Preparation, Procrastination, and the Psychology of Caffeine

This AI transcription/summary was created on @November 26, 2023. Listen to the original recording here.

TL;DR As I prepare for trips to Singapore and Thailand, I'm focused on completing patterns and technical packs for production readiness, despite an increasing workload from website management. I'm conscious of not letting the accumulation of tasks impact my productivity. Reflecting on my relationship with caffeine, I've realized its adverse effects on my energy patterns and overall health, leading me to reframe it as a depletive force, not an energy source.

This new perspective on caffeine is part of a broader approach I'm adopting across various aspects of my life, aiming for inversions in behaviors and systems. I also mention my personal project,, which is focused on addressing systemic issues.


I've become acutely aware of how little time I have left until I leave on December 16th for Singapore. My intention before I left was to have the patterns finished so I could bring them with me or bring copies with me and work with someone local in Thailand, which is the stop after Singapore, to refine the patterns and get them production ready and probably also do tech packs. I meanwhile have increased my load on the website side now that I have four websites that I've been building and that doesn't include any of the updates that I still have to do for the existing ones that I've already built. It's a lot and I know that I am going to face a lot of challenges and on the one hand keeping abreast of all of these developments and on the other hand showing up every day with one focus and not letting this incredible build-up of to-dos affect my execution in an atomic way.

I really need to just get through this bulk of stuff and not procrastinate in the way that I usually do and that procrastination is definitely being overwhelmed and not having a plan of action that is really allowing me to focus fully on something until it is taken off the board and then do the next thing and then take that off the board. So a need to actually tunnel in which is not my strong point because I'm always zooming out. So one of the interesting things that has been coming up for me is it's the importance of a mental model that can drive real behavioral change. An example would be how for pretty much my entire adult life I've had a tumultuous relationship with caffeine.

I think the longest I've gone without coffee is probably a year and then somehow I always allow myself a coffee when I'm feeling really tired and that kick-starts a a insatiable thirst for coffee which always ends badly. It always ends with me realizing that I have lost touch with my own energy patterns and that I'm pounding coffee basically out of addiction to the chemical reaction and losing touch with everything that I actually want to do consciously. I become an automaton. I think coffee is probably the best example of this for me because the mental model has never been strong enough to overcome the physical craving and the emotional effects as well.

The emotional and social and psychological effects. Coffee compensates for me being somewhat of a tunneler. It allows me to kind of show up for things I don't want to show up for deep down inside and there have been times in my life where that has been just the life that I'm living. I'm in a job that I don't want.

I'm basically forced to work outside of hours that are healthy for me and so I used coffee to kind of show up in those moments but now that I'm on my own as a solopreneur I'm trying to give myself a strong health foundation because I know that compromising on health compromises everything else and actually instead of having these kinds of zero-sum compromises we should be amplifying through alignment across all domains. That means the health, work, emotional, spiritual, etc. The new mental model which has been percolating for some time now is rooted in the sense that these external chemicals and these external stimuli they don't actually introduce anything into our system in terms of energy. If you think of where energy comes from it's the most sustainable energy is complex.

It is not an electric shock to the system. It's actually from a complex arrangement of nutrients and also the endurance to kind of hold it through and make the most of it. One of the things about coffee that I know all too well is at some point after at some point after drinking it for a couple months I will be drinking like three cups a day usually two in the morning and one in the afternoon and ultimately it doesn't actually give me any more energy. It just makes me feel hyper dependent on it to activate my day to get me out of bed and I've known myself off of coffee as well long enough to know that I actually love getting out of bed.

I'm an early morning person so to lose that and become dependent on a chemical is usually why I get depressed and why I then have to force myself off of coffee and go through the withdrawal symptoms and it's quite an intense pattern to hold. Intensely self-destructive pattern to hold I should say. So this new mental model has actually been really really helpful and again it's based in the sense that coffee could never give me energy. Actually what it's doing is it is a toxin that pushes energy out of my body and when it pushes it out there's let's say it pushes it out of my into my bloodstream it kind of just like pushes some kind of energy out and I'm not a doctor I'm not a scientist I don't really know if this is you know if there's any evidence for this but but let's just take it as a mental model for what it is.

Energy gets kind of pushed out in a sort of fight or flight way, of 'okay, you need some energy right now, let's go.' And so, you're triggering this kind of stress response of energy, which can be very addictive because it means that you're in control. A lot can happen when you're under stress like that. That kind of energy, while so not sustainable and very damaging in the long term to the body, as we know, in the moment it can feel really good, and you can feel hyper-productive.

So, with this as an understanding or a baseline understanding, it makes me become very, very cognizant of like, I don't want to deplete my own source of energy. If there's nothing actually coming from this substance except for the kind of stress impact, then I want to make sure that I am not basically forcing my own energy out in such an unsustainable way.

And if we take this mental model across multiple different domains or experiences that all have to do with this kind of hyper impact of energy, or some kind of release of something into the world that we don't want to release, let's say that's spending too much, or always releasing emotions on others, or having to always share ideas before anything's actually been made of them, or, you know, any of those things, whether they're social, emotional, financial, physical, whatever. What is what are we taking in that's causing this almost stress function of needing to equilibrate the space?

And especially in the cases where we would rather be taking in rather than giving out, how can we actually invert that exchange, whatever it is? And for each situation, it's going to be different. So, another one would be, let's say, porn and ejaculation. Or porn and... yeah, ejaculation, I think that's fine. If we think of porn as a toxin that causes this kind of stress release, or kind of like a vampiric release of something into, out of you and into the world, then suddenly the whole genre becomes very clear as something that is programmed and even chemically to literally short circuit you and pull something that is full of life into death, on a pretty predictable basis. So, you know, that the consequence of introducing that into your system is going to cause this effect.

And I think for any of these predictable correlations, like obvious and predictable correlations, we have to become acutely aware that if we don't like those behaviors, then it's actually very simple to fix, just don't introduce the toxin. Now, the question is, why do we, or why are we attracted to that? Well, as we said with coffee, it's a good feeling. Like, if you can get the energy of stress without actually having to be in a stressful situation, then it's kind of like, it's like fast food. It's like a quick hit of something, having control over that quick hit.

It's a very kind of minimized existence in the sense that you're no longer part of a complex system. You are literally mashing buttons to get what you need in the moment to satisfy some kind of urge which you can't seem to meet in a more sustainable, nutritious way.

So, I'm going to start looking at my life through this mental model, and again, who knows if there's any scientific basis, and I don't really care because that's what a mental model can be. If it's something strong enough to change your behaviors, then that's good enough. I just, as an aside, I don't think the mind often can change behaviors. So, there's also something emotionally connected to this mental model for me.

And it's, I think, the years and years of feeling, feeling like a slave to certain impulses. So, I like to evaluate my life in this, from this vantage point of looking at how things are, and then looking at what needs to be inverted. Because I do believe that a lot of things in this world are actually backwards, and that inversion is also coming up in my approach with this new project now.

And the inversion is all about like, things that are not novel, things that have already been talked about, but where they haven't found successful implementation. So, and also kind of talking about the elephant in the room, which I think is, which I know is a big purpose of my life, even though I've been so avoidant of confrontation. It's actually exactly where I have the largest contribution to make.

So, really talking about the elephant in the room, but bringing all my diplomacy to it, and also taking the responsibility of if I'm going to be making some definitions, I need to embody what I want to see in the world. I can't just talk about it, but I have to be it as well.


Main Points

  • The speaker is aware of the limited time before their trip to Singapore and Thailand, where they plan to work on fashion patterns and tech packs.
  • They have taken on additional work with four website projects, adding to their already heavy workload.
  • The speaker struggles with procrastination, often feeling overwhelmed without a clear plan of action, and acknowledges their need to focus and complete tasks sequentially.
  • They discuss a longstanding tumultuous relationship with caffeine, noting patterns of addiction, dependence, and eventual realization of its negative effects on their own energy and wellbeing.
  • The speaker introduces a mental model seeing caffeine as a depletive force that triggers stress responses in the body, rather than a source of sustainable energy.
  • This mental model is part of a larger effort to align their behaviors across health, work, emotional, and spiritual domains.
  • The speaker is conscious of the importance of not introducing 'toxins', or negative stimuli, into their life that can provoke harmful patterns.
  • They express an intent to remove such toxins and invert unconventional patterns, to better align with their values and sustainable living.
  • Pornography is used as another example of a behavior that aligns with the mental model of something that takes more than it gives.
  • The speaker mentions their project, emphasizing the importance of tackling systemic and challenging issues while embodying the change they want to see.

Stories and Examples

  • The speaker gave personal testimony about their struggle with caffeine addiction and its detrimental effect on health and energy.

References and Citations

  • The speaker referenced their personal experiences and introspections rather than external works or data.


Potential Action Items

Complete the patterns before the trip to Singapore on December 16th (2023-12-16).
Develop a clear plan of action to manage website workload and avoid procrastination.
Adopt and reinforce the new mental model regarding caffeine and other negative stimuli.
Apply the energy depletion/inversion principle to broader domains of life for better alignment.
Continue work on to address the 'elephant in the room' issues meaningfully and diplomatically.

Follow-Up Questions

  • What specific measures can be taken to ensure timely completion of the patterns before traveling?
  • How might the workload for the four website projects be more effectively managed?
  • Are there any other mental models or strategies that can be employed to combat procrastination?
  • What steps can be taken to avoid the introduction of negative stimuli and maintain that discipline?
  • How will the speaker ensure that effectively tackles systemic issues and facilitates real change?

Arguments and Areas for Improvement

These are potential arguments and rebuttals that other people may bring up in response to the transcript. Like every other part of this summary document, factual accuracy is not guaranteed.
  • The mental model proposed by the speaker regarding caffeine may be challenged for lacking scientific evidence.
  • Some may argue that occasional, moderate use of caffeine is not significantly harmful and can be beneficial for productivity.
  • The notion that certain substances or behaviors can be universally classified as 'toxins' may be oversimplified and subjective.
  • Critics might contend that the efficacy of mental models in changing behavior is limited without addressing underlying emotional and psychological issues.

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Related Topics

  • addiction and dependency
  • behavioral change
  • caffeine consumption
  • health and wellbeing
  • mental models
  • personal development projects
  • procrastination
  • productivity strategies
  • sustainable living
  • time management


  • Sentiment: contemplative
  • Transcription Cost: $0.088
  • Chat API Cost: $0.054
  • Total Cost: $0.142

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