Getting off the couch & getting going – Part 1


Worry, Worry, Worry!
. . . The agony of agonizing

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:

Let’s Get GUI!
Looking at Good, Urgent, and Important

When I first began to blog on the topic of organization and task completion, I was initially daunted.

It seemed to me that productivity, accomplishment, follow-through and planning were such HUGE topics for anything less than entire books — difficult to handle briefly, even in an entire Series of posts on each topic!

While most of what I read on the inter-webs focuses on Tips and Techniques, I wanted to explore underlying principles, and I wanted to share them from a brain-based perspective.

QUITE the challenge — especially since I knew that most readers wouldn’t have my background of information, so I had to include an explanation of terms before I could move on even to underlying principles, much less sharing techniques that many have found helpful.

Don’t miss: Getting Things Done-101

The extent of the challenge stopped me for a while, I must admit, and it took me some time to begin to figure out how best to do it without wearing people out.  Long-time readers may have noted that my earlier articles are much longer than the ones I have been posting lately.

Whittling things down remains a challenge, but I don’t let that keep me from trying to be helpful in as brief a manner as I believe can get the job done for most people.

Moving along anyway

I am inspired by the malaise that seems to waft in with the summer heat, and I want to explore more about Getting Things Done. I plan to continue to whittle things down to a size we can manage in two ways:

  1. Dividing this topic and this article into parts, and
  2. Using language and examples that will relate primarily to those attempting to Get Things Done at home, whether the tasks are personal or professional in nature.

Let’s start by thinking about how to tackle a number of different kinds of tasks by throwing them into a few metaphorical “task bins.”

Getting GUI

Take a look at your task list every day (which implies that you make one, right?)  Separate the tasks that would be good to get done from the tasks that are URGENT and IMPORTANT.

Good to get done tasks

Good to get done tasks help you move your life forward – without the not-so-subtle pressure that normally accompanies a To-DO! List.  This category is for the “treadmill tasks” of life: the recurring chores that really don’t need to be done at a specific time or day, as long as they are done fairly regularly.

These are the tasks I keep encouraging you to put on autopilot:

  • Figure out a reasonably effective way to do them
  • Do them the same way every time so that they can become habitual.
  • Put them on auto-pilot. “Auto-pilot” habits don’t debit cognitive resources!  No deciding, no agonizing, and your conscious mind is freed for more important work.

Urgent Tasks

Urgent Tasks are two-fold, both of which you are going to work toward eliminating from your life as you learn more about what you need to be intentional about getting things done.

Type 1 Urgents are those items that carry a monetary, legal or emotional penalty for remaining undone — many of which are the result of not getting out in front of them earlier.

Taxes, license renewals, bills, birthday cakes, presents and cards all fall into the Type 1 Urgent category at the beginning.

Don’t beat yourself up about your struggles with this category — or ruminate over the fact that you “should” have taken care of whatever it is before it became a problem that had to be handled immediately (or else!)

Simply identify the items that belong here to make sure you don’t drop those balls in the future.

Many of us with Executive Functioning issues have developed the unfortunate habit of using the adrenaline rush that accompanies urgency to be ABLE to focus with intentionality.

Adrenaline is an endogenous psycho-stimulant (produced within).

It does work; we tend to get more done. But it comes with a high price tag.  There are healthier forms of energy that will help you get things done — more about those to come.

Bona fide Emergencies

Bona fide emergencies generally won’t make this list at all. They are the things that you rarely have time to put on a list in the first place, nor do you need to.

Fire, flood, illness, accidents and broken bones, necessary and well-maintained equipment that suddenly gives up the ghost  — things that it’s unlikely you could have predicted but MUST be dealt with immediately — ALL fall in the category of bona fide emergencies.

The only way to plan for bona fide emergencies is to leave a bit of ease in your schedule every single day so that you stand a shot at getting back on track when you have to stop to deal with them.

Type 2 Urgents are the things that you are going to practice saying no to: that means setting boundaries.

My favorite quote that describes this category perfectly is this one:
“Lack of planning in your life does not constitute an emergency for me.”

Many of the items in this category wouldn’t be on your plate to begin with if you would get the time and energy vampires off your neck.

Other items pop in here when you say yes because you can’t imagine how to say no.  You would not find yourself rushing to buy a hostess gift for a party with that couple you don’t enjoy, for example, if you hadn’t said yes in the first place!

We have a tendency to say yes to these items we really don’t want to do because it requires little of our decision-making power to respond in “emergency mode” — it feels like MORE to do to refuse to play, so we play.

It feels great to put out a fire — not so great to prevent one.

I’m not saying that setting boundaries is an easy fix, but it is a simple one, and the only one that will ever work to get Type 2 Urgents out of your life forever.

Unfortunately, until we learn to set and protect boundaries around what we allow others to push onto our plates, our behavior teaches those around us to do exactly what we do NOT want them to do.

To begin with, demote the Type 2 Urgents:
Don’t say no, say LATER.

Take a baby step toward teaching your family and friends that ONLY when you’ve accomplished what is IMPORTANT will you be able to focus time or attention on Type 2 Urgents.

They may never understand that you have more important things to do than pick up the pieces of somebody else’s dropped ball or help them handle their over-commitments or lack of boundaries, but it is essential that you understand that reality yourself.

When you say, “Not now,” show any whiners and complainers your list of what needs to be done first and tell them to get them workin’ on it if they want you to be finished faster.

You probably won’t be able to count to three before you hear (with attitude, no doubt), Oh, never mind!

[More about this in an earlier article: Priorities-101:Yes means No]

So what’s IMPORTANT?  

That’s a VERY good question.  What IS “important” to you?  I’ll give you a hint with another favorite saying:

Nobody ever said, at the end of life,
“Darn!  I wish I’d spent more time on my chores.”

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Dealing with Distractions


When the mind drifts away
Even when we’re trying hard to concentrate

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from The Challenges Series

This article (and Series) speaks to ANY of us who struggle with staying focused and on-task, by the way.  Distractibility is common with depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and in plain vanilla brains with too much to do and too little time in which to do it all. What do you think is behind procrastination?

More about Distractibility

As I said in the conclusion to an earlier post of this series, Distinguishing Distractibility, most brains screen out persistent stimuli.  That talent is part of the mechanism that ensures the survival of the species.

In order to be alert to something that might be life threatening, the brain automatically decides that ongoing stimuli are merely “background,” no longer important enough to pass along to the conscious mind.

I’ll use the sense of smell to give you an example of what I mean . . . 

Because smells are processed directly by what used to be referred to as the limbic area of the brain (instead of having to go through the thalamus, like the other senses), most ADD/EFD and “vanilla” brains – those without the cognitive mix-ins – usually have the same experience of the way it works.

Lessons from the Kitchen

Have you ever prepared a Thanksgiving meal, or been in the kitchen while one was being prepared?

Think back to those amazing smells. Mmmmmmmmm – heaven!

Yet, if you stay in the kitchen, after a while you stop noticing them.

In fact, when another person comes into the room exclaiming, “Boy, it sure smells great in here!” you can’t really smell those amazing aromas anymore, even if you try.

Because cognitive bandwidth is a limited resource, your brain has “backgrounded” the persistent odors so that you will be available to pay attention to any new ones, possibly needing immediate attention — like the fact that the rolls are burning.

If you leave the room (or the house) for a few minutes then come back into the kitchen, even a short while later, every good smell will hit you like a wave in the ocean. “Wow. It does smell good in here!”

YOU don’t have to think about handling the “backgrounding.”

Your brain does that for you, just as transparently as your brain tells you how to walk down a sidewalk without your having to consciously consider each little step in the process — allowing you sufficient “brain space” to think about something else.

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The Virtues of Lowering your Standards


Consider this a “Track-back Tuesday” post

Late last night (or early this morning, depending on where you are and how you track time), I received a comment from an extremely frustrated ADDer struggling with cellphone and I-pad impulsivity. Most of us can relate, huh?

You can read her comment HERE (my coaching response follows).

Double-checking one of my older articles that I suggested she read, I notice that it received fewer “likes” or comments than I thought it would when I wrote it. It struck me that MANY of you who read ADDandSoMuchMore.com only occasionally probably missed it, and it’s a goodie. It contains more than a couple foundational concepts that create issues that most people find problematic, and those of us in Alphabet City frequently find debilitating.

SO . . . I am reblogging my own post,
hoping it will provide a few keys to turn a few of YOUR locked doors.

If you want to add velocity to your self-coaching efforts, take the time to read the articles linked within that post as well. They will open in new tabs/windows, so you can click them as you come to them and keep on reading.

Enjoy!

ADD . . . and-so-much-more

click image for sourceclick image for source

 When “Good enough” is Good ENOUGH!

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

Let’s delve deeper into a couple of foundational problems,
particularly for those of us with Executive Functioning dysregulations:

* struggles with activation,and
* the perils of falling victim to black and white thinking.

Hand in hand, each exacerbates the other,
until it’s truly a miracle we ever get anything done at all!

To the neurodiverse AND the neurotypical

On a very different kind of blog, post-production supervisor and self-professed Edit Geek Dylan Reeve shared his thoughts on the very topic I planned to write about today (the image above is his). He began and ended his relatively brief article with a wonderful synopsis of exactly what I am about to tackle in this article.

In Defense Of ‘Good Enough’

For many people . . . ‘good enough’ is a dirty word…

View original post 2,887 more words

Productivity, Focus & Follow-through


What helps & what hurts
– so that you don’t unintentionally
make accomplishment harder  –

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

The Motivation/Activation/Focus Continuum

As I’ve explained in the Activation articles, cheerleading – or any other attempt to motivate someone who is struggling with activation – is likely to backfire.

There are many tips and techniques that can help a person who struggles with Executive Functions initiate action and stay on track to completion, but most of them are counter-intuitive. The “typical” advice only works for the “typical” person.

Attempting to explain the differences between the neurotypical and the neuro-diverse, I’ve said many times, “The reasons they don’t do things are seldom the same as the reasons we don’t do things.”

Different causes mandate different approaches and ideas.

One of the best ideas I know is to make use of the services of a Body Double – as long as both partners are aware of some of the unwritten rules of the game.

Body Double Confusion

An ADD Coaching technique I introduced in Body Doubles for Activation & Accountability, the Body Double concept underscores how simply having another person in the room can make things easier to do — because it is an externalized reminder of the need to stay on track for the person being doubled.

Haven’t you ever noticed how much easier it is to stay on track on certain types of tasks when somebody is observing?

Some repeat information from the earlier article:

  • It’s important to note that the Body Double does not actively help, advise, disrupt concentration or comment outside of a structured, agreed upon set of circumstances.
  • The Body Double’s only task is to sit quietly out of the way, reading or writing while the ADD/EFDer attends to work (unless it has been agreed in advance that s/he will interrupt a hyperfocused worker-bee occasionally to ensure that s/he stops for periodic breaks or for meals).
  • Frequently, the Body Double brings along a compatible task of his or her own – like journaling, knitting or catching up with email on a laptop or tablet.  They’re only there to externalize the observing ego of the person they’re doubling – the witness self of the person they are assisting.

I have observed for almost three decades now that having another person in the room actually helps those of us with activation and follow-through struggles focus on the task at hand, and stay on-task to completion — provided that the person in our space doesn’t feel it is their job to “help” us with what we are doing.

THAT’s where the confusion begins

In general, people tend to think about “helping” as an active state: donating food, clearing the table, fixing a flat — DOing something.

So when they are asked for help as a Body Double, they tend to be as much an active off-task distraction as a passive partner who helps to improve the odds that someone with Executive Functioning struggles will stay on track.

  • They often assume they are at least supposed to ask how things are going, or for a report of what has been done so far, or to remind the person of the items still undone (or something else that also needs to be done).
  • Unfortunately, intruding on the process in a manner that might be intended to be  “actively helpful assistance” actually makes things harder – sometimes much harder.

To be really helpful to someone already struggling with attention, focus and follow-through, a Body Double needs to be passive.

Don’t forget that you can always check out the sidebar for a reminder
of how links work on this site, they’re subtle (scroll UP for it) ==>

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ATTENTION on your driving saves $$ and lives


Check out additional info in the comments too – in answer to a great question

driveBrainYour Brain REALLYglobe2_100
Can NOT Do it!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the What Kind of World Series

Heads Up!  The information reproduced below is NOT new news – yet things are getting WORSE!

Science has been studying the driving/multi-tasking dangers for years now, publishing their findings in scientific journals.

FINALLY, it is getting some serious attention from the mainstream press!

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) did us all a huge service by getting laws on the books that cracked down on drinking and driving. Briefly, our roads were safer and traffic deaths went down.

Despite their efforts, however, we are all now at greater risk than ever because of mobile technology.

  • You probably figured out on your own that dialing, texting,
    or updating your Facebook status while driving is a seriously stupid idea.
    After all, you’d have to take your eyes off the road.
  • BUT WERE YOU AWARE that, according to scientific reaction-time studies, talking on a cell-phone while driving – EVEN hands-free – is riskier than driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit?

DON’T DO IT – and don’t let the driver of a car you ride in do it either.

Just Say NO!

Those of us with attention deficits to begin with really need to heed the warning – and that category includes ALL teens, by the way, whose prefrontal cortices aren’t yet fully developed.

We simply can’t take the risk that we will act on the impulse to answer that cell phone – turn it OFF or hand it to a passenger to tell callers you are not available while you are driving.

Don’t even chance it. Make it a habit by making it your POLICY.

The lives at risk are not ALL yours to gamble!

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Commitment to Transition


CoinFlipFlip a Coin

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

Chocolate or Vanilla?

To keep this process as simple as possible, we are going to forget about troubles with the Gap in this article, and work with only one of the other two transitional modes.

ChocVanCone

The initial step, once you have made your list so that you can work with your own personal and specific examples, is to agree to work on improving one transitional mode at a time.

If you’re having difficulty going into, you can’t simultaneously master the re-orientation of coming out of.  You’ll be left not wanting to do anything except sit in your boggle room and cry (or drink!)  Sound familiar?

Pick one mode and let’s go.

In the mode you’ve selected, write down ten specific tasks that prove extremely difficult (or nearly impossible) for you – even if you feel like an idiot to admit to yourself or anyone else that you can’t manage it like “everyone else.” 

Don’t switch to examples for the other mode – we’re cleaning up one neighborhood at a time.

Next to each one of your ten items, write down all the different activities, mental and physical, you go through to get from A to Z.  Below is an example to give you an idea of what I mean by that assignment.

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Transition Tamer: Beware the GAP!


Transitions:
Into, Out of
&
AROUND
The Gap
 

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

Read more of this post

Transitions: Divide to Conquer


The Great Divide

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Excerpted from an upcoming book; all rights reserved
CLICK HERE to begin at the beginning

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~ mgh

Come, Stay or Go?

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Sneaky Grief


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while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
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the_sneaky_ninja_by_kirilleeWhad’ya Mean Sneaky Grief?

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

————————————————————————-
You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief
————————————————————-

occupations_chefOnion

Peeling Grief’s Onion takes the TIME it takes!

Nancy Berns, author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us has this to say:

It’s wrong to expect everyone else to follow a
formulaic ‘healing process’ aimed at ‘moving on.’
 . . .
‘You do not need to “close” pain in order to live life again.”

Here, here!  I couldn’t agree more strongly.

We each grieve uniquely, and there are parts of our experience of grieving that will remain in our hearts forever – thank God!

How horrible to think that significant loss might be marked with nothing more dramatic than a nod before moving on forever, thinking no more often about what we have lost than those remnants of a fast-food meal we tossed with last week’s trash.

However, I believe it is equally wrong to avoid handing out a few maps of the territory in our fear of seeming didactic about a process that is one of the most individual of journeys.

  • There are markers that most of us swim by as we navigate the waters of grief, holding our lives above the waterline as best we can.
  • I believe that locating ourselves on our particular pathway is an important first step in our ability to navigate successfully – sometimes at all.

Locating ourselves in the grief process is trickier than it might be otherwise, until we understand the concept I refer to as “sneaky grief.”

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Some HELP for the Grieving


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What to DO while we’re peeling the onion

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 2 of a two-part article in the
Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

————————————————————————-
You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief

Click BELOW for Part ONE of this article:
Onions, Diagnosis, Attention and Grief –
Dealing with Grief is like Peeling an Onion 
————————————————————-

In Part One of this article, we talked about some of the ways in which dealing with grief is like peeling an onion, and we discussed the fact that it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish grief from depression.

I encouraged you not to automatically discount the idea of pharmaceuticals if you feel you are not able to cope very well at all, and discouraged the impulsive from self-medicating.

I also encouraged you to trust your instincts about what YOU need while you heal.

I went on to give you a few specifics to help explain what that frequently mentioned “trouble sleeping” during a grief phase might look like in your life.

Following some brief information about the benefits of normalizing, I included a bit of self-disclosure about my own recent struggles with grief, to further help normalize what you may be experiencing. I left you with this:

Peeling grief’s onion takes the time it takes.
There ARE no shortcuts.

While it is certainly true that we cannot shorten the process, there are many things we CAN do to avoid lengthening it. That will be the focus of the remainder of this particular 2-part article in the Grief Series.

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Onions, Diagnosis, Attention and Grief


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info
.

Dealing with Grief is like Peeling an Onion

occupations_chefOnion

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 of a two-part article in the
Grief & Diagnosis Series
– all rights reserved

————————————————————————-
You will get more value out of the articles in this series
if you’ve read Part 1:

The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief.
————————————————————-

An article entitled Helpful Tips for Coping with Grief, available on the HealthCommunities Website, asserts that “Grief is a normal response to loss.”

By “normal,” no doubt, they are referring to a state that is to be expected in an emotionally healthy human being.

The ten paragraph, ten part, ten web-pagelet article goes on to say quite a few helpful things about grief, many of which I am going to recontext in this series, along with exploring other assertions about grief and the grieving process that have long been accepted as universally relevant.

Because I think we need to reopen that book!

I’d like to begin by expanding upon the HealthCommunity’s second item today:
Feelings of grief [are] often progress in different stages.
It begins by underscoring an important point
we must all endeavor to keep in mind:
Every person grieves differently. 

“For some people, intense feelings — sometimes called the “throes of grief” — can last quite awhile. People who are grieving may go through 5 stages, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

Grief may not involve all of these and they don’t necessarily occur in order.

A number of difficult emotions are associated with grief — from feeling numb, to shock, sorrow, loneliness, fear, guilt and anger.

People who are grieving may be in pain, physically and emotionally, have trouble sleeping, lose interest in eating or activities and have difficulty concentrating and making decisions.”

I especially appreciate their careful use of qualifiers like “often”, “may,” and “don’t necessarily.”

My primary reason for quoting them, however, is to introduce some of my own conclusions about WHY grief seems to involve layers of processing, and WHY we don’t proceed apace from one to the other.

But first, lets talk about that onion for a minute.

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Stages of Grief following Diagnosis


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Exploring the Stages of Grief following Diagnosis

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series – all rights reserved

It’s A Process

In the previous article, I introduced some of the predictable stages of grief that we cycle through on the way to a Positive Acceptance of a diagnosis.

I use the term “Positive Acceptance” to refer to the developmental stage where we are able to incorporate a vision of the future that can include our diagnosis without allowing it to define our vision for ourselves and our lives.

We have reached the stage of Positive Acceptance when we are able to embrace our potential for incorporating change as development, affirming that healing and growth can, has and will occur in expected and unexpected ways — and that new opportunities will arise for which we have been uniquely prepared by the process of getting to this stage.

Given the tendency in our community to hyperfocus on rumination, when we are presented with a strong stimulus that triggers the release of adrenalin we tend to agonize!  As I said in the introductory article,  “it is only when we become ‘stuck’ in one of the phases of post-diagnosis grief that most of us take the time to stop to wonder what is going on with us and why we can’t ‘just get on with it.’”

What IS Going On?

One of the “problems” with adrenaline release is that it activates our fight-flight-freeze response, with its attendant shut-down of the prefrontal cortex [PFC] centers essential for what are termed the Executive Function.

Many of us with “alphabet disorders” [ADD, EFD, TBI, ASD] seem to have what I call “hair-trigger startle responses.” As a consequence, we often seem to get stuck far more often than our non-ADD peers.

It is my experience that everyone gets stuck when PFC shutdown occurs, it just happens more often and more dramatically to those of us with deficits in the realms of the attentional spectrum.

That’s the good news as well as the bad news, by the way, but let’s explore some brain-basics before we expand on that idea — and before we explore each of the stages of post-diagnostic grief at the end of this article.  (Stay with me here – it will help things make more sense)

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How Cheap, really, IS talk?


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TalkCheapJustDo

For sale at spreadshirt.com

Just DO It!?

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Creativity Series – all rights reserved

——————————————————–
Talk is cheap. Words are plentiful.
Deeds are precious.
~
H Ross Perot

—————————————————

Get OVER Yourselves!

There are A LOT of reasons why that ubiquitous advice to “Just DO It” seldom really works, but they’re rarely considered when those “tough love” so-called motivators mount their high horses. 

It is a worse than lousy motivator unless it comes at exactly the right moment and for exactly the right reasons to exactly the right person.  

  • Impulsives won’t be helped by that kind of encouragement.
  • Individuals at a crossroad in their lives would benefit more from a bit of that cheap talk before they Just DO anything.
  • Teens, already too much under the influence of peer pressure, certainly don’t need that kind of message tossed out like a dare.

There are folks, I suppose, who need that little kick-in-the-butt flavor of encouragement, and rare times when almost all of us could probably use it.  Those particular words, however, are more likely to activate our resistance than inspire our action, especially those of us with a higher than average oppositional piece to our make-up.

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The Interplay between Diagnosis and Grief


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Exploring the Post-Diagnostic Grief Response 

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Grief & Diagnosis Series – all rights reserved

webweaver clipart

Question: What do the following expressions
have in common?

  • “Oh thank goodness!  Now I can have a life!”
  • “You think I have what?” “Why didn’t they find this out before?”
  • “Why my child?” 
  • “He’s a perfectly normal BOY! Why do they have to pathologize everything?”
  • “I don’t need medication, I just need to try harder now that I know what I’m dealing with.”
  • “Those @#$% doctors don’t know anything!”
  • “If only I’d known this earlier, my life would have been completely different!”
  • Tell my boss?  Are you nuts?”

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Brain-Based Coaching Secrets Beat Back Overwhelm Q&A


Getting Over Overwhelm:
Free Q&A Round Two

(Decription of the  Early Summer’s TeleClass and Link to replay below)

OVERWHELM!
NOT just for ADDers!

[Don’t forget: links are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
– they turn red on mouse-over]

Dr. Monique Y Wells and I are SO excited about our mutual decision to open our follow-on Brain-based Q&A TeleClass to ANYONE-and-EVERYONE who wants or needs a bit of help Getting Over Overwhelm — our gift, no charge to you.

AND, we’ve decided to make the replay of the original call available below, so everyone can review it (and those of you who missed it can listen as well) — absolutely free, but ONLY until September 27th, the day of the SECOND ROUND of live Q&As.

Keep a pad and pencil handy!

I’ll be taking questions about the content of the first call [replay below] AS WELL AS using what I’ve learned about overwhelm, attention, activation, and the brain to answer your questions about what’s going on in your lives, the lives of your loved ones, even the lives of your clients – whether you have diagnostic ADD or NOT!

CLICK HERE to register NOW to call in for this Q&A
on THIS Thursday, September 13, 2012.

DON’T MISS IT!

CLICK HERE to Register NOW!
for ROUND 2 – September 27 at 4 pm Eastern!

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Play Podcast: ADD and S-E-X


Creative Commons; Wikipedia

Ways ADD impacts sexuality:
an ADD Coaching approach

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

(Scroll down to play podcast)

As I said in the “coming soon” announcement —

Sexuality is one of the not-so-surprising areas affected by Executive Functioning Dysregulations of ALL types, including ADD.

Factors effecting physical intimacy is an arena that is rarely thought about in terms of ADD specifically. The topic of ADD’s impact on sex is even less frequently spoken aloud and in public — at least not seriously!

So, of course, I wanted to discuss it – and we DID!

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Transitional Modes


Sherlock YourSELF, John

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

Thanks to artist/educator Phillip Martin for capturing so MANY of my concepts in his images – and for their use.

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~mgh

There ain’t no IS about ADD

All human beings, even “identical” twins, have differences — all the way down to the celular level.

Those differences are magnified and multiplied when you throw attentional spectrum disorders into the mix.

While your challenges and talents may be impacted by (or even a product of) ADD, don’t make the mistake of assuming that your experience is reflective of ADD in general.

Throughout the Transitions Series, for instance, I offer my examples to help you compile and categorize your troublesome transitions.

But don’t assume that you work the same way
I do simply because we both have ADD. 

EVEN when we share what seems to be an
identical list of transitional challenges,
when we dig deeper we will find that they
are challenging for completely different reasons.

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The Truth about Transitions


Sherlocking Transitions

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

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.” ~mgh

Walk before Running

As I said in Trouble with Transitions, the first article in the Transitions Series:

One of the primary reasons that transitions are so tricky is that we have only one word to describe THREE phases of the same darned task: 

COMPLETION — transitioning out of
— “putting away your toys”

PREPARATION — transitioning into
— “getting out the pieces of the new puzzle”

and

THE GAP — that “toy free”
period between the two.

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ADD and S-E-X


ADD & Sexuality: an ADD Coaching Viewpoint

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

Creative Commons; Wikipedia

Sexuality is one of the not-so-surprising areas affected by Executive Functioning Dysregulations of ALL types, including ADD.

Factors effecting physical intimacy is an arena that is rarely thought about in terms of ADD specifically.

The topic of ADD’s impact on sex is even less frequently spoken aloud and in public — at least not seriously!

So, of course, I wanna’ discuss it!

The Back Story

During a break betweeen sessions at last March’s ACO Conference in Atlanta, I was chatting with a few of the other speakers about the key issues that our clients bring to coaching. The question of how (and how often) we are called on to handle the topic of sexualty came up for discussion.

One of the participants in the conversation was the founder of ADDClasses.comTara McGillicuddy, an ADD Coach, advocate and speaker who is the host of the most popular ADD podcast series on BlogTalk Radio: ADHD Support Talk.

So, of course, WE made plans to have a conversation on the topic of the impact of ADD on sexuality for her show.

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Trouble with Transitions


Fade In – Fade Out

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

We start small

We begin with the tedium of to-dos – because the lessons learned will generalize to the bigger changes and transitions that we all must face.

Meanwhile, we must all learn the ways in which we, uniquely, “chop wood, carry water.”  ~ mgh

Transition Trials

As we work our way from dawn to dusk — multi-tasking, time-slicing or hyperfocusing — we face many moments when we realize that we must begin a particular task, usually before we have completed what we are currently doing.

THAT is the very stake in the heart of “trouble with transitions.”

But WHY are transitions so difficult?

Wait! Let’s ask a better question: who claimed that transitions were supposed to be easy?  

ADD/EFD/TBI/PTSD or “vanilla-flavored,” most of us have some degree of trouble with transitions —  a big-time reason why most of us reach the exhausted end of many a busy day with so many undone to-dos.

It is merely a trick of language that promotes the fallacy that we will – and should – be able to transition from one task to the next with the ease with which one image on a movie screen dissolves into another — or the way a really great cross-fade between tunes seems to sneak the volume of one song down just as the other comes up.

Easy? NO WAY!

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Sherlocking Task Anxiety


By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC Another in a series of articles from my upcoming book, TaskMaster™ – see article list below

Task Anxiety 101 – part 2

Watson, we need to review

The three most recent segments introduced a unique connection between bribery and intentionality, linking it to reward and acknowledgment. I introduced the connection between inner three-year-olds and the cookie concept, a real-world application of the importance of reward and acknowledgment to ongoing accomplishment.

IF you’ve been playing along . . .

In the TaskMaster™ Series Introduction and in Task Anxiety Awareness, you made some lists.

One is a List of Ten — activities you find yourself doing INSTEAD whenever you attempt to complete a task, or in response to an attempt to initiate a task.

  • This is a list of any ten of the things that YOU do that leaves you chronically behind and befuddled.
  • Many of you had self-identified with that not-very-helpful “chronic procrastinator” label as a result.
  • I encouraged you to reframe those tasks as “avoidance” activities: avoiding task anxiety.

You also have a List of Five Feelings.

I asked you to think of a specific example in your life where you tried to listen to “logical” advice from those who did not take the time to understand the parameters of your problem before stepping in to suggest their “simple solutions.”

  • I asked you to recall how you felt when you attempted to take that “logical” advice (or even thought about taking it), especially when accompanied by a failure to reach a goal or complete a task.
  • I suggested you write down at least five descriptive feeling words, then walked you through four paired-awareness exercises, shuffling the paired words around a bit to see if any new insights bubbled up from your unconscious.

Now, dear Watson, let’s connect some dots!

TaskMaster – Getting Things DONE!


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover
Hover before clicking for more info
.

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part One of the TaskMaster™ Series

Taming Training 101

You are about to learn to become your own Task Master.

Nooooo – I don’t mean standing with a chair and a whip, caging the beast that is YOU.

The TASKS must be trained.  They need to be tamed so they’ll work the way YOU need them to work.

Task taming is a multi-stepped process:

•  Tasks must be trained initially, then
•  Revisited and re-trained every time you learn something new about what you really need.

Let me guess . . . at this point, ALL you know about what you really need is that whatever others tell you to do doesn’t seem to work for YOU, right?

I’m about to let you in on an important ADD secret that many of us had to learn about the hard way. Shhhhhhhh!

At least 80% of what others have been telling you wasn’t designed to work for you!

  • It was actually intended to chastise you for not ALREADY knowing how to make it work, and
  • to get you to stop looking to others for help (especially them!)

Really! And I’ll bet it worked just as designed.

Think about it. Didn’t you feel thoroughly chastised, tongue-tied about what to say next, and reluctant to ask for help the next time?

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Distinguishing Distractibility


Distractions!
What are they anyway?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from The Challenges Series


A distraction is an involuntary diversion of attention in response to a stimulus — beyond our control.

Distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on an intended object and sustain that focus – in other words, a distraction is an intrusion into our attempt to concentrate on the task at hand.

Distractions can be external (nagging at any one of our five senses), or internal (“interruptions” from our own brain wiring or emotional states).

They can be subtle or overt, compelling or mildy irritating, important or trivial, but they ALL pull us off task, despite our best intentions.

ADD or not, ALL distractions reduce our ability to place our full attention where WE choose to concentrate.

• Can you fully concentrate on calculating your tax liability with repeated visits from your young daughter pleading with you to come outside to watch her ride her brand new bicycle?

• Are you able to take complicated directions over the phone while your spouse attempts to impart, in your other ear, something s/he deems important for you to hear RIGHT NOW?

• Are you able to drive through a blinding rain while your young children squabble in the back seat and your young teen blares the latest “Listen, this is so cool!” rap song?

Not really, right? ALL distractions have a negative impact on our ability to focus on the intended stimulus, and sustain the focus, the first two of the three Dynamics of Attending.

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Domino Problems


 

Domino problems?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the Stuff series: Part 4

Yeah. Domino problems!

You know that game where you set a row of dominoes on end, then tap the first one to watch them fall, one at a time, as the domino before it knocks it down?

As hinted at in Part-2 of this series, for many of us (especially those of us with ADD/EFD Brain-wiring), DECIDING is journey fraught with domino problem land-mines!

Like I said, even the most disorganized of us has
no problem putting trash in the trash can, books
on a shelf, and beer in the ‘fridge, right?

So what IS the problem?

  • Deciding whether something is trash, which shelf on which bookcase and where in the ‘fridge is the problem!
  • An even bigger problem is deciding what to do with the produce you removed to be able to appropriate the crisper drawer as a beer cooler!

Every decision to be made seems to be complicated by another decision that needs to be made first!

The terror of tiered tasks

As an example, let’s continue to use something considered relatively simple by many with neurotypical brains: putting away the groceries on return from the store.

We’ve got canned goods and boxes and bags, oh my!  But the really tricky stuff needs to go into the freezer or ‘fridge — before it reaches a state where it is unfit for any place but the garbage can!

Uh-oh.
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ABOUT Activation


Activation — Inertia’s Handmaiden

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the ADD Basics Series


Activation struggles
are a common occurrence in the ADD/EFD/TBI
(Alphabet City) population.

What’s going on when we wait until the last minute to begin something we’ve known about for months?

What is it about the last minute rush that busts a desperate case of  “I just can’t make myself” w-i-d-e open, uncovering a secret activator that we couldn’t, for the life of us, locate the day before?

Closely related both to motivation deficit and under-arousal, insufficient activation  is usually misidentified, mislabeled, and totally misunderstood.

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ABOUT Distractions


Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn
red on mouseover.

NOTE: If you have not read The Dynamics of Attending, the article below will have greater impact if you do that first.
———————————————————————————————————————————– 

Monkey Minds — The Dilemma of Distractability

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of the Intentional Attending Series – all rights reserved

A cartoon monkey climbing a tree trunk, attention elsewhere - obviously distracted

All distractions are interruptions, but
all interruptions are NOT distractions.

Distinction: disruption vs disturbance

An interruption is a momentary disturbance in the projected flow of a physical or mental activity that creates a break in continuity for a relatively brief interval.

Inherent in the definition is the assumption that concentration will return to the interrupted activity, if appropriate, implying that the control of one’s focus is volitional – a factor of the “will-power” of the individual who has been interrupted.

distraction, on the other hand, is a disruption of an individual’s concentrated attention upon a chosen object of focus. The distinction between the two otherwise similar events is that a distraction is intrusive: it prevents effective operation of the first and third of the three Dynamics of Attending:

  • focusing on the intended object
    and 
  • sustaining the focus

As long as the second dynamic – shifting focus at will – operates efficiently, “one quick interruption” remains so.  Most people can get back on track effectively as long as the “distracting” event is not pervasive or repetitive.

Ay, there’s the rub!

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