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CombustibleLemon

CombustibleLemon trying not to combust

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Hi all!
I know that I'm one of these people who barely plan things ahead and always rely on "deadline panic" to get stuff done. With my thesis up ahead I thought I'd counteract this behaviour and make this challenge about trying to keep stress to a healthy minimum. 

 

 

Goal 1: Get started

To create emotional balance I need to get stuff done - especially right now I feel horrible after a day of doing nothing and start blaming myself for acting so lazy. Weekends are the worst, I tend to sleep in and stay in my pyjamas the whole day constantly thinking "there's plenty of time left, I'll do it later". So the first goal will include:

  • get up at 9 am at the latest during weekends & get dressed immediately
  • first thing done at my computer must always be work-related

 

Goal 2: Maintain balance

One thing that I'm really bad at creating but profit a lot from once I got it set up are to do lists. Somehow I either write way too much on it and get frustrated because I got so little done, or the list is way too easy to finish. Therefore I will take some time every evening before going to bed to set up a list of 5 items to do the next day to get a feeling for a realistic workload. (And get stuff done of course...)

  • before going to bed: to do list for the next day (5 items)
  • get the things from the list done (obviously...)

 

Goal 3: Recharge

As for everything, at some point motivation and energy levels drop. I tend to try and "power through" those phases - with little to no success and a lot of frustration - or "take a break" on netflix and well... At that point the day is basically over... Once I notice that I've reached this point I will instead try and allow myself to stop to meditate and/or exercise (stress-relieving yoga routines and the like are very much appreciated :D) and learn to know when to call it a day and get a good night's sleep.

  • at least 3x/week meditation/exercise
  • go to bed at 12 am at the latest during weekends
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3 hours ago, CombustibleLemon said:

first thing done at my computer must always be work-related

What a great idea. I may have to steal that one.

 

When you hit that moment of motivation and energy drop, maybe tell yourself "One more tiny win." That can be: finish this last thing, meditate, small workout, or something else that can get done quickly and easily. Then you won't feel like you are "giving up" when you call it a day.

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23 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

What a great idea. I may have to steal that one.

Yeah, I noticed that more often than not I turn on my computer, open up the document and then do something else for hours. Making it a rule to immediately start working before anything else is a great way to get around that.

 

23 hours ago, GoodDoug said:

When you hit that moment of motivation and energy drop, maybe tell yourself "One more tiny win." That can be: finish this last thing, meditate, small workout, or something else that can get done quickly and easily. Then you won't feel like you are "giving up" when you call it a day.

That's a great idea. Maybe some "mindless" work that needs to be done at some point, but doesn't require me at my cognitive peak. I actually kind of did that today after seeing your post. 6 pm, energy depleted, and I'm pondering whether I should drink a coffee and at least finish what I started or head home and see if my head clears up. Thought of the challenge and decided to stop working (guess I wouldn't have been able to get much more done anyway). I didn't feel quite content with that though, so once I was home I finished one last scheme to have that "tiny win" (and fulfill my rule of working before doing anything else on my computer). Also I got 4 out of 5 things from today's to do list done.

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5 hours ago, squeakyvalkyrie said:

Following! Nice looking challenge.

^This.

 

Also:

On 5/22/2019 at 8:21 PM, CombustibleLemon said:

As for everything, at some point motivation and energy levels drop. I tend to try and "power through" those phases - with little to no success and a lot of frustration - or "take a break" on netflix and well...

 

I may not be the best qualified person to talk about that but I've tried A LOT of things and, nowadays, I tend to have two days in my days: when my energy drops too low and I feel like I can't put in any productive work anymore, I just go home, cut off the phones, turn off any kind of distracting device, get on the sofa (the bed would be too comfortable and I'd stay in for too long), lie down and rest. Sometimes, I sleep, sometimes not. Usually, 2-3 hours later, I wake up and it's a new day with a new energy bar at the ready to use 'till it's time to go to bed in the evening.

 

I sleep very few at night, though, so if this helps me to "power through", it's probably not the healthiest of habits to have.

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23 hours ago, squeakyvalkyrie said:

Following! Nice looking challenge.

Hello again :D

 

18 hours ago, Jean said:

when my energy drops too low and I feel like I can't put in any productive work anymore, I just go home, cut off the phones, turn off any kind of distracting device, get on the sofa (the bed would be too comfortable and I'd stay in for too long), lie down and rest. Sometimes, I sleep, sometimes not. Usually, 2-3 hours later, I wake up and it's a new day with a new energy bar at the ready to use 'till it's time to go to bed in the evening.

I've actually been willing to do something like this for quite some time now. A while ago I saw a video on different sleeping habits and how they can affect you. There was even something crazy like 4 or 5 naps 1 or 2 hours each throughout the day and basically no sleep at night. Anyway, I know that I have a downtime at about 4/5 pm when my brain turns on zombie-mode and I can't get anything done, so I wanted to take a nap of a few hours then and sleep less during the night in return. Sounded great in theory, but didn't work. My schedule sadly doesn't allow something like that... Last semester I had multiple courses during that time (every day roughly from 1 or 3 to 6 pm, it was a weird schedule...) and this semester there's my thesis for which I'm at work in the institute for about 8 hours a day. Plus the ridiculously long trainrides I end up with a free-time frame from 8 to 12 pm. And at that point I can basically just go to bed and sleep through the night, or go exercising as training usually starts at 8 or 9. I guess this contributes to my stress affinity lately...

 

 

I got 3/5 things from today's list done. I didn't work on my thesis as much as I would have liked, but let myself get distracted a lot. I planned on having a draft finished by sunday evening, but there's still so many things missing that I think that won't be possible without a fuming head.

First thing I did at my computer at home was a missing scheme, so that's done.

By now it's already past 12 am, so no points here for today.

Concerning exercises I only got swim training on monday for this week yet. Also I focused on counting my breath for about 15 minutes on my trainride home from work today as some kind of an "emergency meditation", so let's say I'm at 1.5/3 here.

 

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Worked a lot on my thesis yesterday and today, I'm actually starting to see an end to this. Other than that I went to bed in time, but slept in yesterday. I also totally forgot about the to do lists before going to bed, but instead wrote them in the morning, or rather tried to. I find it really hard to think of 5 things to do because the stuff I imagine (like finish writing chapter x) is always way too big and already involves 3 "sub-points". And then something's not working the way it should or goes wrong in any other kind so I end up spending 2 hours "fixing" stuff.

Turning on my computer and immediately do something work-related has been working out quite well I must say. It kind of tricks me into working until my energy drops instead of wasting 2 hours doing nonsense beforehand. Today I spent the entire day at the institute working on my thesis and when I came home I didn't even have the motivation to turn on my computer because I didn't want to work on it any more. Made me take care of some stuff around the house first and complete a 10 minute meditation session. Afterwards another little scheme that had been waiting to be finished for a while and here I am now, even struggling with writing this post because my brain already shut down.

 

Also I read that the mini-challenge is about walking during this first week. I guess I'll use that as another "distraction" every now and then.

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Yesterday was okay, today was horrible. I did not work on the thesis at all today. Instead I cleaned the flat, cooked a healthy meal, got some laundry done and took a walk (doing my part in the mini challenge :D). I'm constantly bouncing between "Sh*t I have so much left to do and so little time!" and "Ah you're almost done, there's two weeks left, don't stress out that much". In reality I'm probably somewhere in between so either mindset isn't perfect.

Also I didn't do any exercise this week yet, only that meditation on tuesday and I can feel that neither my mind nor my body are happy with sitting in front of a screen all day trying to focus on chemistry. (Which is the feeling I wanted to avoid in the first place) Tomorrow's bodyweight training with friends again, so I'll set it on my to do list to attend it.

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There you are!  I'm still in panic mode right now (I have until 12 noon on Sunday to submit my assessment) but I shall be back! (eventually) :D 

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On 5/31/2019 at 12:35 PM, Guzzi said:

There you are!  I'm still in panic mode right now (I have until 12 noon on Sunday to submit my assessment) but I shall be back! (eventually) :D 

Oh hi, hope you got that done in time and that the panic's gone now. :)

 

 

I pay way less attention to this challenge than I ought to, but at least I get stuff done. I didn't set up any to do lists lately, I stayed up late and I got out of bed late, but my computer usage has never been more productive. This "first thing done must be work related"-thing is really saving my butt. I'm almost done now and I feel way more relaxed than last week (I might have had one or two emotional breakdowns only chocolate could cure... *cough*)

I also did some meditation and walking in between, but didn't go to training the entire week and I can feel that I need it. Yesterday I walked around almost the entire day, enjoying the weather (because work can't dare to steal me the pleasure of the first 30 degree day this year), but I felt so drained afterwards that I just fell asleep without getting anything done. Today was pretty productive again, I took my laptop outside and spent most of the day simultaneously enjoying the sun and working.

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On 6/2/2019 at 12:23 PM, CombustibleLemon said:

This "first thing done must be work related"-thing is really saving my butt. I'm almost done now and I feel way more relaxed than last week (I might have had one or two emotional breakdowns only chocolate could cure... *cough*)

 

On 6/2/2019 at 12:23 PM, CombustibleLemon said:

Today was pretty productive again, I took my laptop outside and spent most of the day simultaneously enjoying the sun and working.

 

Sometimes sunshineand a change of scene is the answer to keep yourself balanced during a stressful week. And sometimes it's chocolate. But it looks like you've figured out a tactic that really works for you with the whole "do work first" bit. I know it would have saved my ass if I had done that when I was writing my giant final project. Good luck with the rest of it! :) 

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Soooooo... Let's wrap up this challenge that I basically abandoned after 2 weeks:

 

The good stuff first: the "first thing done at my computer must always be work-related" thing worked out great. I still went through a lot of stress that could have been avoided, but at least I was productive every single day.

 

I seldomly got up at 9 or to bed at 12 after the first two weeks of the challenge. But that wasn't always caused by lazyness. I'm a night owl, I find it way easier to stay up late to get work done rather than get up early and start right away. Sometimes to stop working and going to bed at 12 am felt like I'd waste time that could be used in a productive way since I was still able to focus. I've been willing to keep track of my energy levels for quite some time now. Maybe by setting up an Excel sheet where I can put in energy levels and motivation hourly. (guess I found my first objective for the next challenge)

 

The exercises went well for the first two weeks, but after that I was stressing out about the deadline so much that I always got the feeling that I didn't have time for this. That I would lose another 2 hours there and maybe even be too drained to continue working afterwards. However, after I handed in my thesis everything "went back to normal" and damn did I need the exercise! I went swimming again, got back to the bodyweight exercise group and even found a parkour group in town that practises once a week :)

 

Sadly, after about a week into this challenge, I stopped with the to do lists. My goal here was to learn to set realistic expectations, but I am still far from that. I thought that if I would just push myself to think of something every day, I would eventually learn how much is actually possible, but I guess I just got too comfortable not setting expectations instead of being frustrated all the time. Maybe I should try this once again while I'm not stressed out by deadlines. So that even not fulfilling the goals wouldn't feel like a gigantic failure accompanied by the fear of not finishing in time. Or maybe I should try to learn the other way around: write down what I accomplished to do during the day. Though this might make it trickier to start doing stuff in the first place.

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On 6/27/2019 at 4:11 PM, CombustibleLemon said:

I handed in my thesis

 

Just reacting late to this, because woot woot and congrats!

 

giphy.gif

 

 

 

 

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