Boggle Considerations


Five Elements of Boggle Technique

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

As I mentioned in prior Boggle articles (see list at end of this article), if you live your life anywhere on the Attentional Spectrum, there will be times when you get so distracted, so overwhelmed, SO un-focused that you simply, literally cannot function at all!

You just lose it!

Some of us scream and yell, some of us throw things, some stomp around slamming doors and cursing, some cry . . .

Boggle can look a million different ways – practically any way at all besides behaviorally appropriate!

This state is what some of the ADD experts refer to as “cognitive shutdown in response to stress.”  It’s what I call Boggle.

Let’s begin by reviewing what I have come to believe are the five key elements you need to understand and address before you can count on changing your reputation from “emotionally volatile” to “calm under pressure.”  This article will explain what I mean by the terms below.  Following articles in the Boggle series will explain what I call “Boggle Technique” in greater detail.

Boggle Technique: Five Key Areas for Focus

1.  Time Out
2.  Education
3.  Communication
4.  Sherlocking
5.  Systematizing

1.  Time Out

The first key element in this technique is a time-out room or corner that is distraction free.  A place where you can go when you need to stop incoming stimuli.   You are going to teach yourself to go to that room before you Boggle.

There are specific ways to work with a Boggle Space which I discuss in greater detail in the upcoming book that I will excerpt in later articles in this series.  To begin with you are going to go there when you Boggle.

That’s right — you are going to put yourself in Time Out instead of whatever you have been doing — screaming at the dog, bursting into tears, trying to push through, reaching for a drink — whatever it is you do once your stimulation threshold has been exceeded.  You are going to stop everything and walk directly to your Boggle Space — and do nothing and talk to no one until you calm down and re-center.

You are not going to come out of the space until you can think of one thing that you need to handle that you can do without Boggling again.  And you are not going to permit anyone else to come in after you.

No, I am not kidding — and no, I am not nuts.

Most clients find that a five to fifteen minute time-out is all that they need to re-center and proceed calmly and with focus.

Don’t you spend at least that much time spinning your wheels once you’ve Boggled?
And then you still have to recover from Boggle!

Understand that functioning appropriately during Boggle is not merely difficult — it is impossible.

Stop trying to pretend that it isn’t.

2.  Education

A second key element in this technique is education.   You need to understand what’s going on before you will be able to protect yourself and your loved ones from the consequences of Boggle.  Once you understand what is happening neurologically you will be more likely to be willing to take yourself and what you need seriously enough to protect your functioning from the well meaning attempts of others to “help” you “calm down.”

I promise my clients that they are not the only ones to experience their particular stresses to the extent that results in Boggle.

But the real magic comes when you embrace the fact that you are entitled to support from those who claim to love you even if you are the only one in the world so afflicted with your particular Boggle-flavor.

You do not have to “take the blame” alone anymore.

There is a reason you continue to experience the discomfort and embarrassment of Boggle, and part of it is because those around you are exacerbating it unintentionally.

It is always appropriate to apologize when we do or say something wrong or hurtful, intentionally or not.  Until right now, I’ll bet you a month’s coaching fees that you are the only one doing the apologizing.

Well, guess what?  They need to take some responsibility for your Boggle too.   You may not get that apology ever, but you must insist on cooperation so that you are not always repeating the same Boggle scenario that ends in your always being the the only one who’s sorry.

3.  Communication

The third key element of Boggle Technique is communication.   You are going to have to educate those around you about the basics of ADD Boggle and make some requests so that they learn to stop stimulating you when you are overloaded already.

This will be the toughest part.

In many ways, you have “taught” those around you how to behave — by what you have been willing to accept in their dealings with you after they decided “the best way to manage your ‘over-reactive’ behavior.” 

What did you know?  You were the crazy one, right?  They seemed to have logic on their side.

Well, guess what?  The “logic” that blames the blind man for sorting the laundry improperly can barely be acknowledged as logic at all.  Now that you are learning more about ADD, your loved ones will have to incorporate that new information in the way that they deal with you and will have to acknowledge  (at least to themselves) that they have unknowingly, often with the best of intentions, exacerbated the situation.

Changing the rules later in the game is difficult. 

Even the most cooperative and supportive loved ones will have to undo the habits of thought and action that they have build around your relationship.  Don’t expect it to happen easily and don’t expect it to happen overnight.  Do keep asking for what you need, however, until you get it — and remember to acknowledge them afterwards for their support.

  • Make them right for everything they do for you.
  • Resist the urge to explain what you need “next” in the same conversation.

It will happen.

4.  Sherlocking

The fourth important key to banishing Boggle is to figure out how your particular ADD functions.

  • What Boggles you, uniquely?
  • What are your Boggle triggers?
  • What factors hasten its arrival?
  • What might run interference?
  • How much can you take before you Boggle?
  • In what arenas?
  • Is it a factor of time, the number of balls you are expected to juggle, or is a particular type of stress always “the straw that breaks the camel’s back?”

I can count on “going over the edge” much more quickly if there is background radio or TV adding to the mix.  Any questions when I am concentrating on a mental task, requiring me to shift my focusing from cognitive to verbal will also guarantee a faster slide into Boggle — even the simple ones like, “What do you take in your coffee?” or “Are you hungry?”

What triggers accelerate your slide?

5.  Systematizing

The last important key is to develop regular, structured systems: ways in which you deal with your challenges that can become automatic — new habits.

Adult learning gurus have discovered that it takes a solid month of repetition for a new activity to become a habit.  And that research was based on the non-ADDer! 

It takes us a little bit longer to get to a point where we can remember to repeat the action consistently enough to get that month in.  It will take some consistent attention to change the ways you habitually respond before you will be able to stamp out Boggle practically forever.

Stay tuned – LOTs more to come in this Series.  Look for new posts weekly, sometime between Saturday and early Monday morning, until the series is as complete as it’s going to get.  Get it while you can. (Once The Boggle Book is published, I may have to take down the excerpts.)

AS ALWAYS, if you’d like email notification of upcoming articles in the Boggle Series (or any other), give your name and email to the nice form at the top of the skinny column to your left.  (If you’ve done that for some other series, you’re covered for this one already – you only have to do this ONCE.)  STRICT No Spam Policy.

Articles in the Boggle Series
**Below: SOME content overlap – different info – Read BOTH

Coming up in the Boggle Series:

  • 11 – Boggle Bait
  • 12 – Avoiding Re-Boggle
  • 13 – Brain Science and Boggle

Other Related Articles

A few BASICS of Attentional Issues:

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with Executive Functioning struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

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