Building to Boggle

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Deja Vu all over again

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

Sherlocking Boggle Build-up

In this section you will begin to pay attention to the unique way that YOU build to the Boggle point.

Unless you are brand-spanking-new to the idea of ADD, you probably already know some of your Boggle triggers.

However, unless you have been dealing with the ADD brain-style for quite a while, I doubt that you realize how many there are, or the unique way in which certain combinations can be deadly!

Your Boggle Journal

For an entire month, you are going to keep a Boggle journal — a notebook that chronicles periods where you don’t cope well at all, even if you didn’t actually Boggle at the time.

A month?  I’ll never remember to keep this up for a month!  Are you kidding?

No, I am not kidding, and yes, you will forget to even think about this particular focus many times during the month.  Don’t sweat the details.

Mark out a month in your calendar, and commit to recording
as much as you can, as many times as you can get it together
to do it, every single day.

Say what?

You read that correctly.

If we could count on your follow-through skills,
you would only have to do this for a few days
throughout the month,


If we could count on your follow-through skills
you probably wouldn’t be reading about Boggle.

Focusing on a Boggle journal for an entire month will give us a good shot at gathering enough information to be useful, once we factor in all of the days when you will forget about it altogether.

If you don’t think about it as something you are going to do “every single day,” you probably won’t do it at all – or at least not after the first glitch!

As you learn to work with yourself, you need to remember the following mantra: always ride the horse in the direction it’s going.  Let’s not begin in denial.

So, about that Boggle Journal . . .

In “real” time, you want to make a record of every activity
that pushes your “cranky button.”

  • radio playing (what, exactly?)
  • several different radios playing in different locations?
  • background TV (what program, or kind of program?)
  • what about volume?
    is it worse when it is too loud?
    or does it make you crankier when you can barely hear it?
  • lack of sleep the night before?
  • sleeping through the alarm – or hitting the snooze one too many times?
  • pressure in your wake-up window?
  • missing ingredients when you’re trying to rush dinner?
  • digging the lawn mower out of the garage to mow the lawn?
  • running out of printer ink in the middle of a print job?
  • and anything else that bugs you.

NOW, go back through the list and add anything in particular that that drives you bug-nutty when someone ELSE does it!  What do they do that works your last nerve?  

There may be little you can do about a great many of the things on your list,
but it is especially important that you list them.

  • children crying (or whining)?
  • family members arguing?
  • partner neglecting a phone call home when working late?
  • teens forgetting to call when they said they would?
  • boss waiting until 5pm to give you something that MUST be ready tomorrow?
  • having to move bicycles before you can back the car out of the garage?
  • parents dropping by without calling first?

Don’t censor yourself and don’t make yourself wrong

You’re not “blaming,” you’re Sherlocking.

Forget anything you’ve ever heard or read about “taking responsibility.” You ARE taking responsibility.

You’re paying attention to what triggers your slide into Boggle so that you will be able to avoid Boggle in the future.

If you had a food allergy, would you be “blaming” the food list for giving you hives?

  • Would you leave broccoli off your list because it is supposed to be good for you and doesn’t seem to bother anyone else?
  • Would you strike out lima beans because they only gave you small hives and the big problem was wheat?
  • Would you decide not to list corn because you don’t like corn and you’re worried that maybe THAT’s why it upsets your stomach?


You can avoid hives and you can avoid Boggle —
but not until you Sherlock your “allergies.”


Next week we’ll take an even broader view of the territory, but for this week, start compiling your list of triggers day by day. There is power in compiling a list in one place, but do whatever you must to capture your irritations as they occur.

Take the time to copy them into your Boggle Journal at your first opportunity,
before you lose your notes.

To jumpstart your Boggle Journal, before you begin recording “live,”  spend just a bit of time recalling the last occasion when you lost it.  Write down the specifics.  Don’t relive the experience itself; think about what led up to it, and capture a “wide-angle overview” — as if you had been merely an observer.

Don’t agonize if you can’t bring it ALL back.  Capture as much detail as you can.  The more evidence you collect, the easier it will be to predict yourself – and the easier it will be to avoid future Boggles.

Think back on your last Boggle experience

Be sure to record the following details (close enough, on the time):

  • the time of day, as well as the day and date
    (like, “4-ish PM, after kids home from school last Monday, Jan. 7th? “)
  • the people involved (Bob and Robbie)
  • any additional stimuli (bills overdue, Sally’s stereo blaring upstairs – rap)
  • as well as the form of the Boggle itself (verbal argument in kitchen – loud!)

The Food Factor

Write down what you had to eat before the Boggle point.

  • How long had it been since you last ate, approximately?
    (i.e., just ate, recently ate, a few hours ago, day before?)
  • Did you skip breakfast?  Maybe you had only coffee and a donut.
  • Was your last meal unusually large?
  • Was there anything different from YOUR normal about it? (fast food you rarely eat? Chinese or Mexican? Standard “American” fare when your normal is what many Americans call “ethnic?”)
  • Had you been eating or drinking an unusual amount of a particular food or beverage lately?
    (remember, “unusual” is compared to YOUR normal – if you usually eat four pounds of frogs legs and snails for lunch, that’s not unusual for YOU.  We’re looking for what’s different – no judgments!)
  • Had you been drinking alcohol (etc.) the night before? Enough to feel the effects the next day?
  • Were you on a weight-loss diet?

Whatever it was and whatever it is, just write it down.

Handle Boggles that occur in your tracking month in a similar fashion. Also track the number of times you used your TBZ or your Boggle room instead of losing it. You will begin to notice patterns.

Don’t force changes

Try not to let the fact that you are tracking change what you allow yourself (or force yourself) to do. Just track it!

There are no magic answers – you simply want to Sherlock what’s going on with you so that you can work with your data.

Stay tuned. In the next article in this series we are going to take a an even broader view of how the elements of your life affect your functioning.

As always, if you’d like notification of future 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 right.  You only have to do this once, so if you’ve asked for notification for a prior series, you’re covered for this one.  STRICT No Spam policy.

Related Articles on this site

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

Coming up in the Boggle Series:

A bit of Related Neuroscience

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!"

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

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