Snooze reflex

Exhausted and overwhelmed. Why do I keep on snoozing on life? Why am I rushing all the time?

I want to spend more time on the things I enjoy doing and stay with one activity longer.

I want to be able to just go in deep without constraints of schedule — when I should eat, sleep, break it to join a call, or to show up for family time. I want to disarm that “for later” trigger. Where I feel I “got not time / energy for this” because I need to save some energy for other things I “should” do. I want to disarm that tendency to overcomplicate things. Where the anticipation or notion of a task take more of my time than the task itself.

To dismantle the snooze reflex; to give myself the mental permission to go all-in; To be less restrictive with my resources.

I would love to be able to start something and not stop until I want to. To not have to stop because “I have to“. Stay with those thoughts, ideas, and feelings a little bit longer. Let them develop, observe, handle. Don’t keep jumping to the next shiny object — cycling through the list of 1000 brilliant insights I have, like a merry go round. To sit down and make a choice. Focus. Don’t jump all over the place, moving an inch into millions different directions. Keep rushing to the next experience, seeking distractions.

Don’t break up my sessions unnecessarily. Don’t second-guess whether or not right now is the best time to dive deep. Attend to an insight, the spark, a seed, longer – and develop it. Don’t hop around. I can create that mental space. I can grow my resource.

Decrease mental packet sniffing and capturing. Decrease idea generation. Increase time to savour, process, and produce. Less hunting, more tending the garden. Finish my half drawn circles so it can bleed into other circles and form a solid network of springs.

Hello old friend

I have wrestled with this since I can remember. Researching, collecting, and hoarding. Thinking “I better grab this now while it’s still here. I can shove it down the backlog and work on it when I get the time” . Living too much in the Just-in-Case mode.

I know I’m not the only one with this tendency to snooze. Tsundoku or book-hoarding is a form of security blanket.

So many ideas, so many plans. So little time, so little energy. Overwhelmed. Can’t choose!

FOMO is a thing because this is one of the biggest mental bug in human.

Feelings, feelings

Not only with mental activities, I try to do this with feelings as well.

I will sit with emotions longer, positive or negative. Whether if I am happy, excited, thrilled, surprised, curious. I try and feel those things longer. Be curious longer, excited longer, grateful longer.

When I feel noticed any discomfort, fear, or anxiety, I try to not push them away or run away too soon, and instead stare back at them; not in a confrontational way, but in a mix of curious and nonchalant way.

I find with negative emotions it helps diminish the feelings and situations, while doing it to positive emotions help boost and persist the experience longer, more permanent. I realised I’ve been muting and dismissing most of my emotions.

Same old, same old

I realised this is not the first time I’ve come to this conclusion.

This dream of “boundless schedule / time allocation” is essentially the same with the desire for “freedom is to be able do anything I want whenever I want for however long I want with whomever I want”.

But it never clicked in that specific way. It takes multiple articulation to internalise something, eh?

Owning my schedule” is another articulation I had which basically means the same thing.

But “don’t hit pause” still triggers a lightbulb moment.

Dat Snooze Reflex

One benefit of daily journaling practice is expanding the capacity of your mental RAM — your short term memory store. I would try and recall the thing I saw, I ate, I read, I thought of, I heard, I learned that day. This forces me to engage more senses and pay more attention to the different experiences, insights, and observation I get during. Mind is on debug mode. I still get distracted a lot, but I will remember it eventually and able to write them down so I don’t need to keep them in my head.

Another thing I’ve also been doing for more than a year is keeping track of my time allocation 24/7. Every time I switch activity I would hit Stop on the app, log what I was doing until that point, and then hit Start before doing this next thing / going into another mode of operation.

It has helped me to go into an activity more intentionally, multitask less, be more focused, and become more mindful of what I am doing at. Because once I hit start, I don’t want to “taint” the session.

The flip side of this is it triggers a bit of a breakpoint reflex in my head. Shorter flow, never gotten too long or deep in the moment. Always controlled and “on guard“. Always aware — “what was I doing just now?

Fortunately this doesn’t happen when I’m in complete flow. When researching, working, and creating. It’s easy to do deep work for one and a half hour for example, and not have that breakpoint pop up.

What this allows me to do is to catch myself in the middle of mindless phone scrolling sessions. I almost never go too long in junk activities. I still go into Instagram or Twitter and scroll for 45 mins if that’s what I set out or allow myself to do. E.g. at the end of the day, when I don’t have anything else I want or need to do, and I can afford to “waste” the remaining of the hours before I go to bed.

Stay with the Ugh

Getting started is always more difficult than maintaining the momentum.

I have come to develop and landed on different strategies when I’m slammed by a snooze reflex.

I found that whenever I’m not in the mood of working, checking Slack gets me through that initial hurdle. It snaps me into the reactionary mode and it’s easier to start on other tasks afterwards.

Whenever I’m not feeling like doing cardio, I try and stay with it at least for 5 minutes. I give myself the permission to stop after 5 minutes.

Whenever I’m not feeling like writing, or stuck, I hung out with my drafts for 10 minutes, moved things around, start typing random garbage.

When I feel anxious, I started jotting my thoughts down and revel in the rut instead of grabbing my phone to distract myself.

I guess another big part of practicing this successfully is to also be fully conscious, aware, and intentional that I am doing these. it’s like making that mind-muscle connection when you’re lifting weights.

Misc stuff I stumbled upon

The time confetti. fragments / chunks of free time. Not enough to get into flow. Fragmenting our leisure into small distracted minutes of time that can easily be squandered.

“I’ve just scheduled it to another point in my life”

I don’t like rapid fire questions. Often I’d love for the interviewer to ask follow-up questions to the answers. Go deep.

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