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I have a problem with being productive.

edited 2012-08-26 21:23:45 in Meatspace

Oohh boy. I get the feeling I have a bit of a problem.


For most of my life, I've kind of just gone by without really putting much effort into anything. Thanks to my natural talent for abstract thinking and memorization, I've been able to do well in science classes, if not necessarily in mathematics (despite my best efforts I could only get a "C" in precalculus.) I even scored amazingly on the ACT despite not really studying for it that much.


But now that I'm in college, I've reached the point where being smart alone won't cut it anymore. I've only barely made it through last year, and I had to take classes in the summer to get myself off of academic probation. And I wasn't even a full-time student!


I hate work. I hate work. I only took one class over the summer, and that's just about the maximum amount of work that I'm comfortable with. Anything more than that makes me physically uncomfortable. I'm taking the full four classes this semester, and even though it's only just begun, I'm already having difficulty focusing. I can't work without desperately wishing I was doing something I enjoy, and the tension I feel becomes so thick that it almost hurts.


The closest I've ever come to enjoying something productive is computer programming, and it still involves enough concentration and mental effort that I only ever do it for a class. My little brother likes to program, too, and he does it in his spare time. He may already even be better than me, and he's only 12. The only things I ever even think to do in my spare time are play games or browse the internet for amusing pictures and videos.


I want to accomplish more, in a sense that I want me accomplishing more to happen, but I don't really want it in a way that gives me any sort of drive or ambition. For example, my imagination is active enough that I often find myself coming up with fanfic ideas that I want to write, but the task of writing is so intensive that I don't even get through the first page before I just say "fuck it" and abandon it entirely. I can't do work if I don't feel that I'm obligated to do it.


I think the biggest cause of this problem is that I don't really find any satisfaction in doing a job well. When I'm finished with my work, my first thought is "thank God that's over with, now what do I get?" And whatever I do get, if anything, almost never means anything to me. I get a grade, so what? Where's my money? Where is the reward I can use? Do I get a new video game or a new pack of cards? I understand that I have to work for my future, but from the way it feels it's as though I'm not getting a thing.


I know that this is a problem. I want to be able to work without getting angry about how I could be doing something fun. I want to be able to actually focus on accomplishing something. I want to give a shit about doing something with my life, but right now I feel utterly powerless, a slave to impulse.

Comments

  • I'm a damn twisted person
    Well as somebody who has gone through the same sort of thing and eventually flunked out of college and went crazy, lemme ask you this - are you taking these classes because you want to and they interest you, or out of some sort of obligation?



    But anyways man, hard work never feels good. You don't enjoy the slog you have to get what you want, you do it because it is necessary. You have to have something big and driving like making enough money for a rent check if learning as much as you can about the thing you love or to fulfill some passion. Until you have that drive, hard work will always be a slog instead of a means to the thing you want.
  • Ultimate Forum Poster

    I know that feel, bro.


    I don't actually know if this is good advice, but I've grown to be more accepting towards trying out productive hobbies, perhaps you can actively look for one that drives you the same way programming drives your brother.

  • I know that feel so I have to ask, have you seen a psychologist at any point in your life to see if you have ADD/ADHD: primarily initiative as it is called now? This is me both having it and being an armchair/internet psychologist, but what you've said does point to it.

  • edited 2012-08-26 22:42:59

    @Alkthash: I'm taking these classes because I want to be able to afford the expensive hobbies that I have had for the past decade. I'm not joking when I say that games and the internet are my life, without them I don't think my I'd know anything but boredom.


    @Stormtroper: Look for something productive that drives me? I have no idea what that would be, and I highly doubt that there would be anything that I would ever have a greater urge to do than play games. Plus I've already set my mind on being a programmer, and I'm not sure I could start something new at this point.


    @delta534: I was diagnosed with Asperger's when I was 6 years old. For the most part I've managed to overcome the challenges I faced with social interaction, but I still have problem focusing on getting things done.


    I think that, now that I'm aware of this problem, I can at least try to do the best I can to avoid letting it get the better of me. I'm just glad that there are people I know that I can talk to about it.

  • Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    But now that I'm in college, I've reached the point where being smart alone won't cut it anymore. I've only barely made it through last year, and I had to take classes in the summer to get myself off of academic probation. And I wasn't even a full-time student!

    One thing I've figured out from college is that the learning process model from high school--wherein, if you do all the assigned work, you'll learn the material very well--doesn't work for college, or at least it's less effective the higher-up you go in terms of topic depth.  And simply attending classs will get you almost nowhere.

    I hate work. I hate work. I only took one class over the summer, and that's just about the maximum amount of work that I'm comfortable with.

    Change "work" to "reading" and I know that feel, bro.  Not so much "hate" but rather "I don't feel I can do this".

    But then, for years, I read tons and tons.  Not in books, mind you.  On the web.  What do you think internet fora are?  A picture contest?  A video blog?  No.  Sure, it's different from reading scholarly literature, from paragraph structure to writer's intent, but...then, I started asking myself a few questions.  First, why was I reading?  What was I trying to get out of the reading process, especially for nonfiction text?  Well, it's usually because I wanted to find some information.  I was interested in the information.  I later realized how I actually didn't read but rather skimmed much of the forum texts, looking for main points and reconstructing arguments based on picking up scattered pieces of information, rather than merely processing something linearly as I would with a story.  Then I realized, I needed to know why I was reading dense scholarly articles, and then I realized that I needed a reason.

    Perhaps you need something similar--a reason for you to advance your own education.  People can talk endlessly about why having good grades is important, but that's not the same as you feeling they're important.  Or, alternatively, it's not the same as you feeling the motivation to either (1) get good grades, or (2) do things that happen to result in getting good grades.

    I want to accomplish more, in a sense that I want me accomplishing more to happen, but I don't really want it in a way that gives me any sort of drive or ambition. For example, my imagination is active enough that I often find myself coming up with fanfic ideas that I want to write, but the task of writing is so intensive that I don't even get through the first page before I just say "fuck it" and abandon it entirely. I can't do work if I don't feel that I'm obligated to do it.

    I mostly know this feel.

    I think it might help if you, instead of seeing a large goal and thinking it's too much to handle, break the larger goal into many small and easily accomplishable pieces, and then accomplish them one by one.  For example, cooking dinner is a big thing, and pretty vaguely defined.  But we can break down cooking dinner into the following:
    1 acquire raw materials
    2 prepare raw materials
    2a physical preparation
    2b heating
    3 serving
    Now we can break down step 1 further into 1a choose starch, 1b choose veggies, 1c choose protein, 1d choose oils and condiments.  Then you pick them one by one.  After you're done with that, you can break 2a into things like "skin and cut two carrots" and "defrost chicken 3 minutes on high in microwave", 2b into things like "put veggies and meats on steamer over rice+water and cook", and 3 into things like "need bowl for rice" and "need plate for steamer contents".

    And each of these little steps is very straightforward, has a well-defined endpoint, and is easily accomplishable.  Put them together and you actually get a larger goal done.

    I think the biggest cause of this problem is that I don't really find any satisfaction in doing a job well

    Sounds like you need to figure out something you wanna do.

    I think you don't necessarily need to figure out what you really really wanna do as some sort of long-run goal.  Just figure out some sort of broader goal that you wanna do now or soon, and then treat it as a bit of a strategy game to figure out exactly what mini-steps you need to take to make steps toward it, and how you can get those done.

    Then you can feel that sense of accomplishment not as something made up out of thin air but rather as something that indicates to yourself that you're approaching/serving your goals.

  • edited 2012-12-12 07:34:24
    Creature - Florida Dragon Turtle Human

    The one problem comes when the above solution doesn't work.


    You have a big paper.  You can't figure out what to write for it.  And there's no logical breakdown to it.  It's just so damn easy to get stuck in that stage...

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