It's funny how sometimes you can get sucked into something. Unable to prevent binge watching a tv show or having a six hour session of some video game. I don't think this is necessarily a negative experience. Lots of the best moments of enjoying something come from the middle of a long binge. Sometimes you get to experience something you otherwise wouldn't if you stopped yourself from binging. However, something about it still doesn't sit right to me.
If you didn't already know, I really enjoy spacing my media out. Trying to slow down the pace of my consumption, to stick to one episode or a few chapters a day. In general I think this rhythm works best for me. It means I don't get overloaded with too much content at once, and when it's spaced out I can appreciate it better over a larger span of life. Sometimes it works the other way as well - by forcing myself to commit to a small amount of media a day I make it through the slow bits and can juggle many different experiences instead of getting sucked into just one.
As I write this, I realize another reason why this pace appeals to me might be due to how I relate to and consume media. I very rarely engage with things purely as entertainment. I suppose it might be described as always trying to find a meaning or a moral in what I watch. Finding a way to relate it back to my own life, finding connections and always, above all, trying to take something from it.
Realizing what goes into creating something, the thousands of tiny decisions that all have to be made to culminate into a finished product, makes me a lot more tolerant of different qualities of media. As I once remarked after a film festival, no matter how bad a movie is, seeing the director and cast get up on stage after the screening and saying how much the film means to them makes me instantly sympathetic. I'm always imagining the creators vision as I enjoy something; in that respect I suppose my experience is not to dissimilar from a critic's.
Lately, however, my schedule of media hasn't been going so great. For a multitude of reasons, I haven't been sticking to my plan. I think this naturally happens to any plans you make when things get out of control. When you have too little time, or too much time, or need to accomodate unexpected stuff, or the usual amount of unexpected stuff doesn't happen. Sometimes life gets in the way, and committing to things and then seeing them through is a skill that takes years to perfect.
It's strange that despite technically having an extra hour or two in my day compared to when I'd dedicate at least an hour to television everyday, it doesn't feel like I actually have any more time. I think part of that is because I'd combine that time with dinner, but honestly speaking I should have multiple extra hours that just seem to have disappeared.
You know what, I think this is another benefit of planning out of your day. In the same way that anticipating a movie and looking forward to it makes it much more of an enjoyable experience, the same happens with anything you plan for. Any planned hour is much more satisfying than any unplanned one. Even if the actual activity I've planned for myself isn't the most fun, there is an underlying satisfaction in deciding to do something, successfully executing it, and then returning home to relax and bask in my success.
When I had more hours of my day planned, it felt like I did more because I knew in advance what each thing I was doing was, and I was able to make sure I did a variety of things. Now that I'm being more loose with my day I have the opportunity to get sucked into a game for 4 hours straight or take a spontaneous nap but these don't really feel as fulfilling as before. I'm sure if I did the exact same activities but instead planned in advance on doing them, that would feel very different.
In general I've always believed anticipation is one of the most powerful and easiest to control factors when it comes to enjoying something. Nothing makes an experience better than being hyped up for it for many days in advance. Anxiously waiting for the moment when you finally get to see something you've been looking forward to for ages. This also works in reverse, the anticipation for something like a dentist's appointment is sometimes the worst part of the visit.
When I say I used to plan out my days more, I don't mean I literally made a schedule like game time from 2pm to 3pm, eat from 3pm to 3:30. It was more like I'd make sure to watch an episode or work on a skill sometime throughout the day. That was all that was needed to unlock the delicious power of anticipation. Plus, this flexibility is what made it possible to plan for a whole bunch of different things without actually having to make a schedule incorporating all of them.
I suppose the ultimate irony is that the reason I stopped planning as much is because I thought I'd take a bit of a break from my busy life to focus on some small other things. Except instead of being rejuvenating, dropping all that stuff just makes me feel lazy. It's funny that sometimes, the most relaxing feeling for me comes after exerting a whole bunch of effort. It's the satisfying, post work feeling of a job well done. A well deserved rest, rather than an artificially constructed one. Maybe that's why I always do so many random things - it's the only way I know how to relax.