I was telling a friend about how I tense up when I'm concentrating, but how I couldn't seem to solve difficult math problems without doing this.

He asked why I thought tensing up was a problem.

This was a good question. I had thought I wanted to avoid tensing up because the tension would eventually get me tired and stuck and possibly give me a headache.

However, it occurred to me that that isn't true. I can think for days or weeks about a difficult math problem, and I love it.

The things that get me tired and stuck and give me headaches are particular types of problems. I will try to list some of them here:
  • Figuring out whether to throw something out.
  • Responding to an e-mail.
  • Planning a date and time for something where other people are involved.
  • Deciding when a flight should leave.
  • Context switching, especially into a difficult project that I don't want to work on (though once I'm working on it, I'm fine, and it's actually painful to context switch away from it).
  • others...
I'm frustrated by decisions that seem like they'll potentially have a big impact on my life, but for which I'm not sure what that impact will be, especially when other people are involved.

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