How to live a life that doesn’t suck


from Selorm Nelson - click graphic to read

from Selorm Nelson – click graphic to read

Does anybody REALLY live
“a LIFE they LOVE?”

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post
Part 1 in a Series

I know, it’s a bizarre way to begin

It is an ESPECIALLY bizarre question out of the metaphorical mouth of a coach.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, “life” coaching is a profession renowned for holding the “Live a life you LOVE banner aloft (above a table marketing miraculous services that will transform your life with the click of a PayPal button).

I’ve used the phrase myself – more than a few times.  It seemed a handy “short-hand” in my attempt to describe the benefits of coaching. But today I’m giving that hyperbole a bit more thought.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been under the weather all week and I’m now in the grouchy phase where I’m feeling sorry for myself – but I think the topic merits some frank discussion, don’t you?

Because I think we’re focusing on the wrong objective, which will continue to lead us astray.

I’m coming to believe it’s a set up, actually — for an expectations mismatch that will make us truly miserable, regardless of what our lives look like at any particular moment.

If it works for you, carry on. I’m all FOR hyperboles that work, but I’m not sure this one does.

I’m wondering if it’s time to move on to something that works better with the way our brains are designed. Do your best to read with an open mind.

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Expectations set by appearance


The comments to this post add content – don’t miss ’em!

DeceptiveAppearances

original source unknown

Getting PAST the Visual?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
A Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes Post

A recent conversation on a TBI article, Laughter is Brain Injury Medicine – Relieved it’s not me … new what?  launches a conversation that deserves an exploration here — thus, the article below.

(Regular readers have probably noted that Edie, a TBI advocate, frequently comments on the articles I put together to help, primarily, a readership that has attentional struggles and challenges. I comment on her blog as well.)

I hope you will take the time to investigate Brain Injury Self Rehabilitation, the blog sustained by the life experiences and research of former nurse Edie Flickinger.

MUCH of the information that she shares about Traumatic Brain Injury is also relevant to the rest of what I call “the alphabet disorders” population: ADD, EFD, ASD, MDD, BPD, OCD, ODD, etc.

Appearance Expectations

In her article, Edie’s point about appearance expectations (they look good, therefore we expect them to “work good”) is something I had never really thought very deeply about in terms of its impact on the functioning of those whom I have coached and trained — at least, not quite so consciously.

Sometimes Size DOES Matter

BigLittleI have long observed certain manifestations of that particular “expectations set by appearance” dynamic with adults and groups of children.

I have repeatedly noted the greater number of frustrated adults when kids who are much bigger or taller than same-age children struggle with accomplishment (even when a “big” kid performs at a higher level than his or her peers.)

People subconsciously expect a particularly “big” kid to be able to do (or learn, or already know) what they would expect of a child several years older.

If the child performs at an advanced level cognitively or intellectually, it frequently seems to be taken for granted, even discounted (in a manner similar to the way we admonish bigger kids not to physically bully those who are smaller or frailer).

Should the “big” kid be even the slightest bit delayed in development, adult concern can be intense!

“Little” kids (most often if they are female), seem to get a “pass” on functional or behavioral issues more frequently than their “standard-sized” same-age buddies as well — an example of the same dynamic from the other end of the see-saw.

But I’ll bet Edie is absolutely correct that many of our expectations of what a person “should” be able to handle functionally and intellectually are set by appearance standards, regardless of age. After all, we do “dress for success!!”

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The Procrastination Puzzle & the ADD Brain-style


from deviantart – by ~F3LiPaO

Organizing Oopses

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, MCC, SCAC
About Procrastination — Part 2
part of the Intentionality Series, with links
to Organization and Task Completion

Review Part I first: Procrastination and Task Anxiety – or the “Mr. Amygdalla” comments & “certainty and cognitive dissonance” info will be half as effective as they could be.

Jigsaw Juggernauts

People with the ADD brain-style (EFDs) seem to have difficulty “putting it all together” – which tends to lead to disorganization and what the rest of the world labels “procrastination.”

In a youthful “neurotypical” brain, inputs from the outer world (i.e., through our senses) seem to be recorded with some kind of tagging for sequence, in some fashion science doesn’t exactly understand yet.

Metaphorically only, what was observed first gets position #1, while an incoming data bite some 90 seconds later might be “tagged” with something like #321 (and all of the bits and bytes seem to be able to hang on to their little tags until called on to perform!)

That makes it fairly easy for them to call all the bits back and line them up at showtime — for example, when attempting to stay tracked on the threads of a conversation, facilitating dialogue in ways that “make sense” in terms of what is said in response to what, as well as when various pearls of wisdom get dropped onto the conversational ping pong table.

For those of us with Executive Functioning challeges – not so much!

When our attention wanders, our brain’s do what all brains do with incomplete pictures: they fill in the holes with what they expect to find there, based on what’s in its “files” of past experience.

The human brain is nothing so much as a pattern recognition machine – a puzzle put-together champ of the highest order.

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The Link between Procrastination & Task Anxiety


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

Part 1 about Procrastination —
part of the Intentionality Series, supporting
Organization and Task Completion

The terror of tiered tasks

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

farm3.staticflickr.com

farm3.staticflickr.com

I’ve developed a new philosophy…
I only dread one day at a time.
~
Charlie Brown
(Charles Schulz
 

A tiered task is one where you need to “insert tab A into slot B”, but first you need to insert some other tab into some other slot — which you can’t do until you insert still another tab into still another slot.

That’s it! Most people with attentional challenges can stay tracked for about three “tiers” before they begin to hear the warning signals of impending Boggle and run screaming to avoid it!

I know I do.

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TaskMaster: Ordering Your Deck


Getting Things Done – 101 Part 3
Another article in the Taskmaster™ Series
© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

The last two of Ten Tips for Focus & Intentionality:
Prep-Time for Time Mapping

We LOVE Phillip Martin’s artword!

Lets begin by reviewing steps 1-8.

You need to have those firmly in mind to be able to go forward with what we’re going to do next.

1. House the Homeless
2. Name the Game
3. Mise en Plasse
4. Plant and Stake
5. Remember the Cookie
6. Stop and Drop (thanks Maria!)
7. Survey the terrain
8. Boundary the space hogs

If you’re not ready to ride after reading the following few memory joggers, go back to read (or reread) Parts 1 & 2 of the “Getting Things Done-101” section of the TaskMaster articles.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for links to the rest of the TaskMaster series – and don’t forget that inside-the-article links to concepts mentioned are dark grey, to lower their distraction potential.  They turn red on mouse-over; hovering for a moment before you click will pop up a bit more info for many of them.

This article will continue to help you put your “deck” together.

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Getting Things Done – 101


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

Ten Tips for Focus and Intentionality — Part 1

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another article in the TaskMaster™ Series

I finally had time to sit down and read a past issue of Maria Gracia’s excellent Get Organized Now newsletter.  This one had a great article entitled “Hopping and Dropping.”  (If you don’t already know Maria’s website, RUN to sign up – you’ll thank me for the tip many times.)  

Thanks Maria!  Your article reminded me to go look for a similar document on Organization and Task Completion, hiding out somewhere on my hard drive waiting for its turn in the blog spotlight in the TaskMaster™ series.

Getting things DONE

Those of us who are highly distractible (as well as those who are highly impulsive) generally run out of day l-o-n-g before we run out of To-Dos. We shake our heads sadly and ask ourselves,What did I DO all day? I’ve barely stopped working and I have nothing to show for it.”

Maria calls this “Hopping and Dropping — starting one task, hopping to another,” then dropping that task for something else, moving right along to whatever grabs your attention next — and repeating this process throughout the day.

This not only results in exhaustion, it’s lousy for getting much of anything DONE!

I call that exhaustion nonsense the [old] ADD/EFD Way!

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Juggling Invisible Balls



By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Part 2 of a 2-part article in a series of excerpts from my upcoming book,
TaskMaster™ – see article list below

Some Juggling is an INSIDE Job

 

Juggling invisible balls is my term for the conscious attempt to screen out persistent, irrelevant, or intrusive, off-task, background “noise.”

“Noise” refers to input from any modality (an area of information processing using our sensory apparatus);
“juggling” is a metaphor to help us understand the mechanism by which we handle life’s many demands.

In the previous TaskMaster Series article, Taking Your Functional Temperature, I introduced several analogies that help illuminate what’s going on “behind the scenes” to help explain WHY we struggle with focus — and WHY we struggle in ways that make it difficult-to-impossible to get things done.

If you haven’t read the previous article, I STRONGLY suggest you start there, or I doubt the content below will be as valuable to you as it could be.

In this second section, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the reasons why functioning can be so erratic.

As I said in the first part of this article, on an average day, you may well be able to handle a great many things that, on another day, you simply cannot.

  • It makes sense ONLY if you start becoming aware of – and counting – invisible balls, so that you can better predict your functioning level BEFORE you attempt to take on more than you can manage.
  • Part of the value of ADD Coaching is helping you develop the habit of taking your functional temperature to help you take on the type and number of tasks that will keep you stimulated but not overwhelmed.

You will find tasks easier to manage if you learn to think of your day as if, like Alice, you were faced with one long  juggling  performance for The Red Queen.

You may certainly plan what objects you TAKE to her palace, but you must determine the order of your performance in the moment, so that the objects don’t come crashing down around you to the tune of, “Off with your head!”

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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!

When the Game is Rigged


Reward and acknowledgment, part 3 


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

Don’t be STINGY!

Think back to my earlier reminder that, during the training phase, you make good with those cookie bribes frequently.

Remember that I said that you can reconsider what has to be done for what kind of reward once the training is complete?

Don’t forget as you reconsider, however,
that you are working with an inner KID.  

Most adults I know have lost touch with how much they loved cookies as a kid.

Oh, we remember that kids love cookies, all right, that’s not the problem.

  • In fact, most Moms resort to keeping the cookies in a place the kids can’t reach them.
  • They say they want to keep the kids from eating every single cookie in the jar.

In another unbelievable application of black and white thinking, “You may not eat all of the cookies” transforms into “You may not eat ANY of the cookies” before a three-year-old can figure out what happened.

Since Moms generally dislike interruptions when they are busy and most Mom’s are pretty busy most days, repeated requests for a cookie are quickly considered whining for a cookie. Most Moms don’t like to give in to whining.

The game is rigged!

What’s the poor kid supposed to do? You’re too busy to stop long enough to crack the cookie safe on request and in a minute never comes.

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Doling out the Cookies


Reward and acknowledgment, part 2

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Another in a series of articles from my
upcoming book, TaskMaster™
Virtue is not its own reward – Part I
LinkList to articles HERE & below

 

Before we leave the discussion about acknowledgment, lets talk about how it works.

An acknowledgment, properly executed, carries one message and one message only:  GOOD JOB!

Think about the way we talk to each other.  Think about the subtext of the messages we send when we praise.  Think about the words we use.

•  Not bad!
•  Decent!
•  Almost perfect!
•  Great!  Now try it again with your back straight.

Excuse me?  I don’t know about your inner three-year-old, but mine hears an underlying message that takes away as much as it gives.

What tries to pass for acknowledgment above leaves me with the not-so-subtle feeling that, no matter how hard I try or how much I do, I will never be “perfect enough.”

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Virtue is not its own reward


Beating Back Task Anxiety – part 1

By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
One of a series of articles from my
upcoming book, TaskMaster™

Reward and acknowledgment

The misunderstanding and misapplication of the reward phase of task management is the single biggest mistake I notice in the world.

Don’t undervalue this part. 

The seemingly silly concept coming up is the single most important distinction to which you will ever be exposed.  

It will sometimes be the only thing that will keep you on track as you work your way through the items on your plate – whether that means filling out the Challenges Inventory™, putting together your Boggle Space, or getting through the rest of this article!

We are ALL Peter Pan

Inside every one of our grown-up selves lives an I’ll never grow up three-year-old who wants a cookie.

Maybe we can convince that three-year-old to behave for a while without that cookie, but eventually even the most well-behaved three-year-old is going to stage an old fashioned temper tantrum because s/he is tired of working on behaving and wants a reward for all the work s/he has done already!

Our inner three-year olds are totally uninspired by concepts of goodness and virtue and rewards in the afterlife.  Our inner three-year olds are wiser than we know.  Nobody behaves for sake of good behavior itself.

Playing by the rules, waiting our turn, and being quiet so that the grown ups can talk about important things (when we would much rather be free to do whatever we wanted at the playground down the street) is hard work.  

And if you think you’re getting all that hard work for free, you’d just better think again, buster!!

Three-year-olds want regular, recurring, tangible rewards for their efforts!  If you want to continue to motivate your inner three-year-old so that s/he will work with you instead of slowing you down with chronic distractions, the most effective way is BRIBERY!

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Task Anxiety Awareness


Task Anxiety 101 – Part 1

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

Task Anxiety 101 - Part 1

Get out your notebook

Before I go into a bit of background explanation about task anxiety, I am about to ask you to make another list.

For those times when you attempt to complete something or in response to attempting to begin something, make a List of Ten activities you find yourself doing INSTEAD.  What is it that YOU do that leaves you chronically behind and befuddled.

As I asked in the first article in the TaskMaster Series:

What were some of the tactics you used to deal with your anxiety about not knowing how to tackle a particular task?
(Those supposed “procrastination” activities you took on instead of what you intended or needed to do)

I find it more useful, AND more accurate, to reframe those tasks as “avoidance” activities: avoiding task anxiety.

So now it’s time to get to work on changing a few things.

I’ll get you started by sharing my own list of activities I do when I “go unconscious” about my own task anxiety. To get the benefit of this section, you need to connect PERSONALLY – so take the time to write out your own List of Ten, so that you will be able to do the four exercises that follow.

I’ll bet you a year’s free coaching, if you don’t actually DO the exercises, there will be no new insights — and you will dismiss them as a huge waste of time and energy as you read about them.

(At the bottom of this article, I’ll give the skeptics among you a couple of credible scientists
to check out, with links to what they have to say about optimizing internal processing.)

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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