12 Strategies for Designing Healthy Sleep Habits

Chronic sleep deprivation has devastating consequences in our lives. Here are just a few of the consequences of chronic lack of sleep:

  • Poor school and job performance
  • Difficulty taking information in and processing it accurately, listening or reading
  • Makes learning new tasks and concepts much harder
  • Greatly increased chance of making mistakes and even endangering lives for by driving while sleep deprived
  • Diminishes capacity to make decisions
  • Negative attitudes and pessimism
  • Impaired immune function
  • Weight gain and obesity
  • Increases: Continue reading

Top 3 Reasons Agile Self-Leadership beats Self-Control as a Peak Performance Strategy

If you are like most people today, daily living is full of unpredictable events requiring you to constantly rethink, replan, and reprioritize.

One of the most commonly recommended strategies for getting things done today is to cultivate more “self-control.” The idea is that if you had more self-control you could get more done — and operate at “peak performance” level more often — because after all “normal” successful people have a lot of self-control, right?    That’s the common working assumption in our culture.  Rarely do you hear anyone talking about self-leadership or leading yourself to get things done.

But when you really think about it…what is self-control? Every one has their own definition, and many usually say something like “we don’t really mean “control.”  Are we just too lazy to find a more accurate way to describe how we get ourselves to do things?  I propose that Agile Self-Leadership is a much more precise, meaningful and inspiring way to think about how we cultivate and optimize our own performance.

I love the way NYU Professor and author of the excellent book Ungifted: Intelligence RedefinedScott Barry Kaufman  defines self-control.

Continue reading

Asking for what you need without over-explaining.

How do you get people to understand ADHD and how it affects your needs?


I get asked this question a lot. Here’s a few ideas to help you agilize advocating for yourself in a gracious, undemanding, yet confident way.


After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 48, I went through a phase of trying to get people to understand what ADHD is and sharing with them how it explained so much of my whole life story. People’s responses ranged from

  • “ADHD isn’t real” to i-am-enough
  • “ADHD is just an excuse – it’s BS.” to 
  • “You don’t have ADHD.  How could you?  You’ve accomplished so much.” to
  •  “I could have told you that. My kid has it and I’ve always figured you might have it.” to 
  • “I have it too! No wonder we always got along so well” 

The reactions were quite mixed. But one thing became clear very quickly.  Continue reading

How to Cultivate the Potential Gifts and Strengths of Emotional Intensity, ADHD, Creative Intensity and other Traits of Neurodiversity

Emotional “intensity” is one of the biological traits that contribute significantly to  inner conflict, stress and misunderstandings in relationships between people with different personality and cognitive processing styles.

Intensity is also a significant predictor that an individual may be especially vulnerable to PSTD, anxiety, depression, addiction, chronic stress, chronic disorganization, chronic illness and feelings of overwhelm. 

In “Intensity of Emotion Tied to Perception and Thinking” by Daniel Goleman, Michigan State University psychologist Robert Emmons explains that

“emotionally intense people seek variety, novelty, complexity. They have more varied goals in life, know more people in more different situations, and because they are doing so many different things, feel more conflict in their lives.”

”These conflicts can be a source of stress for the emotionally intense, and may explain why they report getting more minor illnesses, like colds and flus, than do less emotional people,” said Dr. Emmons.

“The new data are showing that what are considered discrete psychological disorders may, in fact, be simply Continue reading

The Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The SMART Goal Setting acronym has been around a long time.  It states goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely or Timeline Driven.  The Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting is an updated way of setting goals that are designed to magnetize you into action.  No *forcing* yourself required.

Agile goals are especially useful when it comes to dealing with goals that involve changing old habits. Agile SMART goals work for everyone, but are especially well-suited to creative types, rebels, people who are addicted to insight, gifted people, ADHD and other neurodiverse characters. The Agile approach to goals is what I teach clients and coaching group participants.

Continue reading

Featured Articles


StartHereButtonMy Recommendations for where to start….

 

agile goals and SMART goals
 Agile Approach to S.M.A.R.T Goals

 

8 Habits of Personal AgilityThe 8 Habits of Personal Agility for Living in the Agile Zone of Optimal Functioning
8 Habits of Personal Agility  the Agile zone of optimal functioning

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5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit

 

 

Agile Self-LeadershipWhat is Agile Self Leadership?

 

agile goals and SMART goals      Where do I start?  12  Ways to Get Unstuck

agile-prioritizing-planning-doing

 

THEN browse this list of my personal favorites…


CREATIVE PERSONALITY TYPE, GIFTED, ADHD AND NEURODIVERSITY

AGILE LIFE DESIGN

AGILE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND RESILIENCE

AGILE HABITS

ON CLEARING CLUTTER

AGILE TIME MANAGEMENT

PRIORITIZING / AGILIZING / Getting Started

QUANTUM THINKING:  The Power of Small


OTHER TIME MANAGEMENT RELATED 

AGILE WORK, CAREER AND OFFICE DESIGN

AGILE MONEY AND FINANCIAL SYSTEMS DESIGN

AGILE INFORMATION, PROJECT AND PAPER MANAGEMENT

FILING & PAPER ORGANIZING STRATEGIES

MAIL

OTHER TOOLS

IDEAS & NOTES

AGILE LIVING

 

 

 

 

Handling Emotional Overwhelm – the AgiliZen Way – ADHD Support Talk Radio

I appeared on ADHD Support Talk Radio, discussing the agile way of dealing with and preventing emotional overwhelm.


Right Click to get FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD

LISTEN TO REPLAY  BELOW 

Handling Emotional Overwhelm the Agile way -ADHD Support - Ariane Benefit, Life Coach NJ, NYC Highlights

  • The role of emotions in cultivating performance and productivity
  • Cultivating emotional resilience and intelligence is a high impact productivity strategy for everyone and particularly for creatives, HSP (Highly Sensitive People), ADHD, Gifted Adults, and other neurodiverse individuals.
  • How your personal metaphors affect your emotional life and how you handle conflict.
  • Common metaphors that affect what you perceive is normal, acceptable, or disordered.
  • The car and plane metaphors for different personality and productivity styles. Continue reading

Resisting the War on Resistance. BOOK REVIEW of “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles”

I don’t usually write about what I disagree with, but I think it’s time for me to express my opposition to cultural metaphors and myths that feed the growing epidemic of stress, anxiety, powerlessness, and feelings of inadequacy that so many people are experiencing today.

war of-art-steven-pressfield

What better place to start resisting than with a best-selling book that has 309 5-star reviews and declares something as untrue as  “Resistance is Evil?” 

If resistance is characterized as evil…no wonder our culture destroys the confidence and self-respect of anyone who dares to be different, express dissenting ideas, or disagree with dominant values.  

Today, I’ve decided to resist openly and honestly. I’m not going to be “nice” or “quiet” just to not make waves.  Our cultural obsession with the idea that self-control and battling one’s inner resistance is the only way to “break through” procrastination or creative blocks must be challenged.   Continue reading

Agilizing Your Mind: Unlearning Clutter Producing Thinking Habits

UPDATE:  I’ve been blogging since 2005 and I’m in the process gradually reviewing and editing the content to decide what is worthy of staying and what has become clutter.

I found this article I wrote in 2007 and decided it was worth keeping.  It’s actually a great example of how mental agility works.

Getting unstuck and cultivating agile thinking habits was one of the most significant ingredients in healing my traumatic emotional attachment to things.

Becoming able to release things that were clutter up my home (and my heart) and has enabled me to function with greater ease than ever before in my life.

My things no longer have such intense power over my emotional state.  Although I will always have a certain amount of “strategic” clutter, inability to let go of things does not keep me from being able to use my home the way I want to.   I am willing to take care of the things I keep and I let them go easily when I no longer need them.

Resolving my PTSD related traumatized attachment to things and the chronic indecision I had about how to organize the things taking up space in my heart, mind, home and office spaces is among the most liberating and educational experiences I’ve ever had. My journey isn’t over, I’m still learning, but the progress is beyond what I ever dreamed was truly possible for myself.  And it feels much different than I thought it would. I never expected to give birth to AgiliZen in the process of healing my life and in helping over 1000 clients and program participants heal their relationship with things and resolve the inner conflicts that lead to chronic disorganization.

I hope you find my story inspirational in your journey to making peace with things.


 

Things I had to UnLearn so I could Let Go of My Clutter


by Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed. Agile Lifestyle Design Coach, ADHD Coach, Organizing Coach, Author Chronic Disorganization Specialist


Like many of you reading this, I have had a tendency to hold on to things long past their useful life as far back as I can remember.  Especially sentimental things, books, clothes, furniture, gadgets and paper.  Okay, pretty much everything.  When I was 30 years old, I still had most (95%) of the clothes I had ever owned and I had over 1000 books.  Out of an un-questioned need to document my life, I was accumulating photo albums and souvenirs at an alarming rate. I had outgrown all my storage and was using any available surfaces and spaces to hold it all. In my journey to let go of the massive clutter I’d collected I had to “unlearn” lots of habits and beliefs that caused me so much stress and anxiety.

Here are a few beliefs I had to unlearn [2102 Note:  I now call this “relinquishing or updating default settings] so that I could experience the freedom of living with less stuff – or better yet, just enough stuff to function with ease.


UNLEARNING my need to take responsibility for the ultimate fate of the things I own – as if they were people and had feelings.


 

This is what I now think of as the “earth mother” syndrome.  I couldn’t let go of things unless I knew they were going to good homes where someone really needed them. I couldn’t throw anything away that was still in usable condition. (Kind of like leftovers. I also used to not be able to throw away food unless it was already rotten.)  Once things were destroyed, it was a lot easier to put them in the trash. 

I even kept a lot of broken things thinking I would fix them someday.  I have to admit, I still have broken watches and necklaces in my jewelry box but I’m working on it. : )

I unlearned this belief to some extent by realizing that my approach was basically turning my home into a junkyard full of rotting stuff.

 

Why was I doing this to myself? That’s a whole other story I won’t get into here, but I will say that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) had much to do with it.

 

I started learning how to donate and began to give things way like a pro.  But there are things you can’t donate, so I had to make peace with the fact that sometimes I have to throw away things that still “work” simply because no one wants them and I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for the fate of all things. 

 

Things do not have feelings and ultimately, everything has to return to the dust it came from. It’s only a question of when. My updated belief?  Some things have to be sacrificed so that I can have a home I love being in. My well-being is, for the first time in my life, worth more to me than keeping stuff just so the STUFF could have a good life.  Seriously, I would never have said things were more valuable than a human life, but i was treating myself like they were. 

 


UNLEARNING my fear that if I got rid of things I would never be able to replace them.


This one was really hard to get over because some things truly can’t be replaced.  The solution for me was to question the fear itself.  I had to ask “So What?”

My time and energy can’t be replaced either!

 

So what if an item can’t be replaced?  Does that mean I won’t be able to go on living?  Will my life be irreversibly damaged?  I will have to get used to the fact that the item is no longer available. I have done it before. I will have to do it when I die. I will have to learn to fulfill the need for that item in some other way or just learn to live without it. It can be done.

 

It’s amazing how we as human beings can adapt to whatever life throws our way. I had to unlearn this self-limiting belief that because something can’t be replaced it’s importance is magnified. By practicing this thought process over and over, like an exercised muscle, I’ve gotten so much stronger. I still have thoughts like this from time to time, but now I can stop myself, course correct, and make better decisions. Some items I keep, but not if they are detracting from the quality of me life.

 


UNLEARNING my feeling that things I owned were a part of me and if I let them go I was letting go of all the hopes, dreams and feelings I had when I was still using those things. 


It may sound weird but I honestly felt that by letting go of a book I had read, I would also be letting go of the experience of reading the book and in some weird way, what I learned from the book would be gone too.  In effect, I’d be losing a part of my identity.

 

In my defense, I actually do have a tendency to forget the past.  My personality type is ENTP – creative, sentimental, interested in many things, spontaneous and future-oriented.  A personality type shared by many people who are disorganized and have a lot of clutter

 

I’m always thinking ahead, and tend to take a long time to recall trivial things like the names of movies I’ve seen and titles of books I’ve read.

 

Keeping things was my way of remembering what I’d done and staying connected to who I used to be.  I was an idealistic teenager of the 70’s who wanted to make the world a better place and didn’t want to become part of the bureaucratic machine. I swore I would never lose touch with that part of myself. I didn’t want to grow up to be just another cog in the wheel of the machine. 

 

What I finally realized was that this part of me was so strong I could never forget it. It IS me. I will always be me, stuff or no stuff. After letting go of so much of the stuff, I realized that I will always remember the truly important things that shaped me and make me who I am today. Whatever I do forget was probably not important anyway. 

 

The BIg AHA Paradox

 

Oddly enough, I came to realize that keeping too much stuff actually makes it harder to remember things.

 

How can you distill your experience when you are immersed in so much stuff that the important lessons can’t be noticed? 

 

Eventually, I adopted a kind of “So What?” attitude toward forgetting. We are designed to forget things for a reason.  Let’s face it, why do we have to remember every detail of our past?  Who really cares?  What’s really important to remember about the life you’ve lived anyway? 

 

Is it really important what the date of that trip to Disney World was?  Or is it more important to become the best person you can be and make a contribution to society and the world?   

 

Clarifying my values and looking at my things with a fresh perspective required a lot of “unlearning” my need to document every aspect of my life.  Not to say that I don’t still take photographs or acquire souvenirs when I travel, etc. But I do take far fewer photos, and sometimes my only souvenir of a trip is a postcard.  I no longer spend excessive time and energy creating a museum of my life.

 

Instead I use that time to learn, write, travel and help other people. I relax more and enjoy my vacations more instead of worrying about documenting them so much. If I can contribute more to the world by writing. Isn’t that a much more valuable legacy than a photo album or a collection of stuff? 

I hope you find inspiration in questioning your own attachment to things that clutter up your space and drain your time and energy.

Arianesignature

__________________________

© 2007-2009 Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed,  Agile Lifestyle Design Coach, ADHD Coach, Organic Learning and Performance Strategist offers hope to creative, gifted, neurodiverse people, people with ADHD and anyone whose quality of life is impaired by  chronic disorganization and time management challenges.  She guides people in clarifying priorities, prioritizing, making difficult decisions and learning the tools needed to heal and agilize their relationship with clutter, change habits, and regain self-confidence. She is the author of a best-selling home office organizing book “Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Office” on Amazon, and the popular organizing and decluttering blogNeat & Simple Living. She offers a free Agile Life Design toolkit at www.ArianeBenefit.com

 

Organize Your Time the AgiliZen Way: Agile Time Management Strategies – VIDEO

Welcome to life in perpetual beta. There’s almost no time to plan. Nothing seems to follow the plan even if you do have one. Conventional time management strategies are inadequate to the challenges of the digital age.

Agile Time Management Strategies ClassAgile Time Management™ offers a whole new organic approach to juggling the 8 Dances of Life™ that works for creatives, ADHD, gifted, neurodiverse and anyone who desires a simpler, more enjoyable and flexible way to organize their lives.


Session Description:  Organizing Your Time – The AgiliZen Way

Join me and discover:

  • The benefits of the Agile way of orchestrating the 8 Dances of Life™
  • Your time management style and how it affects the way you get things done
  • How to design Agile goals that inspire you
  • How to cultivate habits that reduce stress and overwhelm
  • Powerful Mantras to inspire putting Agile into Action
 

 This class is over.  Here’s a Video Clip from the class.

 

Agile Time Management by Ariane Benefit, Life Coach, ADHD Coach, Gifted Adults, Creative Personality

WHEN
Thursday, January 17, 2013

7:00 PM Eastern
4:00 PM Pacific

INCLUDES Downloadable MP3 and PDF of slides so if you can’t attend live you can still attend!

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED 

 

 Organize Your Time: Agile Time Management Strategies – Featured in the “Organize Your Life” Webinar Series

If getting organized is one of your new year’s intentions, join me and other experts  including Judith Kohlberg, Ramona Creel, Elizabeth Hagan, Allison Carter!

 Allison organizes this annual event to celebrate Get Organized month with a series of high quality learning experiences to help you focus, plan, and organize your time, space, and information. CEU credits are available for professional organizers.