I would consider myself somewhat of a hoarder. I just don’t throw away stuff. I collect stuff. I don’t spend fake internet money in games (getting better now). Yet this hoarding culture may in some degree lead to the onset of the habit of procrastination and a wrong method in learning mathematics.

I hoard maths problems which I should just attempt on the spot. This has allowed me to procrastinate a lot and in most cases I just forget about the problem. Attempting the problems as soon as I see them is better as it allows me to do more problems and know which problems are actually worth doing.

More intricately, this has severely impacted my learning style. Some would say that this is a type of ‘poverty mentality’ instead, but I spend so much time on trying to prove each theorem that I wonder if I can just read the proofs and do exercises instead. There are so many opportunities for me to practice coming up with my own proofs since mathematics is simply so big. There are countless theorems for me to practice proving, why should I waste my time on basic analysis instead of some higher level maths (with similar level proofs) instead?

At the same time, I struggle with instant gratification. This is particularly illustrated my me often finding myself scrolling YouTube shorts/reddit/zhihu endlessly. It used to be Quora when I was in primary school and I only successfully curbed my Quora addiction after 3 tries and have only touched it for information since.

I suppose the lack of instant gratification in hoarding has also discouraged me from learning maths. I often have to wrangle with a theorem for so long before finally reaching the proof. Well it feels really good when I finally proved it, but a lot of the times it just seems daunting. I suppose conquering this fear is the next step in my maths learning.

A positive manifestation of this is Anki. By obtaining instant feedback I can learn from my mistakes far more efficiently.