GHDO for September 9: Sloughing through the Month

GHDO for September 9: Sloughing through the Month

"Groundhog Day Do Over: Sloughing through the Month" Monthly update time!

It has been an unremarkable month that has felt busy but not very productive. In this report I’ll note some of the concerns I’ve had recently so I can address them in the month ahead.

The Challenge from Last Month

First let’s pick up from In last month’s report. I had proclaimed two goals!

  1. Continue maintaining the Creative Bubble schedule (Saturday-Tuesday social, Wednesday-Friday extreme isolation).
  2. Continue to monitor my bupropion trial to see if this unprecedented brain silence continues. If it does, that would be a tremendous game changer!

Regarding Creative Bubbling

I’m still maintaining the creative bubble, though I’ve amended it to be SUN-MON-TUE for “errands + social interaction” and WED-THU-FRI-SAT as “work time”. This gives me four uninterrupted days instead of three. While having four uninterrupted days eliminates the problem with external distraction, it is still up to me to maintain my mental focus. If I am upset or otherwise emotionally off-balance, the isolation doesn’t help. Being able to get in the zone is still a challenge.

Regarding Bupropion

I elected to maintain the same dosage after ending the three week trial. It continues to help me think straight without losing my train of thought, which is great. However, there are a few additional caveats:

  • The improved ability to hold-on to thoughts longer also applies to negative thoughts. It’s easy to dwell on bad thoughts when I’m feeling down, and I even had a couple of days when I felt extreme anxiety and stress at levels I haven’t had since 1998 when I was working at a terrible job. Yikes!

  • Bupropion is not sufficient by itself to be productive. I still need to make myself engage in planning, keep an eye on my time management, and actively maintain a positive attitude for the sake of my working morale.

Overall I am pretty satisfied, though I am wondering if I can reduce my dosage further.

Project Progress

Let me split this into both physical and mental project progress. The issue I’ve had in this past month is largely mental.

Physical Project Aspects

The main physical projects:

  • I’ve been doing a lot of Javascript work for the six months, building systems upon systems. It’s kind of great that I’m feeling much more in command of the language than I did five years ago.

  • I have been slowly making little tweaks to my website and social media, thinking about how to improve it. I’ve rewritten parts of the home page and updated my Twitter profiles.

One of the limits this year is to just have ONE MAIN GOAL (development for 2020) and let other things just happen as I take breaks from it. The website/social media used to be a big project prior to this year, but I had found I couldn’t level-up my development knowledge at the same time.

Mental Project Aspects

My work morale has slipped because there is so much to be done, and I have been working largely solo on all of it. I am starting to try injecting collaborative elements into the work myself just so I feel better about it. While the creative bubble is necessary to get the work done, I need a social creative bubble to feed my soul.

I am also stuck in the middle of a lot of things and am dealing with an unusually high load of external stressors outside my control.

As a result, I am really feeling frustrated by my lack of progress on EVERYTHING and with EVERYBODY. This is an undirected and irrational anger, I think…I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms until just now. I can calm the heck down and practice a few counter-strats that might help alleviate the stress.

  1. Improving Time Management: My relationship with time is rather negative, as I constantly fall short of my own expectations. I suspect my definition of time management is not quite right.

  2. Resetting Expectations: I have been making the mistake of thinking that the world should be a better documented place. It is not. When I am already failing my own expectations and the WORLD is also failing my expectations, that just makes me angrier. It’s kind of foolish and I don’t want to be angry. Can I learn to let go?

  3. Maintaining Morale: When I’m in a funk, I don’t work well even with the bupropion. As I mentioned, buproprion appears to have the effect of being depressed with GREAT CLARITY of thought…yeep! In addition to project work, I also need strats for (1) handling gender dysphoria and (2) handling social interactions that affect me emotionally, as I am very susceptible to absorbing other people’s emotions.

Wrapping Up

This has been a month without “big wins” to counteract the negative thoughts that have built-up, and this has led to more existential thoughts of how I have “failed to measure up” to the expectations of others. There was once someone who commented angrily to me that I was repeating the same thing over and over again, and this has been on my mind a great deal.

Having thought through it, though, I am feeling OK. Although I don’t have control of everything and wish I was faster-better-stronger, I do have control over making things. I continue to discover and refine the factors that help me improve. I’m a neurotic overthinker that has to make a larger effort than most (I think) to get past my own mental blocks, and I can’t just handwave it away. Even as I tell myself to just “let things go” of these negative thoughts, I still need something positive and constructive to grab in its place.

Anyway, here’s the list of things that I think will help:

  • Improve Time Management by replacing my faulty emphasis on “predict/execute” to “time block/measure”. I will plan more loosely, but still plan at a results level. Maybe I need to write the plan every day from scratch, like a “menu of the day”.

  • Reset Expectations that the world should be correctly documented. It is the rare exception to be appreciated when it is found. I’ll try to try adopting an “explorative questioning” approach in its stead; personally, I don’t think this will go well for me but let’s just see what happens.

  • Maintain Morale by (1) initiating dialog with therapist and (2) stop being so hard on myself for falling short of my expectations. Even as I type that I am feeling I somehow deserve to be punished, but the pragmatic side of my brain knows that it doesn’t help anything. Let me try to rise above this sense of shame and persevere to see what happens.

So that’s the report! Wish me luck! :-)

About this Article Series

For 2020 I am NOT doing Groundhog Day Resolutions, and am instead thinking about what life is like without them. You'll find the related posts on this subject at 2020 NOT Groundhog Day Resolutions page. You can also find the link under the INVESTIGATIONS menu item on my website.