Boggle: Driving “Miss Crazy”

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Defensive Driving!

Excerpted from my upcoming Boggle Book ©Madelyn Grifith-Haynie-all rights reserved.

Driving the very car you HAVE

Anyone who has driven an old car with a lag time between stepping on the accelerator and the acceleration of the car itself learns rather quickly that there are certain things that are invitations to disaster – trying to pass on a blind curve or a hill, for example.

We learn to work with the car by thinking ahead and including that lag time in our driving strategies.

We can learn to work with our ADD brains in the same way.

The remainder of these articles from The Boggle Book are going to teach you how to “drive” your ADD brain in a way that allows you to manage the events of your life  — before you end up in a situation that is as much an invitation to disaster as trying to pass on a blind curve in an old car.

The Boggle Space: your very own place to recenter

Imagine a place where you could go as kind of a “time out” zone — a room where no new sensory input intrudes on your already fragile coping skills    In this room there are no uncompleted tasks that you must address.  There are no ongoing chores.  No one ever disturbs you when you are there.

Heaven, huh?

Now we are going to create that zone as a real place — a room or an area in your living space that is going to be your Boggle Space.  Then we are going to talk about how to adapt the same technique to your work environment.

First things first — planning

To fail to plan is to plan to fail ~ Winston Churchill

When you are planning, what works best for you?  Do you prefer yellow legal pads and sharpened pencils?  Or is a spiral notebook and a roller-ball pen with blue ink more to your liking?   Start this process optimally.  Get the tools that you need to make it productive and fun.

For me, it varies by topic.

  • A computer with my favorite word processor is key for some kinds of planning.
  • Believe it or not, I use a spreadsheet for others.
  • A “baby” legal pad and any Sharpie I can find is what I use for quick to-do lists.
  • A “real” legal pad for noodling my way when I’m not at all sure where I’m likely to end up – black ink only.
  • A pad that is three-hole punched to go into my three-ring binder is for projects.

Pay attention to what you write WITH

Some of us are super-sensitive to “pen-drag” or the sound of the scratches of pencil to paper. Others are “picky” about  ink color, or changes in ink color.  I know I am.  We may not be aware of it consciously, but we tend to avoid writing things down if we don’t like our writing implement. Really!

It’s amazing how much more I get done when I write it down.  And it’s incredible how much more I write down now that I’ve Sherlocked my preferences and honor them.

For projects, for example, ONLY my Waterman Foutain pen will keep me on track to the bottom of each page until the end of the project.  The others have too much drag and resistance, so I become more focused on the process of writing than the content.  I don’t like that.  Why push through irritation when I can change pens?

  • Ballpoint pens hate me.  They skip, drag and bleed all over everything.  So I hate them too!
  • Even though I’ve taken notes with a fountain pen since I was a freshman in High School (when I had no idea why the choice of pen was so important), there are NOW a few gel pens I can use relatively effectively if I can’t immediately put my hands on one of my three Waterman’s.

They’re not, however, my first choice. Old habits die hard, and why fix it if it ain’t broke?!
So that’s why I have back-up: ONE of the three is generally nearby.

I also don’t go back to cross things out (major!) if the page looks “messy” – so more than one color of ink DOES ME IN!  Black.  That’s all I want to see on the page until it’s time to start crossing things out.  Black ink.  I don’t even like to see the “thick” and “thin” pen strokes that result from changing pens.  It irritates me because it pulls focus away from the content.

What’s YOUR pleasure?

Build homes for the homeless

While you are at it, decide where you are going to keep your brainchildren.  What will you remember and use — a notebook, a bright red IN basket, a hanging file in the front of the top file drawer in your file cabinet?  A cardboard box on a shelf near your desk works too – just don’t force your lists and notes to wander aimlessly.  Build them a home. Make follow-through easier.

Get Out Your Notebook

I am going to use the analogy of a notebook and sheets of paper when discussing planning.

For some of you this will actually be a notebook.  For the rest of you, when I request that you take out your notebook, use that as a metaphor for whatever planning system works best for you.

The point here is to set up systems as you go to make things easy and do-able.   You may work on this task in one large chunk of time or you may be interrupted many times during each phase.  Let’s set it up so it is easy to get back on track.

NOW, let’s start planning that Boggle Space

“Not in my Boggle Space”

FIRST – Begin by making a list of the sensory arenas which become very distracting when you near your Boggle point.  This will include sounds, voices, visual clutter, certain colors, a ringing phone, etc. This list is your “Not in my Boggle Space” list.

When you design your room, these are the stimuli that, for you, cannot be present.

NEXT – Write down anything you can think of that would be soothing to you in a Boggle Space.
The key here is soothing — not exciting, not arousing, not distracting, not interesting, not fun.
Remember how you feel when all systems have gone haywire.

  • Do you need a place to lie down?
  • Does stretching out and doing some yoga help you to center?
  • Is there a particular picture you like to get lost in, or is anything visual an annoyance?
  • Do you want to be able to light incense — or does that sound like the very thing that could drive you to kill?
  • Do you want music or other sounds available?

Not sure?  Write it down anyway.  You can always cross it off later.  Writing it down now will get it out of your head, making room for some new ideas that might suit you better.

Example Boggle Spaces to Jumpstart Creativity

One of my clients created a Boggle Space out of a former nursery, a small white room with a solid color comfortable chair with an ottoman, a soft comfortable throw, room darkening curtains, a small table and a lamp with a dimmer.

Another had “no room” for a Boggle Space until a tri-fold screen was purchased to close off an area in his home office.  The only thing behind the screen is his favorite rocking chair and a tape deck with headphones — the sounds of the ocean ready at the push of a button.

 CLICK HERE for Part-2 of this Article: An Example from MY Life

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

Coming up in the Boggle Series:

  • 12 – Avoiding Re-Boggle
  • 13 – Brain-science and Boggle

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 EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and 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!"

3 Responses to Boggle: Driving “Miss Crazy”

  1. Pingback: When the Game is Rigged | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. Chertyl Burrell says:

    When your Boggle Book comes out, please let me know. I would love to have it to refer to often.
    Love the first two articles. I just joined up to be a follower of your blog and love it.


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