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Update on my struggle to improve my concentration

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My attempt to improve my concentration has succeeded far more than I thought possible. I have effectively stopped interrupting myself during work to surf the internet. I can also now go 7 days without checking my email, only check the news three days a week and I even just recently went through a 72 hour period where I consumed no information whatsoever except for information which was directly work-related and that included music. Being able to resist email for a day was something that was simply unthinkable a short while ago. I was one of those types that would send out email where the whole point of the email was that it was so pointless that it was funny. I used to really like sending out these funny one-liners. Fortunately that has stopped. And as I recall the last time I tried anything like this, it was a real failure.

My initial plan was as follows: I keep track of how I spend all of my time. I've been doing this since 2011 and I now have it set up where I just need to press one button and that will log the activity and the time that it was completed on. Then once a day I have another program which is scheduled to compile all the stats into categories for analyzation. To be fair, though, the program does still have a lot of bugs in it and I do spend a lot of time debugging it. So my initial plan was to only not surf the internet during those hours when I'm working. But then I noticed something. I'll just click a button which will log that I'm not working and say to myself: 'ok, I'm not working, so now I can surf the internet.' This only happens about every two days but it's still a bad habit which can become worse. So now I need to take my concentration goals to the next level and shoot for even better concentration. My new plan is to only surf the web for pleasure reading during the last 15 minutes of the day and only for 5 days a week. Two of those days will be devoted to catching up on the news and I will only visit two news-sites: the Washingtonpost and fivethirtyeight. Here are some other rules I'm going to try to abide by:

1. Although I have drastically reduced sending out fun emails I still succumb to temptation every once in a while. So I'm going to try to cut this out completely.

2. I have drastically cut down multitasking. But I still need to establish rules so that I don't slip back into my bad habits. So one multitask that is real hard to resist is to watch videos while eating and to listen to audio books while driving. I'm going to have to set it up where I only watch videos during every other meal and to only listen to audio books during every other drive or something like that.

The benefits that I've gained from this recent determination to concentrate have been enormous. Since I keep track of how I spend all of my time I have precise stats on how much time I waste. During my 13 previous months before my new determination I wasted 10.8% of my free time per month. The real number is slightly higher, probably around 13% because some activities which I used to think were worthwhile I now consider to be a waste. I also sometimes cheat and forget to record certain activities that I'm not too proud of. In any case, last month I only wasted 4.7% of my time. Plus I feel so much better. One bad habit that I used to have was trouble getting out of bed. So every day when I woke up I would spend about 15 minutes surfing the web before I actually got up and started moving around. That was a real drain and fortunately it seems to be behind me.

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May 2022

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