I struggle when I don’t know what to next. I cope by trying to have a default behavior I can do when I get that uncomfortable feeling. Usually, that’s some form of distraction–watching youtube, reading manga, doing a puzzle, it changes. As of late, it’s been work. I’ve spent 3-4 days in a row working from 9am to 2am. On one hand, it feels great. I feel productive and competent. The work is for a good cause and I’m excited by it. On the other, it’s unsustainable, I’m forgetting to eat, my body is a mess and everything else feels like an intrusion or distraction to the work. The same happens regardless of the default behavior. Having it be work is an improvement since at least now I feel productive instead of lazy.
I’ve had this tendency for as long as I can remember. Moderation, is not something that has ever come easily to me. For most of my life, I’ve thought that changing the default was enough to manage it. The past 2 years working from home has taught me that this is not an effective strategy. I’ll get bored, the default will rotate and the behavior persists.
It doesn’t matter the default behavior, the obsession with it is the problem. I feel like a selfie taker. So preocuppied with getting the perfect shot, that they walk right off a cliff. Focus is great, but not at the expense of awareness.
When you don’t know when to stop. How can you become aware that you aren’t stopping? For me, there’s this deeply ingrained rule I’ve had in my head since I was a kid: “One more…”. It didn’t matter if I was playing a video game, reading a book, or riding my bike. As long as it was something I enjoyed, I would always try to get one more _____ in and rely on my parents or friends to stop me. I’m getting better at recognizing this mental rule and I’m building the habit of doing the opposite when I hear it play in my head. I’m also trying to recognize the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to do next and letting it be without trying to change it. These things seem to help.