Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekly Summary 10/15/10 to 10/21/10

(Just to let you know, I'm switching the title of these posts to "Weekly Summary" since I noticed that it isn't accurate to say study summary since the writing consists of more than that.)

Generally I had a nice week, but man was it a failure for studying! I only completed one math practice and chapter eleven of Good Calories, Bad Calories, completing four conceptual exercises; and didn't get anywhere near finished with Journals of Ayn Rand or The Logical Leap. I even failed to construct the appropriate amount of blog posts before the deadline, though I excuse that on the basis of a spontaneous work shift, a higher value to me. I did not entirely neglect Journals or TLL, for I did crack them open and attempt to complete my assignments, it's just that my concentration was so weak that I progressed at an atrociously slow rate. As of writing I have only completed twenty pages of the chapter of Journals, and it took me nearly all day to advance that far. It's the worst kind of daydreaming that is haunting my efforts: The kind that happens without you being aware of it, persists for several moments before you become cognizant of it, and promptly happens again even after reestablishing concentration. While reading Journals I kept dazing off over and over again, and the things that made me aware of it was acknowledging that either irrelevant thoughts were popping into my head while thinking or noticing that I had been staring at the same paragraph for quite some time. (I have the habit of stopping reading or moving my eyes over the same sentences over and over again if I lose my comprehension of what I'm reading. I seldom ever have the problem of merely verbalizing the words of the reading in my head without mentally paying attention.)

Worse yet, rubberducking had very little impact and was unable to clear my mind, or else it's merely helping me concentrate in different contexts. One day I tried clearing my head with nearly forty minutes of straight rubberducking about the Circumstance and it still didn't work, so I gave up, ate dinner, and wasn't able to reestablish mental control until I did some extended writing. What I mean about rubberducking working in different contexts is that it seems that rubberducking is working to clear my mind in other areas. I've never been performing better cognitively at work before. I don't have much time to rubberduck while driving to work, but I do make do with what time I have, and it seems to work to the extent that I am unbothered by thoughts of the Circumstance my entire shift. It has drastically improved my productivity, my mood and its consistency, and my dealings with my coworkers. If a thought about the Circumstance were to come up, I have been able to brush the thought away as easily as popping a bubble. Rubberducking has been so helpful with work, in fact, that I haven't been needing my Mental Calvinball games, conceptual exercises, or thinking lists to keep my mind occupied. Sure, I may not be making the most productive use of my mental faculties, but the point is that while I'm letting my mind stray, it's not straying to unpleasant thoughts as it has in the past.

When I'm anywhere else, however, thoughts about the Circumstance suddenly become lead bubbles: heavy and near indestructible. Regardless of whatever mood I'm in I seem nearly unable to quit thinking about it; it's like some addictive intellectual puzzle. Even more strange is that it seems to randomly come and go. In the incident mentioned above, I had been plagued by thoughts about the Circumstance so heavily that it ground my attempts at reading to a halt, and even the longest rubberducking session to date was unable to defeat it, but when I gave up and did a draft for a chocolate review suddenly my mind was clear. What in the world?

At the very least it's great that rubberducking is helping my work productivity to such an extent since my career is one of my highest values, but that isn't nearly sufficient. I still want to be able to engage in my studies, because I think I'm wasting time otherwise. There is but one life to live. How shall I, then, work to reestablish my concentration? I have no new strategies; I think it's all just a matter of reemploying the techniques that worked in the past in combination with raw discipline. No excuses on my part.

So what of this weekly period, then? I say take another shot and complete one section of each study subject. I know it may seem logical to add on an additional assignment for Journals and TLL since I've already finished part of them, but I haven't gotten very far into those sections and they're way longer than I anticipated. The vast amount to read before me, I think, will be sufficient on its own. In the personal realm, I have to admit I'm slightly stumped. Continue trying to strengthen concentration and rubberduck? Sounds good, but what else? How about I complete some more significant blog posts than usual, and also take it upon myself to tackle my to-do lists? The latter is especially important due to its continued neglect. Alright, that sounds good. Lastly, I'll strive to complete three math exercises.

As a brief update on my Project, things are still pretty much the same, though there have been some positive developments and a minor, nearly insignificant setback. After noticing an error I made I realized that I'm actually more than 56% of the way to my goal, which is much better than the 49% I originally thought. I can't tell you what those developments are or what those numbers stand for, but at the very least I'd like to let you know that some small progress is being made, and in the right direction.

Well then, onwards to another week of pursuing life and to the hope that success is soon at hand.

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