Self Empiricism

Added 2022-07-30

Patterns revealed from 80+ of my journal entries, and why you should start journaling.

I recently finished adding tags and descriptions to all my past journal entries, in the process I had to re-read them all. Several patterns jumped out and seemed useful to note down in order avoid them in the future.

Over committing

I say "I will do X" far more than I do X. A norm of always doing what I say I will is better productivity-wise, to cultivate that I need to stop over committing though. Especially need to avoid saying "I will do X" when X isn't particularly appealing; it's setting me up for failure and updating self-beliefs to "I don't do what I say I will," which is bad.

Part of this is my aversion to the word try, but if I want to "do or do not" I've got to do less.

Too hard on myself

Reading my past posts I get the sense of a monkey and god trapped in an abusive relationship. Self Loyalty and Soares's replacing guilt approach seem better, I just have to figure out how to implement it properly without losing my drive.

Being constantly critical of myself and never positive leads to depression when things aren't going well and lowers productivity.

I'm going to be more positive in the future, reframing "I wasted two hours today" to "Wow, I got X, Y and Z done despite wasting two hours! Imagine how powerful I'll be after utilizing all my time. :)"

Constantly Tired

I constantly have dark circles under my eyes, but reading my old journal entries really drives it home. I'm consistently tired and not getting enough sleep!

Going to bed on time for me means avoiding all the ways I stay up late, here's my planning to prevent this, hidden since it isn't important for the post.


High level ways I stay up late, specifics, actions to mitigate scenario.

  • On my computer, especially getting back on my computer after dinner
    • Get all work done before dinner so I don't need to get back on, if I fail at this let it be and do the work tomorrow.
    • Be okay with missing journal entries, I can write them the next day and fix my streak.
  • Reading a book
    • Don't start books when it's my bedtime. Treat reading a book is an atomic action that takes a minimum of 1-3h, sometimes more.
    • Be especially suspicious about reading fiction books before bed, I have stayed up late reading math books but it happens less.
  • Social things
    • I almost always get home from social things by 11, hence if my regular bedtime is around 11 social things won't cause problems.
    • For online social things (especially people with different time-zones and sleep schedules) say no ahead of time, and don't join VC "just to see what's going on" - that never ends well.

Time working inversely correlates with quality

A good amount of the days I work more than 8 hours, the "work" involves reading random stuff, or generally work that appears scatterbrained in retrospect; not doing the most important things.

In the future I'll focus more on doing the most important things while still trying not to waste time.