Where do I start? 12 Ways to Get Unstuck

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Where do I start? 12 Ways to Get Unstuck


agile decision making, how to get unstuck, decide where to startWhere do I start?

I get asked this question often, so I thought I’d share my response to an email I received.  Hope it helps you get unstuck and decide where to start agilizing, too.


READER QUESTION


 

Dear Ariane,

Reading your articles is like reading about myself, except that I work in a classroom instead of the corporate world, and I have been a single parent since my daughter was born 17 years ago. I’ve gone through all the same thoughts about being disorganized, have sought help in several ways, but I have yet to find anything that truly works with me.

I will hyperfocus on cleaning until it’s 3 in the morning, look and the clock and think “crap, I’m only going to get 3 hours of sleep.”

brain-too-many-tabsI will look at a mountain of mess on my kitchen table and think  “I only have 15 minutes, it’s pointless trying to clean this right now.”

I walk down the halls at work after the kids leave and most of the other teachers have left thinking “how do they get their grading done so fast?”

I know that I have a hard time finding motivation, getting started, and not being such a perfectionist. But I don’t know how to work with these and ask for help in ways that I’m wiling to tolerate. And my perfectionism makes me too embarrassed about the state of my house to ask for help in cleaning it.

I used to sit down with my daughter (also ADHD) and write a to-do list of chores, making each item as small as possible – mop kitchen, dirty dishes hunt, fold socks, etc. We would cut up the list and divide it (2 chores for me for every 1 for her), then we would race to see who could get the most done before the timer went off. It was super fun for both of us, and whoever won got a treat from the other person, a shoulder rub, toenails painted, a story, etc.

But now that my daughter’s time is filled with marching band and color guard and choir, we aren’t home together enough to play this game. When we are home, we’re too tired to do anything other than share a movie together.

I don’t know how to transition to make things work again.

I’m so overwhelmed that all I want to do are hide in a good book, or find someplace to escape to and play task avoidance, usually a walk or a visit to my sister’s house.

Where do I start?

D.


 

RESPONSEgetting unstuck strategies

How many of you reading this can relate? I sure can. I was inspired to write this article in response to D.’s challenges but have tried to address the bigger questions that challenge all of us – how to get unstuck and decide where to start agilizing the things that are bothering us.

NOTE:  From what D. wrote, I don’t have enough info to suggest specifically where to start (that would be like a doctor making a diagnosis and giving a prescription without doing an assessment first.) I can, however, offer some feedback, insights and questions for you to ask yourself, provide some general agilizing and decision making process tips and suggest some decision making strategies and options that might help in your situation. The ultimate decision is yours.


 

Hi D.,

First of all, I want to acknowledge you for all the difficult challenges and struggles you’ve faced  as a single mom raising a child while also working as a teacher.

GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT!

Whatever struggles you’ve had, clearly you also have a LOT to give yourself credit for. You have persevered and raised a healthy active daughter in spite of your personal challenges.  You must be doing a lot of things quite well enough!

2-relax-modelPay Yourself First. Take care of your needs and have fun regularly.

You not only DESERVE to read a book, relax, take a walk and visit your sister, you NEED to do those things on a regular basis. As you are going through a transition, you need even more relaxation and enjoyment, so go ahead and RESERVE the time to do the things you enjoy FIRST.

And please, don’t feel guilty about doing things you like doing.

You need to do things you enjoy doing every day (just like you need to eat every day) in order to replenish your energy to do the things you don’t enjoy as much.  If you do things you enjoy only when you feel overwhelmed, you are training your brain to think that the only way it can have fun is to make you feel overwhelmed and suffer first. That is NOT true!

So start training your brain to relax and trust that it will get to have fun. Teach your brain that it does not have to overwhelm you and shut down to get your attention  and get you to take time out for the relaxation and fun it needs.

Pay yourself first by making time for the things you enjoy, even if that means making time to read magazines, watch tv, or to just play with your cats.  I don’t mean you have to schedule that time, just make sure that you have reserved time in your day, every day, to take breaks and do whatever you feel like and enjoy doing.  : )

goals-expectations

I know it’s tempting to compare yourself to others, and perhaps they are doing something better or faster than you do.  But remember this — you have no way of knowing what the other person’s whole story is.  What they are doing faster, may not be as good.  Or they may not have the challenges you have, or perhaps there is something that is easy for you that is hard for them.  Whatever the whole story is, comparing yourself in your head and judging yourself harshly is not helpful to you or them.  What might be more helpful to you is to use your comparisons to build a relationship with the person you think is doing something well and / or to learn something that will actually help you improve your process.

For example, you could compliment the teacher who seems to have a great process for grading papers and you could ask them how they get their grading done so quickly.  Instead of try to stop comparing yourself to others, you can practice the valuable meta-cognitive skills of

1) becoming aware of your thinking processes

2) notice whether your thoughts are helping your situation and

3) redirecting yourself to using your thoughts in a different, more helpful way.

In this case, using comparisons to judge yourself can be transformed into harnessing  your ability to make comparisons and using it to learn something new and inspire yourself to review and agilize your own processes. Using your brain power to redirect your thoughts and start developing new meta-cognitive thinking habits is FAR more valuable and helpful than trying to get your brain to stop doing something.  The fact is your brain can’t just stop, it’s need something new to do instead. That’s why trying to stop doing things doesn’t work.

agile-prioritizing-planning-doingWhen you find yourself agonizing, switch to agilizing mode.

One option for starting the switch is to refocus your attention to your own process and ask yourself agilizing questions like:

  • How long does it actually taking me to grade each paper? How much time could I realistically save?
  • What are my steps?  How long does each step take?
  • What steps could be eliminated, streamlined or automated?
  • Where am I doing it? Is the location helping or making it take even longer?
  • What tools am I using?  Would a checklist help?
  • What time of day am I doing it?
  • Am I timing the task so that my cognitive functioning and energy levels are making it easier for me to get it done?
  • What slows me down when I’m doing this?
  • What could I do to anticipate and prevent interruptions or distractions? Or, should I allow myself to work in smaller chunks throughout the day (such as grading 5 papers at a time).
  • What assumptions am I making?
  • What small things could I change quickly to conduct experiments and see if they make my grading process more efficient?

listen-heart-2

Listen to Your Inner Wisdom – Resistance is Potentially Valuable FEEDBACK

My sense from what you wrote is that underlying your resistance to getting started may be some emotional conflict about your daughter growing up and not needing you as much any more.  Perhaps what you are really avoiding is facing the grief of not having as much time with her as you used to?  When life transitions happen, many of our habits need redesigning and that takes a little energy.

self-compassionBe compassionate with yourself.

So one place to start may be to acknowledge your grief, notice what’s changing and, instead of expecting yourself to do things alone that you used to do with your daughter, start noticing and dealing with your true feelings about not having your daughter around as much.

ask-yourselfChange Your Questions

Give yourself time to come with more helpful, agile questions to ask yourself that will facilitate you in making better decisions.  For example…

Instead of  “I only have 15 minutes, it’s pointless trying to clean this right now.”

The “agilizer’s” version of the question might be more like this:

“What small thing could I easily and quickly do in the 15 minutes I have and with the energy level I’m feeling right now?

Clarify 3-5 options for starting.

In my experience, it usually doesn’t matter where we start.  What matters is starting.  That said, if you aren’t getting any ideas for feasible starting places, a great place to start is to ask a different question.  When we get stuck, 80 – 90 % of the time, the questions you are asking or the statements you are making to yourself aren’t helping you generate ideas. Reframing the questions we ask ourselves helps us shift perspective so we can see new possibilities.

Innovator's hypothesis cheap-experiments-ideas

From the Book, The Innovator’s Hypothesis

Try on your options. Listen to and USE the feedback from yourself.

Since the MOST important thing is to get started, when I can’t quickly decide on a place to start, I sometimes start by writing down my options for starting. Once I have a few options, then just pick one randomly and “try it on.”  If I find I don’t like what I picked, I rule that out and move on to the next option.  I just keep trying on options till one works or till I realize I perhaps need to ask a different question so I can design a new option that I am ready to get started on.

still the mindExperiment with giving yourself permission to do nothing and just breathe DEEPLY.

Sometimes, I have trouble deciding where to start because I am thinking of too many options at once and they all seem equally urgent. This is usually a sign that what I really need is a break and to clear my mind.  I remind myself that it is impossible to do everything at once, so what I really need is to clear my mind and make room for what really needs doing to bubble up.  Most of the time once I relax, it becomes clearer what I really need.  I’ve observed myself do this so many times, I now find that one of my best productivity strategies for getting into action to is to R.E.L.A.X. first, clear my mind, give myself permission to be still, say no to everything, and wait for clear thinking to return.

2-relax-instructions

USE DECISION FILTERS to Rule out Options and Narrow the list of possibilities.

Sometimes I have trouble thinking of options for starting but usually I’m thinking of too many possibilities. More than 5 options is too overwhelming, less than 3 may be too “limiting” and get me stuck in a vicious cycle.

In that case, I ask the questions:

“What ARE my options for starting?

“How can I filter or narrow down my options to just 3 – 5?”

Decision filters are a super power tool for making better decisions on getting started.  Filters are criteria we use to rule out options.

For example, one of the filters I use is to take care of my primary emotional, physical, and mental needs first so that I can then make better decisions.  If I’m feeling overwhelmed, chances are high that I’ve been neglecting my needs.  So, if I haven’t had enough water, or rest, etc. I take time out to take care of myself before trying to make any other decisions.    Then I ask, filtering questions like:

  • How much time do I have?
  • What’s coming up in the next few hours or day or two?
  • What really needs doing today and what can wait?
  • Of those tasks that need doing today, which fit the time I have?

When I use this agile approach, I find that my inner wisdom kicks in and starts speaking to me. The key is to truly listen to yourself with the goal of leading and coaching yourself – not pushing yourself.

Lead Yourself

Listen to Understand and Lead Yourself, not to Control or Push Yourself.

If you aren’t in the habit of listening to your inner wisdom, you may have trouble distinguishing it from your inner critic.  If you are in the habit of trying to boss yourself around, telling yourself what to do, arguing with yourself, or comparing yourself to others and criticizing yourself, that is not listening.

If so, a better place to start may be to practice deeply listening to the part of that is procrastinating.  Listen to your inner resistance and use the feedback it’s giving you wisely.

For example, if your resistance is saying, “that will take too long”, or “I’m too tired”, or “what’s the point?”  or “I don’t want to do that without my daughter”

Listening to yourself means hearing the feedback objectively and validating it – even if you don’t like or approve of it.  Validation is like respect.

Validation means accepting your resistance for what it is – it’s real – whether you like it or not.  

listen-to-resistance-e-book 

Listening to resistance means you need to dialogue with yourself, hear your concerns, show some compassion for own feelings, and then try to address your concerns.  For example, if you are concerned it will take too long, ask yourself how you could modify what you are trying to do to take less time.  If tired, allow yourself to take a break till you feel less tired.  If your resistance doesn’t think it’s worth doing, ask why or ask yourself what would make it feel worth it.  Addressing the reasons why doing the thing doesn’t feel worth it right now is a highly valuable exercise because it not only addresses your concerns now, it trains your brain to trust you to listen to it and eventually the resistance goes away and stops coming back.

Listening to resistance enables you to learn, grow, and break free from the vicious cycle of struggling with yourself.  

Other filtering criteria for narrowing decision options include:

  • What feels easy to me?
  • What small thing is frustrating me right now that I could clear out of my way?

Sometimes the little frustrating or annoying things get my attention and motivate me into action more easily than something I “want” to do.

Cultivate Self-Confidence and self-Trust by Strengthen Your Inner Guidance System

The “best” place to start is ALWAYS relative to everything else going in your life at that moment.  Your inner wisdom is the part of you that is holistically processing all the physical sensations and emotions that your logical mind tends to ignore and when you have trouble making decisions, it usually means you need to pay attention to that you.  If you develop the habit of listening to all parts of yourself, and negotiating with yourself rather than pushing yourself, you will become better at assessing what is really needed, what your options are, and deciding what you are “ready” to start on.

So, let go of the ideal of finding the “best” place to start, and focus on listening to your inner guidance system to help you decide on a realistic and feasible place to start. Keep proposing options to yourself until you get a “hell yes, I can do that” feeling.

Looking for a “best” starting point is a cognitive thinking habit that feeds indecision and procrastination, not productivity.

questions change what you are looking for

Change what you are looking for, and you will change your life.

Instead of looking for the best answers, look for more helpful questions. Answers constantly change. What worked in yesterday’s situation may not work today. Helpful questions are the ones that turn your attention from agonizing or complaining to agilizing and creative problem-solving .  Helpful questions are those that inspire answers that might work for the situation you are in NOW.

quote-an-approximate-answer-to-the-right-question-is-worth-a-great-deal-more-than-a-precise-answer-to-the-john-tukey-274189Try changing your question from “where is the best place to start?” to agilizing questions like

  • What are my options for starting?
  • What would naturally motivate me right now to make a decision and start?
  • How could I make this task super small?
  • How could I take some of the pressure of and just do it because it needs doing?

Convert “I don’t have enough time to finish.”  into “What can I reasonably do to make a little progress with the time I do have?”

What if I just do what I can do in 15 minutes instead of feeling like it ALL has to get done in 15 minutes?

For example, in my garden if I only have 5 minutes…I can make it seem like I did more work than I did by pull as many of the biggest weeds as I can in 5 minutes instead of just doing one small area for 5 minutes.

I scan the whole garden to pick the BIGGEST weeds to pull and thus get the most impact for my 5 minutes of labor. Instead of having it end up looking I started and didn’t finish, the overall impact is that there are a lot less weeds and I feel like I really accomplished something.

inner conflict - cognitive dissonanceLearn from Yourself

In closing, I suggest learning from your own successes to develop your own strategies. Take time daily to reflect on what you DID accomplish and notice  all the things you normally don’t pay attention to, like what you did NOT have trouble getting started on. How does that work?

What do the things you DO get started on easily have in common? My guess is you don’t have to pressure yourself to do them. What can you learn from your successes that you could try to apply to this situation?

Clearly I can’t address your situation fully in one article, but I hope this discussion helps you find your own way to get started : )


Significantly updated March 2015. Originally published in August 2011

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

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

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

 

5 Steps to Cultivating the Power of Habit with Agile Thinking Habits

 

Cultivating the power of habit is the ultimate productivity tool.  Learning how to shape your habits is like learning how to fly a plane — once you know how, you can go just about anywhere you want to go — much faster.   But first, you’ve got to learn how to fly the plane.

The thing about habits is they have different characteristics and ingredients.
 How you cultivate them requires understanding the features of the habit and using strategies and tools appropriate to that habit.  For example, habits range from simple to extremely complex. Some are easier to change than others.

Some habits are composed of many smaller habits and so can’t be changed all at once. Some were learned on purpose, most are learned by accident, without you even being aware you are learning them. Most habits can’t be learned on a time schedule. In fact, putting time pressure on yourself to learn them actually makes them harder to learn.  That old adage that it takes 21 days to establish a habit is actually a myth. Continue reading

Chronic Procrastination and Resistance: How we Learn to Procrastinate.

 How do we learn to procrastinate?

We are waging a cultural war against procrastination and inner resistance as if they were evil itself. I believe it is time to STOP the War and START negotiating a peace treaty with yourself.  Persistent patterns of procrastination are the outer manifestations or signposts of inner conflict and resistance.  

Procrastination is the result you get when one part of you is trying to get the rest of you to do something using tactics like: ordering, coercing, pressuring, tricking, or even bullying yourself to do it.

Resistance can only exist when there is some kind of pushing, pressure, or force trying to get you to do something you don’t want to do, or aren’t ready or willing to do at this time for some reason.    Continue reading

Intensity – What makes intensely creative, emotional and gifted adults like Steve Jobs prone to troubling relationship issues?

I was truly dismayed to see someone as influential and talented as Steven Johnson, author of the brilliant book  Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation say this about Steve Jobs:

“But for all his obnoxiousness with his colleagues…, Jobs had a rich collaborative streak as well. He was enough of an egomaniac to think of himself as another John Lennon, but he was always looking for McCartneys to go along for the ride with him.”

SOURCE: http://www.stevenberlinjohnson.com/2011/10/thoughts-on-steve-jobs-the-book.html

To me, this is an example of the kind of socially accepted intolerance, bias, and disparaging name-calling that creative, emotionally intense and gifted adults (and children) frequently experience their entire lives. Even though Mr. Johnson is intending to show the “other” side of Steve Jobs complex personality, it doesn’t excuse his perpetuating the portrayal of Steve as an “obnoxious egomaniac.”   Those are some powerfully degrading and hurtful words for such a respected author to be using as though they were mere objective facts and not defamatory or derogatory character slurs. Continue reading

The Truth about Chronic Disorganization: What Causes It and How to Heal the Trauma of Lifelong Overwhelm and Frustration

Although I prefer the term “Lifelong Disorganization“, the established industry terms are “chronic disorganization” and “challenging disorganization” this is not intended to imply a medical condition, nor an “incurable” condition.

The intention of the terms are to distinguish an “ongoing pattern of disorganization” from the “short term situational disorganization” and clutter that is the normal result of grief, illness, having children, and other life events, transitions, and changes. That said, it is quite common for what started as “stituational disorganization” to evolve into “chronic” or “challenging disorganization.”

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What is Situationally Disorganized?

When life throws you a curveball, most of us tend to accumulate clutter and become rather disorganized for a while. It’s happens to everyone. We become ill, a family member becomes ill, we are assigned a project at work that requires a lot of travel, or has a ridiculous deadline. Our lives change. We move, get married, have kids, or start a new job. During times of transition, a certain amount of chaos, clutter and disorganization is natural. This is what we call “Situationally Disorganized”: Disorganization that is a normal side effect of a life situation.

What makes “Chronic Disorganization” different?

Continue reading

Who are Agilizers? We are Creatives. Thinkers. Change Agents. Challengers. Outliers. Different. Neurodiverse.

Since discovering my tribe of outliers, agilizers, and creative neurodiverse thinkers, I will never see myself the same way again. I’m more at peace today than I even knew was possible. The power of understanding that you are not defective, and you are not alone – that there is a group of people where everything you think is freaky about yourself is actually NORMAL can’t really be described in words.

We are outliers.  Outliers are people who fall outside the normal ranges of the bell curve. 

We are uncommon. We think differently from the average person. We are neurodiverse – our brains and nervous systems are wired differently from the average or neurotypical brain.

This does not mean we are disordered – it’s more like Continue reading