place for a picture

Combatting brain fog and my headphones addiction, part 1

27.06.23

Brain fog has been seriously messing with my life for a while now. That's a huge part of the reason why I was such a bad student in university. That's why I cannot accomplish anything in my own projects.

So far there seem to be two factors that make brain fog appear: first is going to sleep after midnight and waking up after seven in the morning, and the second is using technology too much. The former is fairly straightforward: I am trying to fix it with varying degrees of success. But the latter is trickier. See, "technology usage" is not limited to "when you are at the laptop + some time afterwards". It also extends to wearing headphones.

I know, it does sound embarrassing. Kind of like those people who normally carry smartphones, decide to avoid doing so for a challenge and then find themselves experiencing withdrawal. I do not have such a problem with my phone - in fact, my phone can do very few things besides making calls and sending SMS. But I absolutely do with headphones. Going to university? Cover my ears. Go for an aimless walk? Cover my ears. Go to the store (which is only a kilometer away)? Also covering my ears. Recently my previous, over-the-ear headphones broke (and I still haven't resoldered them), but that didn't stop me either - I just switched to earbuds. It's as if I am scared of boredom. Or scared of being uncomfortably overexcited about now-loud intrusive thoughts.

So, now I am trying to beat this habit again. I have a hope that this experience being at least somewhat public would help me better control myself. I did not go outside that much today - only a scooter ride to the gym and then a walk to the store. First thing I noticed is that I actually got to the gym earlier than usual, even though the scooter speed felt the same. Neat. Same thing with the walk: it felt about a third shorter than it usually is. There were surprisingly few thoughts, mostly about Pupstrucion and this post. I have not yet reached the feeling I desire. It's not freedom and ease of thought, everything is just blank. But time will tell, it hasn't even been long yet. All I can say is that I do feel better than I used to already.

Also maybe I'll end up with podcasts on long bike rides, I don't mind. I just need to do it consciously and rarely.

***

Second day. First thing I did today was mess up the sleep part immediately.

Very hesitant to go outside for several hours without plugging my ears. Truly embarrassing. Before going for a walk, I remembered a Defcon talk I would want to relisten, as well as some related talks. But since I decided to post about this experience, I find it much easier to resist even though nothing is public yet. Huh, didn't know that even a blog that no one reads would be such a strong motivator, neat!

I felt amazing today. I am especially glad I took a notebook with me, since right on the walk I completed the job I wanted to do at home, while also thinking more efficiently. Absence of headphones also made me pay much more attention to my surroundings (and not like I usually don't), which I greatly appreciated. Though I regret not having a camera with me, there were some pretty fun scribbles on the fences.

Closer to the evening I really felt like something clicked just right.