Breaking a Monotonous Routine (WIP)

Wow. I got off the phone with my mentor (D) and spent a good chunk of it asking him about how he operates day to day. “D” is a C-Suite executive at a local company and has been helping me to understand his workflow and life on a deeper level. These meetings have helped me to understand myself more and allow me to shift my focus on what I need/want to accomplish in my life.

A common theme this past week has been “Oh shit, I’m in this rat race and I don’t want to be here anymore”. What we discussed today was about the monotonous routine most people (including myself) goes through and how to break the cycle.

When I asked D how he broke it, he replied ‘I didn’t”. He went on to explain that after working at HP from the end of high school to several years following his graduation from college, he was able to land a management role and placed into several projects which prevented the growth of a monotonous mindset. Every day was a ‘new adventure’ as he put it. That’s something I tried to strive for when I first started at my current job, but I didn’t know how to keep it going without a routine to fall back on. Every day of my life has a routine and I’m finding that’s causing my eventual a) burnout and b) general unhappiness. I need to break that routine.

“If life is monotonous, everything goes by so fast and everything is the same. It’s the same as that mindset of ‘Same shit, different day’”.

D., 2.26.2020

My routine is as follows:

-Wake up at 6:30

-Get ready, eat breakfast, leave the house by 7:30

-Start work at 8, lunch at 12pm. Work till 5pm

-Get to the gym at 5:20pm, lift, and leave by 6:15pm

-Dinner at home at 6:45pm

-GMAT studying 7-9pm

-Rainbow Six 9-10:30pm

-Sleep by 11pm

This has been my routine for the past few months, and while it’s comforting to know I have a set routine, it’s also boring as hell. I need something to change up in my workflow and this is what D suggested:

  • Instead of working 100% all the time, work 95% and leave that 5% for a break. Give yourself a break and refuel yourself along the way to make sure you’re still getting work done without burning out for a long period of time.
  • Don’t push off work and get it done as soon as you get it. Easier said than done, coming from  a master procrastinator lol. I can pretend I’m busy working while I’m actually browsing Reddit. I need to get my work done as soon as it’s assigned. I’ll sleep better and improve my reputation. Double whammy.

My conclusion?

Find something that’s productive to do during my breaks. I enjoy analysis, so I do stock analysis when I can. This coronavirus outbreak is really intriguing as it’s causing a huge pullback in the market (DOW down by 1900+ points in 3 days). I’m curious as to how far the market will drop, etc. etc. Lot’s of work to be done. The most important thing, is to find a hobby or activity that will propel me forward yet keep me mentally stimulated. Video games are great, but won’t cut it long term or make a marked improvement in my life. Instead of living with a giant goal in mind, D suggests I live day-to-day with a hyperfocused mindset.

More to come.

J.

confessions (part 1)

Any post titled with the term ‘confessions’ is a continuation of this post. It’s been a downer of a week—one of the worst ones I’ve had in a while. I’ve been toying with the idea of suicide on and off. It’s hard to keep moving forward sometimes. The few things keeping me together are work, constantly writing journal entries, my ‘memory’ Spotify playlist, and the Toast Crew. My friends and girlfriend are supportive and want to help, but I don’t want to burden them with my feelings. After all, it’s my life and they shouldn’t try and help. I’m alone on this journey.

Entry 1:

(This was a drafted message I planned on sending to a good friend of mine. Also reads this blog)

First: I’m okay. I’m not planning on doing anything stupid.

i can’t tell you how many times i’ve wanted to end my life over these past decade. The things that stop me from ending it all is mostly external. I can’t imagine what it would do to my grandma and family. Everyone but my dad would get hit the hardest. My cousin and I share a special bond and that doesn’t come automatically. We’ve spent a lot of time talking and we understand each other deeply. I don’t want to think about how you would feel if I killed myself. Sometimes I think it would be best if I just disappeared and ghosted everyone so y’all would forget about me and stop wondering where I would go/what im doing.

I don’t dare bring it up to C1 (since his dad is close with my dad and is a psychologist) and I don’t think C2 knows–i’ve never explicitly told him. I’ve thought about seeking mental care, but that’s a story i need to tell you in person. My dad found out about how I felt back in 2012 and every now and then when we doing something dangerous, he’ll bring up that memory and try to make sure i’m not having those thoughts. But he does it in a way of mocking like “what are you gonna do—drive straight into the wall? “I can’t hold on any longer….blah blah blah”. It hurts so much when he does that, but it’s something i deal with right now. I loved attending and living at college because it gave me the option of living away from home. My dad would tell me he missed me, but I was happy to be away (most of the time). But when I came home, we’d be good for a few weeks until the mocking came back.

I’m labeled as ‘uncoachable’ by my dad because I refuse to listen. I refuse to listen because when he yells at me, criticizes me, etc., I just want to hear nothing. Every day is a negative journey at home until I can get to my room, turn on my computer, study, play video games, and hang out with my mom and dog. I feel awkward when I’m alone with my dad. I deny him whenever he tells me loves me or is proud of me. I can’t understand why he says these things when his actions seem so backwards. Every time I hear from him, I feel a hole in my chest or a rock in my stomach.

College was easy. Life is hard. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about suicide at least once. Doesn’t have to be anything concrete (lol), just the thought of disappearing so no one would remember me. I don’t want anyone to worry about me so I tell them I’m doing well. That nothing is going wrong, and everything is fine. I’m on track to pass the GMAT and make it into graduate school. That I have wonderful friends and want to get married. When in reality, the fantasy of ending it all creeps into my mind every night before I go to sleep, or every morning when I wake up (or both).

I made a promise to BT that I would never hurt myself. I don’t want to break that promise. Would I be forgotten?

I’m crying at work. I’m in a lot of pain, but it’s something i need to sort out myself.

J.

Nervous Breakdowns

I had a nervous breakdown yesterday. It was a weird experience where I was conscious through the whole process, but just felt off. I stared at my screen for a solid 5 minutes at work while processing what was running through my head. Thoughts like:

-“You’re not good enough to be working here”

-“You’re a waste of space and a detriment to your family. You suck!”

-“EVERYTHING IS YOUR FAULT. It’d be better if you disappeared or didn’t exist!”

Talk about an overwhelming experience. Going through these thoughts put me in a constant loop for 5 minutes straight in between processing checks and a minute writing project due at the end of the day. After the breakdown, I sat there for another 10 minutes going through the motions of work before I finally kicked back into my normal gear. Weird. I’ve never had a full on nervous breakdown like this before. Where my heart started beating ultra-fast, thoughts of my past racing through my mind, and where my self-esteem was back in the dirt. I needed an exit and FAST. But I stayed put.

I’ve read that it’s better to face your fears and face your weakness rather than getting into a habit of escaping them. Now that doesn’t apply to everything, but it definitely helped me here, as I made myself face this self-created wall of doubt, fear, and anxiety. It wasn’t until this morning, where I came across two documents I put together in the case I hit rock-bottom again (rock bottom will be discussed in another, JUICY post).

These two documents were the adrenaline “shots” that I took in 2018 following an ugly breakup and one of the deepest holes I put myself into. Crying every day and wallowing in fear of being unable to get over this girl turned into becoming more confident, getting stronger both physically and mentally, and learning everything I could. I read 6+ books on how to develop a stronger mind and how to set my life right (thank you, Tony Robbins). Every now and then though, I fall back into a ditch of self-despair and self-hate.

It just happens.

But it’s important as hell to get back up and keep moving forward. I took a long break from gaming and haven’t really looked back. I’ll play occasionally with my friends, but only with my friends AND if I’m feeling it. Music really makes a difference too. If you’re not already following my Spotify playlist, it’s on the home page!

Basically, I fell into a hard ditch where I was having a nervous breakdown at work. I got through it by re-reading my affirmations (which I haven’t done in MONTHS) and really calming myself down so I could think clearly. I love myself and I love what I’ve done. I need to remember that just because I make a mistake with one part of my life, DOES NOT mean that I’m worthless every where else. Remember: You are loved, and this (whatever the situation) will pass.

Hopefully I’ll be contributing more to my blog. The only way is up!

— J

[Raw] My experience with failure.

Growing up, I was always told to never make mistakes.

“Just don’t make mistakes. Failure is a HORRIBLE teacher–it’s just a step in the wrong direction” – Mentor

I was raised believing that mistakes were the ultimate enemy. If I failed, there was no return. Fail once and you’re done. When it gets down to the wire and the only way is forward, I’m cold. I get shit done. Nothing gets in my way when I don’t have time to think. But when I start to question myself and the things I’m capable of, I crumble. I begin to think I’m a faker, that I can’t actually do anything. Graduating from college and walking on the stage, I repeatedly thought “How did I ever graduate from here? How is it possible that I passed my courses?”. Every day I would wake up thinking I was the biggest idiot. There was no way my parents could be proud of me—even if they said so. I’ve always thought I was the odd man out from my social groups. It didn’t matter what kind of awards or competitions I won. It didn’t matter if I did well or excelled at a certain kind of field. Nothing was ever going to be good enough. I thought I was garbage. The bottom of the barrel.

Fast forward to the present day. I had just returned from a successful client event down South and had received multiple emails about how grateful my bosses were of my help. I was proud of myself to see this and put it in my ‘Wins’ folder. Even my parents mentioned they were proud of me. Riding on that high, I kept doing everything well. I was coming into work, dominating the day, and going home happy. But then today, something happened. While performing my daily check on a client website, I screwed up someone’s role. It was a small mistake but enough to warrant an email from the client requesting information for the mistake. I immediately stopped my work. I started to think about how many times I was warned by my parents to NEVER fail; failing is bad and is a step in the wrong direction. I started to think how much of a screw up I was. I was legitimately scared of losing my job. One small mistake could upend my whole career and prove to everyone how much of a fraud I was.

I got this message while I was facilitating another client’s meeting. Fortunately, this was a tele-conference with no webcams. No one could see me shuddering and feeling scared. I was terrified. All kinds of questions began to pop up.

‘What if my parents found out? Was my manager going to scream at me? What if the company loses money because of this? What if the client pursues legal action against me?”‘

All of these questions started to pop up and I just psyched myself out more.

Looking back, it’s not a huge mistake. Following one of my company’s policies regarding mistakes, I reported it to my manager EARLY. My manager responded stating that I did the right thing in reporting it early and that mistakes happen. Reporting it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done during my time here, but it paid off. I don’t know what my manager is going to say or how my upcoming meeting with them will go, but I’m going in with an open mind. Especially in times like this, I need to embrace the uncertainty. 

More to come.

J.

How to Win – the unconventional way

It’s been nearly NINE months since my last post. Whew, what a final year at school it’s been. Finally graduated with my bachelor’s degree and I’m headed straight to work early next week. I couldn’t have gotten through those past nine months without a little habit I picked up along the way:

Giving thanks either by saying “thank you” or showing it, regardless of the situation. However, it must be noted that you MUST be authentic when using. Without the authenticity, actually saying the words could come across as sarcastic, while mentally stating it could cause you to act ungrateful.

Even if it’s a crap situation, I still give thanks mentally to the adversary to make me think of different solutions to this issue. Through what seems like a losing situation, I can make myself believe that it’s not and quickly find a solution that would make it a real win. For example, I found myself in this situation while playing Head 2 Head in Madden 19. I don’t play video games often, but when I do, I try to win as much as I can by focusing on each game like it’s my last one. In this case, the opponent had much better players than I did (for you Madden players: he had a 96 OVR team and I had a 92 OVR team). After being down 14 in the first quarter, I found his patterns and quickly started to shift the game in my favor. I won by 7 by the time the game was over. By saying “thank you” to my opponent for giving me the opportunity to learn new techniques and challenge myself, I put the ‘problem’ in a positive light which encouraged me to find a solution.

Here’s an example that may resonate with you, but if not, relate it to a close friend. Over the course of a few years, my uncle would correct my grammar and tell me how poor of a communicator I was. Every time we met, I always felt like he was trying to make me feel bad, which made me not want to interact with him. Because of our lack of interaction, our relationship was falling apart. I wanted to improve the relationship but I didn’t want to feel sad anymore. I ended up using the same tactic above, where I thanked him every time he corrected me during our conversations. Finally, I took his advice, learned from it, and practiced it with him whenever we saw each other. Both our relationship and my communication skills benefited from it.

There’s a quote from the Lion King in which Rafiki says:

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either RUN from it, or LEARN from it.”

I was running away from my problems instead of focusing on them head on.

Moral of the story: learn to give thanks no matter the situation. Most of the time, wins aren’t instant. They’ll take time and a lot grinding to get the reward. There’s always a way to win.

J.

Crater Lake

Kati Explores

When I told people I had never been to Crater Lake, I’d often get the answer, “Really?? But you’re from here, right?”  Yes, I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and for 21 years, had never seen Crater Lake.  I decided that I would change that this month, so I got a day off work, booked a hotel, and went to Crater Lake with my family!

IMG_1984 Wizard Island is actually another volcano that formed after the eruption of Mt. Mazama, which created Crater Lake.

We entered the park through the North Entrance and then drove the entire Rim Drive.  The entire Rim is only open until late October, so I think we made it just in time.  However, the Lodge closed 6 days ago, so we did just miss that.  Some highlights of the Rim Drive were the Pinnacles, the Rim Village, the Phantom Ship, and the Pumice…

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Early Risers–no, not the breakfast food

Question: How do YOU start a productive day?

No really, I want to know! If I show you mine, will you show me yours? 😉

Here we go.

Here’s what I’ve found with starting the day off right. It starts with the night before. It really starts with getting a good night’s sleep. At the end of my night immediately before I go to sleep, I listen to some soothing classical music (I created a specific playlist on Spotify for this reason) and journal about my day. Then and only then, am I comfortable enough to go to bed. I shut off all the lights, make sure there’s no lights coming from the hallway, and doze off. I try to go to bed anytime between 10:30 and 11PM.

Then the alarm wakes me up. Oh man, do I hate the noise of the “Apex” ringtone on my phone. But it gets the job done. I have several alarms set throughout a 15-minute period to ensure I get out bed (each spread out between 2-3 minutes apart). While it seems like overkill, there’s been times where I’ve been able to hit snooze multiple times and be late for work by half an hour. Therefore, it’s absolutely necessary. So, what makes getting up so difficult? I’ve found that when it’s cold outside and warm inside, it makes it nearly impossible for me to get up; it’s easy to become too comfortable. Enter the Unstoppable Routine.

This is my morning routine from my previous post titled ‘Rituals’. It’s designed to be easy to perform and can be done anywhere where there is a shower with access to cold water. Here’s the steps I take:

  1. Wake up and Make Bed
  2. Visualize the Day
    • What am I excited for? What’s my day going to look like? Any upcoming meetings? What’s due at the end of the day? What’s for lunch?
  3.  Journal
    • Three questions to stimulate my mind:
      1. What am I excited for?
      2. What am I grateful for?
      3. What am I 100% dedicated to completing this week?
      4. Physical activity:
        1. 10 jumping jacks
        2. 10 push-ups
  4. COLD SHOWER
    • The coldest setting on the shower
      1. Lasts between 20 seconds to 1 minute
    • Two reasons for this:
      1. I need to fix my hair in the morning (my hair gets really messy while sleeping)
      2. It wakes me up so well
  5. Change and Make Ready
  6. Eat BREAKFAST
    • This is paramount to a great day. Mom wasn’t kidding—breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
    • 60-70% of my meal consists of veggies. As an Asian, vegetables are super common in my meals, so it’s almost second nature to eat veggies with any meal.
  7. Leave by 7:30 for work/classes
  8. OPTIONAL:
    • During the drive/walk to the destination, listen to some hype music:
      1. When applicable, I’ll listen to country and sing my heart out
      2. Bumping to rap (i.e. Drake, Logic, Big Sean, etc.)
    • If needed, caffeine can ENERGIZE the day
      1. I switch between but NEVER combine GFUEL and coffee
        • Coffee tends to hurt my stomach but makes caffeine consumption much more manageable than a powdered drink like GFUEL.
        • GFUEL contains 150mg of caffeine and can be overwhelming if you’re trying it for the first time.

Once I get to work, I do the following:

  1. Take a notepad and physically write out a To-Do list for the day
  2. List tasks that need to be completed and set a timebound deadline
  3. If needed, allow myself 10-15 minutes of web-surfing on sites like Reddit
    • This has allowed me to ease into work faster and stimulates my mind quickly

I want to know—what do you do in the morning? I’m always interested in seeing another person’s methods. I hope to read your responses in the comments below.

Have an amazing day,

J.