A Blogging Pledge

It’s dark outside – although this was darkness in Weymouth in August, not darkness in Mile End at 3AM

It’s 03:22, and I’m starting a new blog post. I don’t sleep very well at university. I tend to doze off sometime between 3-5, wake up at at least 12, then properly get going between 2-3. So many hours wasted. I don’t like wasting time. I waste time a lot. I don’t like myself (kidding – I love myself, just not my time-wasting-tendencies).

My problem is two-fold. I accept that going to sleep early and waking up early is generally a pretty good thing; you get more time to do stuff, more rest, and you’re subsequently healthier and happier. Much like eating at least 1 of your 5 a day, it’s the kind of good-looking ideal I consistently aspire to and consistently fall short of. So, I don’t want to distract myself from sleeping. Squash the phone away. Get comfortable. Relax the mind. Get to sleep, wake up at a somewhat reasonable time, and get on with your day.

Sadly, the phone remains firmly entrenched in my hands and my mind is anything but relaxed. I am often comfortable, though. My mind is buzziest at night – it’s when I want to be writing scripts and climbing mountains and doing cool things, a want which is in a neverending tug of war with the need for a rational sleeping pattern. In terms of time management, it makes little sense to spend hours of my day simply lying in my bed, staring into the void. Those are hours which could be spent doing work for my degree (those hours are never filled) or working on my script(s), or reading, or watching, or editing, or applying to jobs, or writing articles and blog posts, or any number of things. Instead, they are absolutely vacuous.

The conclusion I reached over the past 2 weeks was that this was really rather stupid, and I may as well accept my sleeping predicament and get more work done in the black of night. That led to one night where I didn’t sleep until 8AM. More the exception than the norm, but it wasn’t something I wish to repeat again, so I’ve gone back to trying to get a good night’s sleep. I think the shortening of the days has something to do with it, too. Here in jolly old London, it gets dark around 16:30. Say that I start my day at 15:00, that means I have 1 and a half hours of sunlight before my mind switches to “it’s nighttime so I guess that means we can chill after a full day’s work!” mode. Yes, this is a monumentally idiotic approach, and I am extremely silly for allowing myself to fall victim to it. You don’t need to tell me, Mum.

So, I’ve reached a different kind of conclusion. I don’t just need to “get up earlier,” or “work at night” or any meaningless-platitude-which-is-difficult-to-implement-in-practice-like-that. What I need is scheduling.

It’s late and I can’t be bothered to find/take a picture of my actual calendar

I am very much aware that my best work is done when I stick to a schedule. This is most obvious during exam season, when I transform into this obsessive, meticulous creative who spends every waking hour going completely over the limit of acceptable revision standards. I very much over-work myself, then fear I haven’t done nearly enough. From May-June this year I kept a colour-coded revision schedule. I would set a list of goals for each day, and the goals for the following day(s) would be dependent on me completing my goals for the previous day, so to avoid general stress and moral panic from an overflowing work pile, I stuck to the schedule. Most of the time. There were a few off days, I recall. At the end of each day, I’d change all the targets to past tense, add anything extra that I did, then colour the box in to tell myself how many days I’d already gotten myself through. Every exam day was coloured in a big bold red in order to frighten me into working harder. Knowing the date in your head is one thing, but seeing it visually laid out before your eyes is something else entirely. It’s a far better way of kicking you in the ass. This was all done at my city library (which I shall forever bless), with my daily hot chocolate and slice of cake. I worked out that I spent around £40 on hot chocolate and cake over the A-Levels period. Thank God that I had a disposable income.

My final exam was on June 29th (the day before my birthday…) so you can figure out how many more pages there are yourself. Or don’t. The answer isn’t particularly interesting (it’s 4).

While it felt as if the days were slipping away from me, I only needed to look at the schedule and realise that, yes, while a lot of time had passed, I had put in more than enough hours of work. Again – sometimes you just need that visual, tangible boost. Relying on your mind for all your information can be damaging.

And afterwards, I’d feel better about things. I felt on top of my workload, I felt productive, and, above all else, I felt relaxed. Perhaps it’s merely hindsight clouding my judgement, but I don’t recall ever feeling massively anxious before or after an exam. In fact, I distinctly remember feeling that my last 3 exams went badly, but not really caring. A lot of that was due to my arrogant overconfidence, but I’d also give the schedule some credit. It may have felt like a shit exam, but then I’d look at the work I did for it and tell myself that, logically, I can’t have done that badly. Scheduling is just good, kids.

So why don’t I do it more often? Darling, I wish I could tell you. The only true answer is that I’m really fucking stupid, and too lazy overall to apply such an obviously-successful model to the rest of my life. Which pisses me off, and makes me want to change. Unfortunately, I can’t be pissed off at anybody but myself, which isn’t entirely desirable. I don’t like feeling pissed off – it’s a waste of energy, which pisses me off even more – and I don’t like being pissed off at myself because I want to be adoring of myself. Obviously.

Now, we have arrived at the true beating heart of this post: my scheduling plans! Specifically, my blogging pledge, which you’ve waited so patiently to learn about. I’d also like to clarify that the only reason this post is long and meandering is that I wanted to convey how buzzy my mind gets in the early hours, thereby enabling you, dear reader, to understand my predicament more fully. It was planned all along. Honestly. Not a lie. Why would I lie? Haha. Course not.

From here on out, you’re getting one blog post a week. And by you, I mean me, because this blog is as much an online hub for all things Jasper (which are remarkably little and remarkably uninteresting in comparison to the rest of the internet – why are you here?) as it is an outlet for me to dribble my thoughts onto. Every day goes by with at least 3 new blog post ideas travelling through my brain, and at least 0 of them get written. I have a lot of thoughts on a lot of things. I’m not under the pretence that anybody wants to read those thoughts, but I am under the pretence that me writing it all down on a public forum is a good idea and definitely won’t get me into trouble later down the line.

I’m annoyed at how little I’ve achieved in these past 2 months, and at how little I accomplish on a day-to-day basis. I have so much that I want to get on with, and I know that things will just be generally better if I actually do them. All that happens if I don’t make YouTube videos, for example, is I lose out as a creator, and you all lose out on seeing brilliantly crafted content.

I’m going to set little targets for myself on a daily basis, to propel me to work. I won’t be as rigorous as I was during exams, but I’m going to give myself more than 1 thing to do. I’m also gonna set my alarm, even if it means I miss out on an hour or 2 of sleep. Baby steps.

It’s 04:15AM, meaning I’ve spent almost an hour writing this. It clocks in at 1496 words – almost 1500, which is as long as my essays have to be. Future Me, if you acquire the ability to write a 1500 word essay in under an hour, let me know and I’ll leave out some cookies for you.

It also means I should go to sleep. Perhaps I should change my alarm from 10 to 11.

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