the interaction – was a pretty good time. They seemed to like me. The conversation brought up stuff I was interested in – stuff I had forgotten that I had been interested in, and I think, hey I could do ‘that’. I could get back into ‘that’. And then I start planning out and having visions of my life getting back in shape again. And by the time I get home I’m riding this high of, THIS is the day / week / weekend I turn my life around! And then the moment I walk through the door of my apartment all of that falls away.

What do I want to talk about today?

  • Facing my ‘inner, unavoidable, fundamental monster space’?
  • The power of ‘reward time’?
  • What I offer to the world?
  • The power of just getting the fuck out of your apartment?

Am I valuable?
Am I good?
Do people find me interesting?
Do people think I am intelligent?
Do people like me?
Do…you/I like me?
Do I have something to offer the world that people want to keep coming back to? And is that something I, in turn, enjoy?

Facing my ‘Inner Monster Space’ (DSM-5 approved lingo folks. The DSfuckingM)*

*((sorry** I’m swearing. Don’t know why I’m suddenly self-conscious of swearing. … **Sorry for saying sorry X infinity.))

monster

Here you are internet. My debut as the world’s best goddamn graphic designer / animator. Revel in its glory.

THIS. (or that) THAT is my monster. Or rather the monster in the monster space. Actually, it’s one monster of many monsters. But with one original monster. It’s like Hinduism in a sense – {wtf???} {{Bear with me. You’ll see. You’ll definitely see}}. So you know like in Hinduism there are a bunch of deities which are incarnation of the same deity? Yeah, so that’s what’s going inside of my head, or at least, how I try to understand what’s going on in my head. So for eg, the voice monster that goes like: “You fucking idiot, you’re a failure-loser and you’re always going to fuck everything up for yourself” is really the incarnation of: “I’m scared / confused and don’t know what to do.” …Yeah?

ANYWAY.

What exactly is the space ‘monster space’? you ask.

It’s the space, not just where you face your fears… it’s the origins of those fears… I dunno – this is just the term I came up with a couple days ago when I was actually an adult for a couple of hours and paid my utility bills.

See…the reason why I binge games and Netflix and YouTube so much is because when I start trying to be an adult… suddenly….

I’M IN GODDAMN FUCKING MONSTER SPACE.

 

Suddenly there’s scary ass monsters flying everywhere around my head. And it makes everything I attempt to do REALLY HARD and REALLY SLOW. I have to pause literally every 30 seconds to try and focus on the original goal, because somewhere between ‘Open a browser window’ and ‘go to your electric provider website’, the You-are-a-fucking-piece-of-shit Monster decides to show up. Here he is again:

monster talk

Thank you YAFPOS Monster. Thank you. Oh what…it’s 30 minutes later and I haven’t done anything? GREAT.

This is turning into a MUCH longer entry than I thought.

But it is within Monster Space – hey maybe that’s the title of this entry – it is within this mental space where I have to learn to live. I have been trained to live in, or rather, EXPECT, ‘Rainbow Land’ as being the dominant state of my mind, but when Rainbow Land DOESN’T happen*

*which is pretty much all the time / the whole nature of life!!!*

*then I panic and try to escape Monster Space, by trying and recreating RL through video entertainment. And because today’s VE is a pretty sophisticated light show, it succeeds in being incredibly distracting, and my inner scared child goes Kevin style in Home Alone:

“Hey! I’m not afraid anymore!” But really I’m just staring, slack-jawed, at a screen, simulating RL.

My mind looks like this (kind of, more or less):

monsters

And I am somewhere standing in the middle.

Ugh, I’ve taken way too long trying to figure out how to make drawings.

The point is… if I want to get my shit together… if I want to stop being so addicted to video games… I have to acknowledge that ‘Monster Space’ is just a part of life. Occasionally the monsters say truly awful things. And sometimes they say tiny stuff. (Like, huh…that person’s voice sounds weird. <-Jackass).

But within Monster Space, there are gems. There are the good voices. The more time I spend in monster space, the better I’ll get at navigating all the different monsters and their tricks, as well as see what’s really going on. (This is all sounding like Inside Out – great movie btw).

But HOW do I stay in monster without having my anxiety SHOOT THROUGH THE ROOF. Because that’s what’s going on. The inner child is freaking out and it feels my body scrintching (<-DSM-5 baby) in stress, and the stressed out inner-parent is like uuuhhhh I KNOW! Here’s a video game! And…..ok here’s a 3 minute YouTube video! And….oh you haven’t watched THIS movie….in a while, so watch it again! Ah, it’s 12am and you need to get up in 5 hours? Does your body feel exhausted? Ok, that’s probably a good time to…WAIT NO WORK TOMORROW???

Hello 8am. Hello bed.

#winningatlife

And in the meantime, truly awful things are going on in the world and I am in my own stupid, pathetic drama.

Ok, ok. Pipe down.

  1. The way to stay in monster space (because monster space is really just normal ‘head space’ <- that’s a meditation app. {Wait…is the this very sentence ALSO the name of an app? 😉 😉 omg best joke ever})

SO THE WAY TO STAY IN monster space <- people, THIS is what it is like in my head. Everything is bouncing around all at once and can I just fucking focus on one thing for a bit?

I’ve also happened to catch myself in a goodish mood, also after coffee.

And… I decided to write this blog post and play around with trying to create stick-figure monsters INSTEAD of falling into my usual video entertainment trap.

SO THE WAY TO STAY IN MONSTER LAND IS:

Just create a ‘reward period’.

Tell myself/yourself that, ok, I am going to have play time at THIS specified time AFTER I have done adult stuff for X amount of time.

I’d like to show a couple extensive hyper realistic flow charts for all this inner programming of my thoughts / behavior:

Current behavior:

flowchart 1

What I’m trying to shift to:

flowchart 2

As I navigated those treacherous 2 hours of my life, whenever I ran into a ‘monster’, I had set out my large notepad, and just wrote whatever ‘it’ was saying down including the time. This was time consuming, yes, and I didn’t get much done, but it somehow…writing it down, and documenting it was helpful. It let me proceed. Often, inside, there is this terror of oblivion. Of struggling, crying, screaming – in silence – and if I write it down…maybe I think, “See, it is real. I am struggling.” Or…maybe it’s me trying to come to grips with the actual fact that time is passing, that it’s a process, etc (hence recording the time).

So this small practice was extremely helpful.

I’m gonna end it here. It feels sudden and abrupt, but I have to go and I’ve spent over 2 hours on this (6:12pm).

In essence, for me, it’s crucial to show my all powerful inner child that, ok, you CAN go to Rainbow Land / video games etc, but do it AFTER you work, and then you won’t feel as much shame and depression later. When the inner child (and the inner parent SEES / know’s there’s a plan.

[Note: Sunday, July 15: I was going to write more and finish this, by I just didn’t get it together. But hey – this whole thing I’m doing right now is about just being consistent and producing SOMETHING. So that’s where I’m at.]

Hope you enjoy.

Gratitude:
Discovering a random world cup party in the streets.
Good food.
My cat.
I dunno I want to keep saying friends but I’ve said that a bunch so far, but they are kind of my only lifeline (besides my sibling, who really is my lifeline).

Until next week. MBM

Days 4-7 Recap / 170718 Tuesday – Day 8

Brief, several day recap. I begin to develop a kind of daily checklist.

Sometimes I find it difficult to concentrate and remember: ok, what is this blog about again? I want it to be so many things.

I find that, occasionally (maybe even often) writing in this stream-of-conscious way tends to stir up my inner anxiety/despair/self-criticism. Why is that?

I want this to be some kind of record (for science??) about documenting the attempt of a 30-something white male to end an addiction to pornography, video entertainment, procrastination, excuses, avoidance, and a child/follower bear-no-responsibility mind-set over the course of a year.

But, a key step of recovery, I think, is replacing those activities with something that’s positive and something that develops and manifests the core of who I am, so wouldn’t this blog also need to include what I am doing, and not just what I have avoided doing?

Because, I’d like to think I am not just my addiction, even though whenever I think about who I am, that’s often what I think about.

We are a mix of desirable and undesirable qualities, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, if I could press a button and be perfect, I’m not sure what would stop me from pressing it. But what does that even mean, and is it even categorically possibly? What is ‘perfection’? And if I never made mistakes, I would lose something quintessential to myself. Would I even be able to recognize myself? Would I actually be conscious? Or just some kind of automaton? Is a fundamental part about being human the process of holding space for your imperfection and fallibility? The understanding that at this very moment, because of my lack of knowledge of the future and all options, I am on course to my next mistake, my next thousand mistakes, and eventually, my death.

I think I am going to develop a kind of checklist. I’m not sure if I will complete it daily, or if I will do a kind of review at the end of each week.

Work in progress:

CHECKLIST

  • Pornography? Yes, 1x, yesterday (Sun)
  • Video games? No
  • YouTube? Yes, in the presence of my partner.
  • Unstructured news browsing? Yes
  • Unstructured general browsing? Yes
  • TV/Movies? Yes, but with another human being
  • Maintaining clean apt? No
  • Sleep for at least 7 hour? No
  • Career/Passion work?
  • Misc/daily chore/task work?
  • Eating well?
  • Exercise?
  • Physical affection? (Hugs, cuddling, sex)
  • Feeling the inner parent?
  • Social interaction?
  • Introspection?

Frustrated by/ Needs work:

Grateful for:

I can feel how this blog can become an avoidance mechanism (and it has been that occasionally). I still am figuring out how to establish a balance.

One of my biggest challenges is simply maintaining some sort of basic schedule and plan for the day. 98% of my life has been becoming absorbed by some activity until an external force pulls me out of it.