Working Through Rough Weeks

Tl;dr: the corona virus disrupted my free time. Feel sorry for me.

There are good weeks and bad weeks.  I’ve covered this topic before, a long time ago, but as I just weathered a pretty difficult week it feels like a good time to revisit.  This week was pretty rough for Spanish studying time, as will become apparent down in the number section of the blog.  I didn’t drop the ball or anything, and I’m pretty sure I’ve put up worse numbers before in the running time of this project, but it definitely felt like I was squeezed thin and unable to get through my planned courses of action.

Sometimes the bad weeks are your fault.  Believe me, I know what that’s like.  Whether you’re dealing with burnout or struggling through the desire to procrastinate, you can have abundant time and resources at your fingertips and not get anything done.  Those things happen, and when they do, the most important way to get over them is to recognize that sometimes that sort of stuff happens, and you shouldn’t dwell on it.  Getting down about yourself when you screw up is easy, and it can lead to a self-defeating spiral that can be difficult to recover from (believe me, I know that feeling, too), but recognizing that sometimes despite your best efforts you’re gonna come up short can lead to forgiving yourself faster and letting yourself get back on track that much sooner.

As it happened, this week wasn’t my fault.  My day job is related to the finance world, and when the market took the hits that it did last week, my work volume leapt way up to follow it.  I could go into the details about how I normally fit my Spanish time in around my work volume, but by good timing coincidence last week’s blog was a very in-depth look at that, so it would be easy to see how this jump in volume impacted my Spanish time.

The risk of this is something I’ve been low-key considering for a while now, as I sort of mentioned last week, so it wasn’t like this destroyed my Spanish time or anything.  I managed to put up mostly okay numbers throughout the week, hitting my soft goal of an hour each reading and listening, and even had a pretty good day on Thursday.  Things only got really bad on Friday, which was the heaviest volume day of a heavy volume week, which left me pretty beat up energy-wise.  I got through my watching/listening just fine, but when it came to reading, which I typically plan to accomplish the bulk of during lower call volume hours, I eked out the bare minimum I’m really willing to allow myself, the thirty minutes necessary to get in the chunk of reading out loud I aim for every day.  I did most of that over my coffee breaks, but after hitting the thirty-minute mark, I was just beat up.  It would have been one thing if I then had another 30 minutes of free time where I would have been twiddling my thumbs waiting for a call, but I really didn’t.

I said I didn’t drop the ball, but to be entirely fair, I could have read the other half hour that I aim for once I got home on Friday.  I didn’t, because I was feeling drained and just wanted to do something that took zero brain energy (which ended up being Dragonball Fighter Z videos), but that was a conscious decision I made.  I tried to hit the weekend strong and get some good work done, which I think I managed, but the market woes are following into the next week, too.  Whether or not this is all something I can blame myself for, at the end of the day I might have some tough times for a while, but really, that’s okay.  I knew this sort of thing might happen.

On that note, I think the best thing to do when going through something like this is to try and set a goal for yourself, in addition to the normal activity that you’re struggling to get through. In general it’s a better idea to develop the intrinsic reward of a pastime than to rely on extrinsic rewards, because if the activity itself is rewarding you’re more likely to do it without prompting.  That said, sometimes you just need the damn boost that an extrinsic reward can give, whether that’s jumpstarting something you’re struggling with for personal reasons or fighting through something that the world seems to have conspired against you getting done.

The extra goal that I’m setting for myself going into the next week is to beat this week’s numbers in raw time spent.  And to make it more extrinsic reward, I’m setting a little prize for myself.  I’m thinking a slice of key lime pie.  I’m on a diet right now, and pie is definitely off-diet, so that’s something to look forward to.  And since I have today off from work for personal reasons, I’m just going to consider the four worst days of the week to determine the winner.  If I fail, hey, that happens sometimes, but it means I’m struggling through some rough work time and should feel proud of getting anything done at all.  And if I succeed, pie on the weekend.  This is starting to sound fun!

Anyway, let’s take a look at what all the hullabaloo of “bad numbers” I’ve been going on about actually are.  Prepare to think I’m being melodramatic, as they’re really not that bad.

Tuesday 2/25

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 4% of Mago Aprendiz, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 2/26

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 5% of Mago Maestro, ~70 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 2/27

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Mago Maestro, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Fancylooks, 1 episode of La Zona Cero, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 2/28

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of Mago Maestro, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 2/29

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of Mago Maestro, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 3/01

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 4% of Mago Maestro, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 03/02

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 4% of Mago Maestro, ~60 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Kiwillius, 2 episodes of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 1/5 books read, 340 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 10 YouTube episodes, 510 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 hours 10 minutes

Yeah, little bit of melodrama here.  Overall not a horrendous week, as I managed to keep the bare minimum going, and even “finished” something.  I completed the playthrough of Undertale I was watching on Daniel San GMR’s channel, which left me wistful and emotional.  Liek if the Asriel leitmotif maeks u cri evrytiem.  It does for me.

I’m working (slightly slower than I would like) through Mago Maestro, and am still enjoying it a lot, even if there’s some … weird stuff in this one.  Like, okay, I get it, distant cousins of royalty sometimes marry each other, but the, ahem, “romance” in this is awkward and creepy in an unintentionally funny sort of way.  It doesn’t bother me half as much as the similarly creepy stuff in Cien Años de Soledad, so I’m still happily reading this one, and still have the benefit of so many books in front of me to go.  I am still missing Discworld, though, but I think I might end up missing Discworld forever.

In addition to the rough week, we also closed out the month of February, so let’s look at those numbers.  Nothing like capping off the shortest month with a rough week to really keep things low.

  • Total Duolingo: 580 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 24 tv episodes, 37 youtube videos, and 3 podcasts, 1,810 minutes
  • Total reading: 1 and 1/5 whole books and 1.5 video game cases read, 1,920 minutes
  • Total writing: 1000 words written, 120 minutes
  • Total Speaking: reading out loud, 720 minutes
  • Total Time: 64 hours 10 minutes

And here’s the breakdown for money spent.

  • Mago Maestro, Fiction, Ebook, Amazon, $8.65
  • Netflix Subscription Standard HD Plan, Television and Movie Streaming, $10.99 per month, $10.99
  • Disney+ Subscription with Hulu and ESPN+, Television and Movie Streaming, $12.99 per month, $12.99
  • Amount Spent on Fiction Books: $8.65
  • Amount Spent on Services: $23.98
  • Total Spent: $32.63

Again, being melodramatic, as it was a pretty good month overall.  Nothing amazing or anything, but I’ve had worse months, and in recent memory, too.  This is just a slow-going project in general, so coupling that with times that I’m not “proud” of can be extra discouraging.  That’s why it’s so important to keep one’s spirits up.

Continuing on with the train of not-great, after my optimism last month over my fiction writing struggles coming to a close, I’ve fallen off the writing wagon again, almost immediately.  In the month, I got down 8,135 words for blogs, and a big goose egg for fiction yet again.  I’d meant to try and turn that around this week, but, well, then this week happened, and yeah.  I’m really gonna try and work on it here, though.  Something that behavioral therapy has shone a light on for me is how vital things like fiction writing are for my emotional mood.  My therapist had me try out guided meditation for most of this month and I didn’t really get anything out of it, but it did make me think about how I get the things that it seems like other people get out of meditation from the flow-state of working on fiction.  That really tells me I should be writing more often.  I’ll really try and get that off the ground here in March.

Speaking of getting planned things off the ground, I haven’t talked much since the start of the year about the tentative plans to work on real speaking, but I’m feeling like the time is approaching for that pretty soon here.  The awkward part of that is that my gender transitioning is leaping into full effect in my waking life here (the reason I have today off is related to that).  I think I could manage to work through the discomfort and embarrassment of struggling through what to say in Spanish, and also work through the discomfort of publicly changing genders over the course of time in front of people that know me—but don’t really know me all that well—but I’m less sure I can manage both of those things at once, which is something that 100% would happen if I started tutor and conversation partner hunting now.  Sigh.  Life is weird.  I’ll figure out something here, I hope.

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