I can tell instantly when I’m doing something obviously wrong, because it’s obviously wrong and my conscience always delivers a wake-up call that could well be physical pain. When I do something stupid I usually cringe reflexively within five seconds. Nerd instincts.

But examining myself is still very difficult.

I don’t know how long this has been the pattern: every day I finish all the work for today in my planner, slack off for the rest of the time, and end up in bed reflecting, a little disappointed. There are a couple reasons for my disappointment, I think. Mostly it’s just the feeling that I should be working further ahead than I am. I don’t leave everything to the day before it’s due like I might have done a few years ago, but I still don’t think I’m working hard enough.

Now I don’t know if I really am cutting myself too much slack or if I’m just being overly ambitious concerning my work habits. Looking back on my past couple of weeks at school, I think I’ve passed all the deadlines with a good safety margin on average, but hindsight changes a lot of things. Is that margin enough? I don’t know. Thus far I’ve been able to focus on school, and yet I also want to do something bigger with my extra time: not necessarily some serious work, but some intense and scheduled recreation (puzzle hunts, for one). So that’ll definitely require improvement… or will it?

I also realize that pressuring myself too much to improve is just as bad if I’m aiming towards a moving goal. Lots of unnecessary stress is counterproductive; I want to enjoy my teenage life while it lasts. But I just can’t tell, at this stage, how much improvement is healthy, or how I should measure how much I’ve improved anyway.

Anyway, tricking myself to enjoy schoolwork appears to be rather important at this stage.


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