Attentional struggles? Not ME!


WANNA BET?
Check out a few of the Symptoms of Attentional Struggles

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections from an article published June, 2011

NOT just for ADD

MANY people – not just those diagnosed with ADD/EFD (or anything else) – report challenges with procrastination, follow-through, time and transition management, recalling directions, names or what they said they would do, keeping the bills paid on time, beating back the clutter, keeping on top of the laundry or the filing or the mail — or effectively handling any number of pile-ups of house, garage and lawn chores.

More than a few struggle to have much of a life beyond the all-too-familiar “mess it up, clean it up” cycle — in any one of a host of arenas.

DID YOU KNOW that fluctuations in your ability to manage the Attending system are at the root of every single one of them?

Not necessarily diagnostic

If YOU have even more than a few of the characteristics listed in this article, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have diagnostic ADD – or any of the bona-fide Executive Functioning disorders.

It DOES indicate that you’re juggling more balls than you can manage at one time, and one or more of the The Dynamics of Attending is suffering for it.

Room at my Table

I’d like to invite the rest of you to allow yourselves to benefit from the coping techniques I developed for the ADD community over the past 25+ years.

Whichever camp you belong to, ADD/EFD, “Senior Moment” tripsters, or CrazyBusy, I’m fairly certain you will find that employing a few ADD Coaching techniques will help you become more intentional with your attending, life will become a whole lot easier to manage, and your friends and loved ones will be much happier with the way you relate to THEM.

Looking through The ADD Lens™

I have found the idea of looking at things through The ADD Lens™ extremely helpful. In other words, looking at your functioning challenges as if they were a result of Attention Deficit Disorder.

If Challenges like any of those below (or their kissing cousins) keep you from getting things done, pretend you do have ADD/EFD and start to utilize a few of the techniques that have been found to work with people who have been diagnosed with ADD:

See if looking at yourself through The ADD Lens™as if you had full-blown, diagnostic ADD/EFD – gives you a way to approach areas of prior difficulty in a way that you can handle them successfully.

In The Journey toward Optimal Functioning™, we must give ourselves permission to utilize any trick, tool or technique that will help us to achieve it.

Remember that you can always check out the sidebar
for a reminder of how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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From Impulsivity to Self-Control


Self-Control increases as the brain develops

(but science isn’t exactly sure HOW)

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

Self-control is a developmental process.

Self Control — none of us are born with it, and very few of us are able to banish acting on impulse completely. A percentage of us struggle to manage our faster-than-a-speeding-bullet emotional responses for our entire lives: those who retain high levels of what is termed impulsivity.

Not surprisingly, some of the most comprehensive understanding of impulsivity comes from the study of children and teens.

Laurence Steinberg of Temple University, the neuroscientist who led the team testifying during the Supreme Court case that abolished the death penalty for juveniles [Roper v. Simmons], is well known for his research that has illuminated some of the underlying causes of reckless behavior in teens and young adults.

He explains impulsivity as an imbalance in the development of two linked brain systems that he describes in the following manner:

  • the incentive processing system, regulating the anticipation and processing of rewards and punishments, as well as the emotional processing of society’s behavioral expectations, and
  • the cognitive control system, orchestrating logical reasoning and impulse regulation – two important skills that make up what is termed our Executive Functions, which depend on neurotypical development of the PreFrontal Cortex [PFC]

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Low-grade Impulsivity Ruins Lives Too


Identifying “Garden Variety” Impulsivity

The first step on the road to change

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

Garden-Variety Impulsives

Serious Impulse Control issues cannot be resolved by attempting to follow advice gleaned from a quick trip around the internet — or any Series of articles written to help you improve your level of self-control and accountability.

If you suspect that your problem with impulsivity is severe enough to need professional help beyond ADD Coaching, THAT is one impulse I encourage you to act on immediately!

But that is NOT what this article is designed to help you identify.

I want to encourage those of you whom I call the “garden-variety impulsives,” to stop comparing what you do to the far end of the impulsivity spectrum.

I’m hoping to be able to convince at least some of you to stop fooling yourselves into believing that you don’t really have a problem, as the joys of life that could be yours remain forever out of reach.

Because “low-grade impulsivity” is something that can be changed relatively easily in a “self-help” fashion or with some focused work with a private ADD Coach or in a Coaching Group.

Life looks up when you do the work.

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The Condo Concept of Time Management


A better way to structure
the TIME of your LIFE

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In the TaskMaster™ and Time Management Series

Lost in Time?

When we are driving around lost and our GPS seems to be stuck on, “RECALCULATING!” a map of the territory provides a quick hit of the structure we need to reorient, even if we’ve been driving in circles for some time.

Phillip Martin: artist/educator

Phillip Martin: artist/educator

We can still choose to take any of the roads on the map to get us where we are going from where we are NOW, but at least, with a map, we can tell the roads from the driveways!

Likewise, when life itself feels like it is spiraling out of control, nothing is more helpful than a quick glance at something with structure – like a TIME map.

Creating a TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your seemingly “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make up the tasks that, together, create each of the days of our lives.

It can be adapted to your very own personal style — even if you prefer spontaneity and variety. It even works for those of us who have less than complete control over our days, as well as for those of us who seem to have too much control and are overwhelmed deciding what to do when and what to do next.

A quick review

In an earlier article, Time Mapping Your Universe, I went into detail about how to set up a TimeMap (using my own, at the time, as an example of the concept). More importantly, in that earlier article I went into detail about the advantages of having and using a Time Map

WHY a Time Map?

  • Having a visible representation of how you believe the elements of your life would be best-scheduled reduces the number of decisions-in-the-moment.
  • That, in turn, increases cognitive bandwidth in the moment — so that you are able to actually accomplish something beyond planning, list-making and beating yourself up for getting off-task again.
  • In addition, it serves as a double-check to make sure that you aren’t saying yes to demands for your time and attention, when you really need to be saying NO or “Not right now.”
  • It also gives you somewhere to go to locate a quick answer for the inevitable question, “Well, when will you have time?”

In the absence of a schedule imposed by another (like work or school), it is waaaaay too easy to get caught in the flexibility trap.

© Phillip Martin, artist/educatorThe Flexibility Trap

Entrepreneurs and service-professionals in particular, frequently get caught in the flexibility trap, inadvertently flying stand-by in our own lives in service to our businesses and the needs of others.

Those of us with alphabet disorders are some of the worst offenders, since many of us struggle with time and transition management.  Before we realize what hit us, our lives are no longer OUR lives.

  • Just because a certain hour is not already taken by another client, or another client project, doesn’t mean it’s “free time” we can book on the fly any time someone wants to use our services (or needs a favor).  That’s a recipe for burnout!
  • A TimeMap is a reminder that certain hours are “booked solid” already – with other items that are necessary to keep YOUR life on track and worth living.
  • ESPECIALLY if you love what you do, you need to schedule non-work time or you’ll quickly notice that there isn’t any.  Even if your long hot soak or reading time can’t be accomplished without family interruptions, it’s still more “you” time than not.  MAP IT IN!
    (This is doubly important if you are a Mom or Dad who works his or her fingers to the bone inside the home rather than at a job at a different location.)

Creating a TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make up the tasks that, together, create each of the days of our lives.

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When your Sleep Clock is Broken


N-24 Awareness Day –

November 24

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

Because I was not able to make it home in time to make sure this article posted automatically before November 24, 2014, primarily due to the ramifications of my own sleep disorder, it didn’t (groan!)

No matter, really, because the information remains relevant, if not exactly “timely,” posting one day following the official N-24 Awareness Day.

ABOUT Chronorhythm Disorders

As I said in the 2013 article about N-24 Awareness Day, chronorhythm disorders – the various disorders of sleep timing – have long been the unloved step-child of sleep medicine.

ALL OVER THE WEB, and in the sleep disorder literature itself, you will read that “the most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.

That information is only partially correct.

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Breaking the back of Black and White Thinking


Three Tiny Things

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another of The Black & White topic articles from
The Challenges Inventory™ Series

click image for source article

In last week’s article [What GOOD is Black and White Thinking?], I introduced the idea of maintaining your own version of my Three Tiny Things Gratitude Journal™

The Three Tiny Things™ process encourages us to pare down the scope of what we explore when we look for things for which we can be grateful.

This concept focuses on a slightly different objective than other gratitude suggestions you may have heard: this idea is going to take on the task of breaking the back of black and white thinking (and lack of ACTIVATION).

As I implied in my introductory article, Black and White Thinking is probably the most insidious of the Nine Challenges identified by The Challenges Inventory™.

In Moving from Black or White to GREY I went on to say:

  • Until addressed and overcome, black and white thinking will chain one arm to that well referenced rock and the other to that proverbial hard place. At that point, every single one of life’s other Challenges will loom larger than they would ever be otherwise.
  • With every teeny-tiny step you take into the grey – away from the extremes of black and white – life gets better, and the next step becomes easier to take.

What I want – for me, for you, for EVERYONE – is to be willing to change the experience of life by transforming our black and white thinking – one small step for man, one giant leap for man-KIND!

Be sure to check out the sidebar for how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

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What GOOD is Black and White Thinking?


If Black & White Thinking Never Works
How come so many people DO it?

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

Image from Kozzi.com

I have received some version of one of the two questions above more than a few times recently.

Since I’m now guiding my writing by the number of blog comments or questions a topic generates, I’m thinking it’s time to turn my attention back to Black and White Thinking.

As I implied in my introductory article, Black and White Thinking is probably the most insidious of the Nine Challenges identified by The Challenges Inventory™.

In Moving from Black or White to GREY I went on to say, “It’s like a VIRUS: it infects, proliferates, and spreads to others.”

  • Until addressed and overcome, I asserted, black and white thinking will chain one arm to that well referenced rock and the other to that proverbial hard place. At that point, every single one of life’s other Challenges will loom larger than they would ever be otherwise.
  • With every teeny-tiny step you take into the grey – away from the extremes of black and white – life gets better, and the next step becomes easier to take.
  • By the end of the Black and White Thinking Series, what I want for you is to be in a place where you are ready to change your life by transforming your thinking – one small step for man, one giant leap for man-KIND!

Be sure to check out the sidebar for how links work on this site, they’re subtle ==>

But does it EVER work?

Black and white thinking? Sure, it works sometimes.  I’m sure you’ve heard about “the exception that proves the rule.” 

Here is the short version of my answer to the implied question of
WHEN it works:

Although there are better ways to get the job done, it can work for you when you are mired in a decision quandary and absolutely MUST move forward.

  • It reduces rumination as a result of “choice overload” in a manner that unlocks brain-freeze.
  • It lowers the expectation that you will be “perfectly satisfied” with whatever choice you make, ultimately leaving you happier than you might have been otherwise – either way.
  • Parenting small children aside, it usually works best when the individual making the choice decides to employ it – not as well when others force a black and white decision upon them. (Ask any parent about how well their teens react to either/or enforcements: they can sulk for days!)
  • It is helpful when making decisions during bona-fide crises situations, where choices are reduced dramatically to begin with (the reason that many of us can say that we are “good in a crisis”)

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Goals drive habit formation


What is it that you really want?
(What habits need to be in place to obtain it?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-5

This article walks you through the process of change with specific examples from my own life.  Yep, knowing what to do and DOING what you know are two completely different things!  I’m hoping reading about my own current process (and challenges) will better explain how you can work on your own. 

I believe you’ll find it worth the time it takes to read it — and if you can stay tracked well enough to click a few of the internal links and read those too (now or later), I believe you will be rewarded with a more than a few functional dividends.  Doing it in a vacuum is doing it the HARD way!

Good-bad_HabitsGood Habits are useful “in order to”-s

We don’t replace bad habits or set good habits in place for their own sake.  If we’re smart we work on habit management because good habits make it easier for us to take consistent action toward something important that is currently tough to actuate.

What is it you really want?  What’s the goal?
For me, that’s the ability to FOCUS intentionally. 

The biggest challenge for this ADD Poster Girl is distractibility. I juggle A LOT of what I callinvisible balls” – environmental stimulation that neurotypical brains filter out automatically.

Those of us with executive functioning disorders and dysregulations have impaired filters, so we expend unnecessary cognitive energy “juggling.”  That makes it harder to focus, prioritize and activate.

I’m big on what Andrea Kuszewski (self-described science nerd, Aspergers coach, and card-carrying member of Team-ADD) calls “attention allocation.” I call it Intentional Attending.

Neatness counts.  So does organization.

So habits that make those elements a no-brainer to keep in place are key — especially now, following almost three months with my dominant hand and forearm in a cast, when I wasn’t able to do even the simplest thing to clean up after myself.  I count on my systems to do what I do — and many of the systems I have come to count on suddenly disappeared when I was mugged and my hand was smashed.

So the woman who founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ is back in the trenches with those of you have never really taken the time to develop your systems optimally – so that you can FUNCTION optimally.

It won’t help any of us to deny our challenges — but it really won’t help to agonize over what’s making things more difficult.  We need to dedicate as many brain cells as possible to making things easier.

Reflect & Recognize, Strategize – and move ON!

It won’t be easy, and when you first start the systems development process it may seem unnecessarily complicated, but it’s essential.  And it will certainly make life easier going forward. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life spinning your wheels, do you? Follow along as I walk you through the process.

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Changing a habit to change your LIFE


Habit Formation Pragmatics
(Like, how LONG do we have to do something before it becomes a habit?)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-3

Out with the old, IN with the new . . .

ExerciseHabit

Source: smh.com.au

“Everybody knows” that, according to established learning theory, it takes approximately thirty days of daily practice for a new behavior to become a habit. Right?

WRONG!

Google will tell you that it takes somewhere between 21 and 28 days. Various blogs and websites will cite various numbers, somewhere between three weeks (21 days) and five weeks (35 days).

Did you know that, until 2009, there had been
no scientific evidence for anybody’s numbers.

The 21-day myth that reputedly started the process of conjecture is frequently blamed on a plastic surgeon, Dr Maxwell Maltz.

Maltz noted that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb.  He proposed that his 21-day observation indicated that people would probably take 21 days to adjust to most major life changes.

In 1960, Maltz published that observation, his conjecture, and his other thoughts on behavior change in the blockbuster hit Psycho-Cybernetics.

That particular book, selling over 30 Million copies, greatly influenced most of the motivational speakers in the “self-help” field. Well known authors and gurus like Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins (even Zig Ziglar) have frequently made reference to content from Psycho-Cybernetics.

The reality that Maltz actually reported that it takes “a minimum of about 21 days” got lost as more and more people repeated content from his book, whether they’d actually read the book themselves or not.

Before long the relative became repeated as an absolute:
“It takes 21 days to form a new habit.”

  • Enter the age of the Internet and the popularity of blogs and blogging, and repetition was substituted for research.
  • Codicils to the process of habit formation were tacked on, and the time-frame was lengthened by a week.
  • Evidence to the contrary was dismissed, usually by saying that if the individual didn’t repeat the exact same action for thirty days without exception, it wouldn’t work unless s/he started over again – that it had to be thirty days in a row.

I’ve been guilty of passing that myth along myself – usually adding that “it takes those of us with Alphabet Disorders longer to get those thirty days IN!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

~ Anatole France
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Only in 2009 did anybody publish the results of a STUDY of habit formation — reinstating its relativity and disclosing an average almost three times higher than what was commonly reported.

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Brain-based Habit Formation


Habits and the Dopamine Pleasure/Reward Cycle
(change your habits, change your LIFE)

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-2

The Power of HABIT

Charles Duhigg, in an award-winning book entitled The Power of Habit, published in 2012, reminds us that transforming a habit is rarely easy, quick, or simple — but it is POSSIBLE.

I’ll go him one further.

As long as you will follow a simple 4-step procedure as you set your habits in place according to what science has learned about how the brain works, it is PROBABLE!

Now that science understands more about how patterns and pattern-recognition impact the the human brain (a pattern-recognition “machine,” after all), it is possible for any one of us to transform our entire lives through the power of habit.

In other words, we now know why habits develop, how they change, and how to build and rebuild them to our exact specifications — and feel GREAT about doing it.

Yea verily – even those of us who are citizens of Alphabet City can take advantage of the power of habit to change our experience of living.

What’s Possible?

Click the book jacket above to read a brief excerpt on the NPR site that tells the story of an small-town army major, a self-described “hick from Georgia” who almost single-handedly stopped a pattern of escalating riots in an Iraqi village, simply by analyzing the patterns that produced “the riot habit” and making ONE fundamental tweak.

“Understanding habits is the most important thing I’ve learned in the army,” the major in the excerpt linked above discloses. “It’s changed everything about how I see the world.”

  • What might be possible in YOUR life if you understood what the major knows about the neurology and psychology of habits and the way patterns work within our lives, businesses, and social groups?
  • What if you understood how to apply what you’ve read here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com about the needs of neurodiversity to the neurotypical advice about motivation and habit formation — so that you could tweak the “standard” information that dominates the info-market to make it all work for YOU?

Take a moment to really think about THIS:

What might your life look like one short year from now if you actually applied what you learned here, step by step?

  • Would you be healthier?  Wealthier?  Happier with your marriage and family life?
  • Would you finally find the time to write that novel, or start that new business, or to take the necessary steps to move into that lakeside house you’ve always dreamed about?
  • What WOULD you do, tweaking the old expression slightly, if you understood how to set it up so that you could not fail?

That’s exactly what this Series is offering you — right here and at no charge what-so-ever until the time when it becomes available only in a paid format by eBook subscription.

For those of you who want to add velocity to your progress (or who need the structure of a little nudging along the way), I will soon be announcing a TeleClass that will expand on the principles offered for free, and serve as a MasterMind Group to keep you going — but I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here.

For right now, keep reading — and do the exercises that will be included as we move through the articles that explain the dynamics and outline the process.  Take advantage of this opportunity while its still free for the taking.

I’ll be working right along with you as I recover from the mugging incident last December, and redesign my own life.

So let’s get to work.  What’s going on in that brain of ours that keeps rotten habits in place, and how can we use that understanding to transform our lives?

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Habits, Decisions and Attention


Why Crazy/Busy People NEED Habits
. . . Making friends with setting them in place to serve you

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Time & Task Management Series:
Habits, Decisions & Attention-1

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Another adorable Phillip Martin graphic

Say hello to the HABIT habit!

It seems to me that every March tends to be “habits” month around the blog-o-sphere. Good habits, rotten habits, lapsed habits; developing new habits, tweaking old habits, breaking bad habits — I always seem to run into a bunch of “habit” posts every March.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s because there’s been just enough time since New Years for practically everyone to have fallen off the Resolutions Wagon — except, that is, for the few disciplined and rare individuals who made it a point to develop new HABITS as structures to support their new goals.

Or maybe its just me. In any case, let’s jump on the bandwagon and explore the topic for a bit – starting with taking a stab at defining the term.

HABITS are actions or behaviors performed regularly and automatically – usually on a pre-determined schedule – bypassing the necessity of much real-time decision-making agita (and without a great deal of activation energy required).

Once we have developed a habit, we “just do it” – primarily because we have done it repeatedly in the past, usually in response to some sort of prompt that triggers the behavior, setting us up for a life that runs about as smoothly as life ever runs.

So how come we resist developing them?

Let’s face it – doing something repeatedly (and regularly) eventually activates our “I don’t wanna’-s.”  We like to think we prefer to hang looser with life — even though we’re not crazy about reeling from the chaotic state that living structure-free usually creates.

  • Putting things off until they reach some sort of crises point isn’t really a great system for grown-ups.  But deciding when and how to work everything we need and want to do into our crazy/busy lives is tough — especially for those of us with activation or transition troubles.
  • Having to negotiate timing, self-to-self, is annoying, yet do-it-now is seldom convenient.
  • Until the habit is in place, we have to decide to “make” ourselves do things, day after day after . . . I’m really not in the mood right now day!

Then there’s the parent trap. Since many of what could be excellent habits NOW were foisted upon us as children, some of us have not treated those habits with the appreciation they deserve as a result.

  • Those of us who didn’t have the good sense to hang on to many of the habits our parents tried to instill in us have been making life harder than it needs to be.
  • Trust me – it took me YEARS to get over my “nobody tells me what to do now that I’m on my own” unconscious teenaged rebellion.  When I finally wised up, it took me a few years more to put those habits back in place.

False Economy

SOURCE: memegenerator.net

Let me clue you in on something I learned
the hard way:

The neurodiverse can’t afford
NOT to put habits in place.

  • There’s not enough time in anybody’s life to DECIDE about every little detail of life here on this strangely ordered planet the neurotypicals have set up where all of us are forced to live.
  • Especially not the way the ADD-brainstyle goes about deciding — agonizing for days as our brains search the known universe to make sure we consider every possible parameter of possibility first!!
  • If you’re a member of team ADD/EFD – or seem to get stuck (or simply worn down and worn out) by having to make too many decisions – it makes sense to try to expend as little effort as possible getting through your day by making a few choices “ONCE and for all” – which is where habits are golden.

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Moving from Black or White to GREY


Moving toward Balance:
How Much of a Challenge IS Getting to Grey?

unbalancedScales

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
One of The Black & White topic articles from
The Challenges Inventory™ Series

As I implied in my introductory article, Black and White Thinking is probably the most insidious of the Nine Challenges identified by The Challenges Inventory™.

It’s like a VIRUS: it infects, proliferates, and spreads to others.

  • Until addressed and overcome, black and white thinking will chain one arm to that well referenced rock and the other to that proverbial hard place. At that point, every single one of life’s other Challenges will loom larger than they would ever be otherwise.
  • The good news is that turn-around is not only possible, with some concentrated attention to what’s going on, turn-around is inevitable.
  • With every teeny-tiny step you take into the grey – away from the extremes of black and white – life gets better, and the next step becomes easier to take.

By the end of this segment in the Black and White Thinking Series, what I want for you is to be in a place where you are ready to take the first step toward CHANGING what’s going on now by transforming your thinking – one small step for man, one giant leap for man-KIND!

Since awareness is always the first step on the road to change, let’s take a closer look, considering what well might have been a huge contributor to the development of what’s going on now.

No One is Immune

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November 24 is N-24 Awareness Day



A SHOT at Fixing Broken Sleep Clocks

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

Nov24~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Too many people don’t care what happens

so long as it doesn’t happen to them.”
~ William Howard Taft

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Your chance to step up and make a difference

We have known for DECADES that as many as three quartersof those of us here in “Alphabet City ~ 75% ~ have chronic problems with sleep and sleep timing.

Many of us have trouble falling asleep almost every night — until and unless we are, literally, exhausted.

Some of us continue to have trouble letting go of the day even then.

Almost all of us, EVEN when we are well rested, struggle to come to alertness when we awaken, regardless of what time of day that might be — frequently for well over an hour or more after first opening our eyes.

Our eyes may be open, but our brains are still half-asleep
— almost every single “morning” of our lives —

Were you aware that, for longer than the Baby-Boomer generation has been ALIVE, there has been only asmall pocket of concerned individuals — dismissed as mavericks, complainers, enablers, alarmists, incalcitrant slug-a-beds, fringe-scientists — who have been interested enough in the quality of the LIVES of those who were so affected to lobby for efforts to understand why?

As I wrote in materials for the world’s first ADD-specific coach trainingback in 1994, almost 20 years ago now with numbers like 75%, if this were heart disease (or any other population), I’ll bet you that MOST of the scientific and medical community would have been ON it!

By supporting the recently formed non-profit, Circadian Sleep Disorders Network, together we can finally CHANGE that sad reality.

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The Impulsivity Rundown™


Widening the gap between Impulse and (re)Action

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © – all rights reserved)

Impulsiveby Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Garden-Variety Impulsivity

Let’s be really clear about the focus of The Impulsivity Rundown™.

While ADD is included among the list of diagnostic Impulse Control Disorders, we’re NOT going to focus on the more extreme end of runaway impulsivity.

Impulsivity that leads to the kind of serious harm where you are likely to spend some time in an Institution, or spend more than a few years on an analyst’s couch, or wind up on a first-name basis with every Police Precinct in your area, is beyond the scope of ADD Coaching or this Series — things like:

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TimeKiss™ – Tips for Time Mapping


KISS: Keep It as Simple as you sCAN

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another in the TaskMaster™ Series
TimeMapping Part 2

© Phillip Martin – artist/educator

Finding Your Way

As I said in Part I of this article — when we’re lost, if we’re smart, we check the map.  A road map provides the structure we need to reorient, even if we’ve been driving in circles for some time.

When life itself feels like it is spiraling out of control, nothing is more helpful than structure  – a MAP of the territory.

A TIME Map

In Part I of this article, I explained the basic principles of TimeMapping, and gave you an example of the TimeMap I’m using currently – Down & Dirty style, which is what I recommend for you.

Like any map you might pick up at your local gas station, one that shows the major roads but not every house on the block, a TimeMap is an overview — something you can SCAN quickly to get your bearings.

Your TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make it up.

It NEEDS to be adapted to your very own personal style —  and, designed appropriately, it even works for those of us who have less than complete control over our days.

Everything old is new again

TimeMapping is not a new technique, by the way. It was extremely popular with the Time Gurus in the ’80s.  With the increasing popularity of electronic devices, it fell into disfavor.

I think it’s past time to bring it back!  Never underestimate the power of paper.

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ABOUT Hyperactivity


Looking More Closely at Hyperactivity

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

Phillip Martin - artist/educator

Do you know hyper like I know hyper?
. . . Oh, oh, oh what a term!

Well, the DSM-5 has seen fit to ignore the likely consequences of keeping that darned “H” in the official name of that attentional disorder many of us would prefer to see named EFD (Executive Functioning Dysregulation), or returned to “ADD, with or without hyperactivity.”

Since, if history repeats itself, we might well be stuck with it for another 20 years before the next full revision of the DSM is published, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to explore some parameters of the meaning of the terms “hyperactive” and “hyperactivity.”

Again, if history repeats itself, we may need to explain them to the
non-expert doctors left to grapple with the diagnosis and care of most of us.

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This is your Brain on Sleep – Stages of Sleep


Cycling through the Sleep Stages
Part of the Sleep Series

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

“Sleep is not a luxury or an indulgence but a
fundamental biological need, enhancing 
creativity,
productivity, mood, and the ability to interact with others.”

~ Russell G. Foster, a leading expert on chronobiology

zzzzz_in bed_blue 298x232Gettin’ those Zzzz’s

Until the mid-twentieth century, most scientists believed that we were asleep for approximately a third of our lives — experienced, primarily, in a uniform block of time that was the opposite of wakefulness.

THAT was pretty much it.

Their assumption was that sleep was a homogeneous state.  It’s most salient feature was considered to be the fact that you were NOT AWAKE.  Duh.

The main side-effect of sleep deprivation, so it was believed at the time, was that you got sleepyOh my.

  • It was assumed that we needed some sort of down-time to recharge our batteries somehow.
  • There was so little curiosity about sleep, very few scientists felt that it was worthy of the time or money for research.

In the 1950s, the breaking news from one of the few sleep labs was that sleep actually consisted of two distinct states:

  1. Rapid eye movement sleep [REM], which distinguished dreaming sleep, according to what they knew at the time
  2. AND . . . the rest of it!
    (imaginatively referred to as “non-rapid eye movement sleep” [NREM])

You probably already know that REM sleep was so named because it was noticed that the eyes moved quickly back and forth under closed eyelids – rather like they might if the sleeper were speed-reading a teeny-tiny English-language book.

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TIME Mapping Your Universe


Structuring the Time of your Life Part 1

© by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In the TaskMaster™ and Time Management Series

Lost in Time?

Phillip Martin: artist/educator

Phillip Martin: artist/educator

When we’re lost, if we’re smart, we check the map.  A map of the territory provides the structure we need to reorient, even if we’ve been driving in circles for some time.

When life itself feels like it is spiraling out of control, nothing is more helpful than structure.

NO, not the hateful kind of structure imposed from the outside — an inside look at how you want to be spending your time that you can hold up as a shield against life’s slings and arrows: a TimeMap.

Creating a TimeMap provides an organizational structure for your “impossible to schedule” life — reserving slots for broad categories representing the various activities that make up the tasks that together create each of the days of our lives.

It can be adapted to your very own personal style — even if you prefer spontaneity and variety — and it even works for those of us who have less than complete control over our days.

Time Mapping

In Time Management from the Inside Out, author Julie Morgenstern explains the time mapping concept beautifully:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“The Time Map is simply a visual diagram of your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule

. . . as well as . . .

a powerful tool for helping you be proactive amid the swirl of demands that come your way.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Procrastination — Activation vs. Motivation


More than Motivation

© By Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T., MCC, SCAC
Foundational Concepts of the Intentionality Series

EncourageYOU HEARD IT HERE:  Glitches in the activation arena are more likely to be behind what is often mistakenly assumed to be “procrastination” in the EFD/ADD community than insufficient motivation.

As I said in Part I of this series of articles – ABOUT Activation – struggles with activation are a common occurrence in the ADD population.

Closely related, but not the same thing as,
under-arousal and motivation deficit, insufficient 
activation is frequently misidentified, mislabeled, and totally misunderstood.

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Non-Profit Supporting Fractured Sleep Clocks


Chronorhythm Sleep Disorders are SERIOUSLY understudied – overlooked
PLEASE help spread the word about CSDN — reblog, link, talk about it on chatlists ~ thanks!

Stepping into the Void:
The Circadian Sleep Disorders Network

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

Broken ClockBroken Sleep Clocks

As many as three quarters — 75% — of those of us here in “Alphabet City” have chronic problems with sleep and sleep timing.

Most of us have trouble falling asleep at night unless we are, literally, exhausted. For some of us, not even then. Almost all of us struggle to come to alertness when we awaken.

Are you aware that, until now, there has been
no concerted effort to understand WHY?

Chronorhythm disorders – the disorders of sleep timing – have long been the unloved step-child of sleep medicine.

A relatively new Non-Profit organization, the
Circadian Sleep Disorders Network
has been formed to change that sad reality.

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HIGH Interest Charges on Sleep Debt


You don’t wanna’ have to pay
the interest on Sleep Debt!

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

According to the authors of the website Talk About Sleep:

BigYawn“At least 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders each year, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

These disorders and the resulting sleep deprivation interfere with work, driving, and social activities.

They also account for an estimated $16 BILLION in medical costs each year, while the indirect costs due to lost productivity and other factors are probably much greater.”

They go on to say that “the most common sleep disorders include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy,” which is an indication of how LITTLE research has been done on chronorhythm disorders.

But you don’t have to have a diagnostic sleep disorder of any kind to experience the negative effects of sleep debt. In fact, most of us in industrialized society are chronically under-slept, which means that most of us have racked up sleep debt to a significant degree.

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Sleep Timing Disorders & More Laws of Photobiology


More Laws of Photobiology

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part III of a three-part article in the Sleep Series
Click HERE for Part II

pdclipart.orgLET’S REVIEW what we learned in Parts I and II:

• Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of our 24 hour world.

• In order for our sleep-wake timing to cooperate with our planet’s day/night cycle, our biological clock seems to need regular environmental time cues — like sunrise, sunset, and/or a stable sleep-wake routine.

• The successful shifting of “native” circadian rhythms to those that coordinate with earth’s 24 hour day is calledentrainment.”

• One of the most important reasons for regulating our sleep schedule is to stabilize the quality of LIGHT to which we are exposed.

• In order for work-arounds (and treatment protocols) for circadian/chronorhythm dysfunctions to be successful, it is helpful to understand and cooperate with what are sometimes referred to as the basic laws of photobiology.

Photobiology is the scientific study of the interactions of light (technically, non-ionizing radiation) and living organisms.” ~ Wikipedia

• Visible Light Regulates — The therapeutic effects of light depends upon the wavelength transmitted to the brain through the eye’s retina — visible light is the primary regulator of the human circadian response.

• Only light that is absorbed will have an effect — and it matters what kind of light is absorbed when.

Visible light is absorbed through through chromophores in the retina.

It “communicates” with the body through two primary pathways to the brain from the retina to the optic nerve: one that governs visual perception and response, and the other that governs “neuro-behavioral” responses, along with hormonal and circadian functions.

WE LEFT OFF WITH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

• Circadian entrainment is most sensitive to stimulation from light in the blue spectrum, but until 1998, Science had no idea how that happened.

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Sleep Timing Disorders and LIGHT


Obeying the Laws of Photobiology

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part II of a three-part article in the Sleep Series
Click HERE for Part I

Diagram illustrating the influence of dark-light rhythms on circadian rhythms and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The influence of dark-light rhythms on circadian cycles, and related physiology and behavior. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keep in mind:

Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of our 24 hour world.

In order for our sleep-wake timing to cooperate with our planet’s day/night cycle, our biological clock seems to need regular environmental time cues — like sunrise, sunset, and/or a stable sleep-wake routine.

The successful shifting of “native” circadian rhythms to those that coordinate with earth’s 24 hour day is calledentrainment.”

Although light is not the only factor acting on our circadian rhythms, many researchers consider it to be the strongest cue for entrainment. Its entrainment effectiveness, however, can be altered by a number of other factors.

  • Regular exercise, for example, when coupled with appropriately timed light exposure, results in a slightly stronger entrainment response.
  • Certain music and supplemental Melatonin (taken at the right time) have also demonstrated a positive effect on entrainment.
  • Stress, on the other hand, weakens the entrainment effect, as do some medications, nicotine, alcohol (or sudden withdrawal from either)

In the rest of this article, we’ll focus primarily on the mechanisms of light entrainment.

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Owls, Larks and Camels


“Early to bed, early to rise,
makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes”

~ Mazer Rackham (from Orson Scott Card‘s book “ Ender’s game“)

NiteOwlandMoonNormal cuts a Wide Swath

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

Normal Circadian Rhythms

Among people with healthy circadian clocks, there are “Larks” or “morning people” who prefer to sleep and wake early, and there are “Owls” who prefer to sleep and wake at late times.

But whether they are larks or owls, people with normal circadian systems:

  • can wake in time for what they need to do in the morning, and fall asleep at night in time to get enough sleep before having to get up.
  • can sleep and wake up at the same time every day, if they want to.
  • will, after starting a new routine that requires their getting up earlier than usual, start to fall asleep at night earlier within a few days.

For example, someone used to sleeping at 1 a.m. and waking up at 9 a.m. begins a new job on a Monday, and must get up at 6 a.m. to get ready for work.

By the following Friday, the person has begun to fall asleep at around 10 p.m., and can wake up at 6 a.m. feeling well-rested.

This adaptation to earlier sleep/wake times is known as ‘advancing the sleep phase.’ Healthy people can advance their sleep phase by about one hour each day.

24 hours a day isn’t “normal”

Researchers have placed volunteers in caves or special apartments for
several weeks without clocks or other time cues. Without time cues, the
volunteers tended to go to bed an hour later and to get up about an hour
later each day.

These experiments demonstrate that the “free-running” circadian rhythm in humans is [greater than the earth’s 24 hour cycle – anywhere from 24:15 to 25 or so a day].

To maintain a 24 hour day/night cycle, the biological clock needs regular environmental time cues, e.g. sunrise, sunset, and daily routine.

Time cues are what keep our body clocks aligned with the rest of the world.

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Sleep Basics affecting Sleep TIMING


Sleep is a many splendored thing

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part I of a three-part article in the Sleep Series

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

Courtesy of artist-educator Phillip Martin

For most of the history of mankind, human beings divided life itself into two parts  — awake and asleep.

Other than cultures who were into dream interpretation in a big way, most people didn’t think much about sleep beyond that idea.

Most of us still don’t think about it much, unless we are forced to do so because we are having trouble sleeping or trouble staying awake.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Until the widespread availability of the electric light bulb, only beginning to come to public awareness around the dawn of the 20th century, most humans set their sleep-wake schedules in reaction to the availability of light, truly believing that they had made a pragmatic decision.

Oh sure, way back in the day somebody had to stay awake to protect the sleeping tribe, and many warring tribes chose to attack under cover of darkness, but there wasn’t a whole lot that the others could DO once darkness descended.

So they went to bed.

If they thought about it at all, most people probably believed they fell asleep quickly because they were exhausted from the demands of life in the primarily agrarian lifestyle of most of the human race for centuries. Little did they suspect that the reason sleep came so easily was a factor of what we call “entrainment to the light/dark cycle,” aided by the structure of their regular schedules.

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Working with Impulsivity


Peeping at the gap between impulse & action

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of The Challenges Inventory™ Series

(from an upcoming book, The Impulsivity Rundown © – all rights reserved)

Peeps

The Marshmallow Study

No, he didn’t use Peeps, either like the ones in the photo above OR those in the Easter Basket that I couldn’t resist as I drafted this article, but the well-known longevity study of the relationship between self-control and life-success, initiated by Walter Mischel in the late 1960s, is often referred to asthe marshmallow experiment” or the marshmallow study.

Why? Because marshmallows were one of the treats that were used to test the ability of preschoolers to delay immediate gratification in anticipation of a greater reward.

Additional research with the original participants examined how well a preschool ability to delay gratification predicted the development of self-control over the life span.

It also examined how closely self-control related to successful outcomes in a variety of  the venues of life.

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Health, Success and Successful Sleeping


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

Like Driving on Empty

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC

liftarn_A_person_sleeping_90x90I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead . . .
That’s how I began Sleep and Cognition, the article before this one. I went on to say:

In my hurry-up-there’s-so-much-more-to-DO experience of living, almost everything auxiliary to my current attempt to focus frequently seems like a necessary but unwelcomed interuption to what I liked to think of as “life” — as annoying as ants at a picnic. 

But I know better now where SLEEP is concerned!

The graphic below, illustrating the effects of sleep deprevation,
takes a closer look at what I meant by that assertion.

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Sleep and Cognition


Learning, Attention
& Sleep Struggles

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, A.C.T, MCC, SCAC
From the Sleep Series

liftarn_A_person_sleeping_90x90I’ll Sleep when I’m Dead . . .

That’s how I used to think about sleeping when I was a young adult: a huge waste of time in my busy, interesting, already too little time to fit it all in LIFE.

To tell the truth, that’s how I sometimes still think about eating, bathing, going to the bathroom, in fact all of the “maintenance” activities of living.

In my hurry-up-there’s-so-much-more-to-DO experience of living, almost everything auxiliary to my current attempt to focus frequently seems like a necessary but unwelcomed interuption to what I liked to think of as “life” — as annoying as ants at a picnic.

But I know better now where SLEEP is concerned!

Sleep is a very ACTIVE state

While it seems logical to consider sleep some kind of “down time” recovery break — a time-out from our daily activities — research has shown that adequate, high-quality sleep is vital not only to optimize our daily functioning, but also to make sense of our daily activities.

Neural-housekeeping can’t be done until our brains slip into the sleep state.

  • That’s when memory consolidation takes place
  • That’s when our brains form the links to the information we need to be able to access on demand — to effectively carry out our waking tasks and determine appropriate emotional reactions to the events of our lives.

I like to think of it as the time when our brain’s sleep technicians repair shorts in our “wiring” so that we are ABLE to process effectively in our waking hours.

In an article from the National Science Foundation, neuroscientist Ken Paller says, “I think it’s fair to say that the person you are when you’re awake is partly a function of what your brain does when you’re asleep.”

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JetLagged for Life


Please – take time to read the comments.  We are NOT alone!

(c) Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part 1 of the  Sleep Struggles Series – all rights reserved

Living with Jet Lag

A first person account of an ADDer with an atypical
sleep disorder — me.

This Series is excerpted from a book I am writing about disordered sleep architecture.  The content in a chapter of the section on some of the lesser known sleep disorders was written from personal experience, hoping to “put a face” on chronorhythm disorders, – disorders of sleep timing.  

I hope that looking at life and living through the experience of a “coulda’ been a REAL contender” sufferer would describe things better than a list of symptoms and probable causes ever could. ~ mgh

As I explained in the introductory article to the sleep disorders content on ADDandSoMuchMore.com (ABOUT ADD & Sleep Struggles), 75% of us here in ADD/EFD-land have sleep struggles, if not diagnostic sleep disorders.

I am one of them.  Here’s why what I have to say on the topic might interest YOU.

I am also an ADD Coach and trainer, one of the life coaching field’s earliest pioneers, founder of the first coaching school with an ADD-specific training curriculum, and creator of many key terms and techniques used in the ADD Coaching field today.

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ABOUT Processing Speed


Measures that Don’t . . .

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part One of the Brain-Based Processing Series

How fast do YOU process?

Instructions per second [IPS] is a long-standing measure of a computer‘s processor speed – how many binary elements of information it can put through the input/output process each second.

IPS is no longer useful – at least it is no longer the most useful measure of computer “processing speed.”

WHY NOT?

Because computers (and the computer field) have reached the point of complexity where OPERATIONS per second have become the measurement that will “scratch the itch” of the goal of the measurement: allowing human beings to work faster because our computers “process faster.”

Computers that work more efficiently, requiring fewer individual “instructions” to accomplish an operation, “process faster” from the user’s perspective.

Computers that optimize the bootstrapping process efficiently can out-perform computers with faster IPS speed, hands down, to the delight of the computer chip manufacturing industry.

Will that work for US?

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