Fortnightly 15



A recap: A month and a half ago I was doing really well. Had almost two weeks worth of high productivity in a row. But then I moved houses and that was a huge amount of stress. I dropped Fortnightly for a bit and focused exclusively on not failing physics. The term ended and I did nothing for about a week and a half, and now the new term has begun. I am unable to tell if that productivity streak would have continued without the exhausting move, but from what I wrote it sounded like my strength was flogging near the end of it. I’d put this fortnightly off for a little too long, so I’ve unfortunately forgotten most of the object level details. After months of recording my pomodoros every single day I had become simply too exhausted to bother.

At the end of long streak of productivity I had basically out of capability to be productive. This strongly suggests that it wasn’t a posture, weekend, or sleep thing. It is very very clearly some kind of resource being used up and not some kind of baracade or blockage to overcome by sheer force of will or whatever. This is a strict and hard limiting factor based in biology. It may or may not be stress, but I can rule out most systematic and mental thought processes. I need to affect my health in some way. There is some other factor at play.

If burnout is just stress, then I should expect it to correlate heavily with pomos done, and stress levels to be especially high when burnout occurs, and low when I feel free of it.

Can I measure stress levels and reduce them? This should cause the number of pomos I can do before burning out to go up. This also suggests managing and thinking about my systems is contributing to the problem. This also means no rule I set is going to affect it unless it reduces stress somehow.

The reason I had discounted stress before was the lack of an emotional component. That is, I always thought you had to be angry or actively engaging in some physical activity. The idea that just concentrating and thinking could cause stress just hadn’t connected.

…and looking back I may have simply been awkwardly fumbling for a description of the mechanism for homeostasis all of this time.

A lot of this is from the view of optimizing within constraints. If I can lift the burden of burnout I expect my perspective to change and much of this to be irrelevant.



I utterly failed to report this last time, but just before the move/burnout I was averaging 10 pomos a day for about a two week period. This gives me a very good estimate for the most I can do. If I can somehow keep that number up for an extended period of time (past two weeks), then I will have beaten what I’ve called burnout.

The fact is that I was starting to burnout from lack of resources even before the move really took the last of them from me. What is really weird is that even a month and a half later I am still burnt out. Maybe it is the fact that I had to keep pushing myself for school, but it is just a bit… much? Like, I feel as if I’ve rested enough that I should feel good again.

I learned that the rescuetime percentage counts things ‘distracting’ and ‘neutral’ as productive, which effectively discounts it as a useful metric across time since some break activities would be counted as productive.

Thinking about systems and managing them seems to bring about a large amount of stress and distracts me from actually getting work done. That said, not doing them doesn’t seem to bring me back up to working capacity either.

Keeping my posture does not seem to result in an extended period of productivity. I am unsure why it seemed to be helpful at first, but after that first week I have been utterly dead in terms of productivity.


  • 1.25ml – I woke up ~ 2 hrs after taking and had to fall back asleep
  • 2.5ml   – adds an extra 60-120 minutes of sleep

Boredom while reading a textbook is a sign that I need to try to read faster. Chunking more words together and trying to develop a model in my head of what it means so that I can very quickly read words and simply insert a picture into my head of what it is actually saying. This works better than just subvocalizing.

Not thinking break

  • do nothing until you naturally want to do things again, then stop and do nothing for a while again.
  • I lay down and just stare at ceiling, many thoughts entering and leaving my head basically at random
  • eventually my thought processes settle down and I enter a general fuzz. It varies from pleasant to unpleasant
  • seems to naturally last ~40 minutes before I get bored and get up
  • I am unsure if I get additional benefit from laying down after that, or if there is some limit to the amount of useful rest I can get in at a time

Not thinking breaks were vastly superior to nature breaks when utterly exhausted

  • Actually was able to get stuff done instead of only kind of do so with nature breaks
  • Feeling a tiny bit good instead of terrible
  • Seem to cause neck pain
  • Often became naps instead
  • Made it more difficult to sleep

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