Friday, January 27, 2012

ADD = Success!

Great, inspiring article that turns a positive spin on the ADD.

Diving into the distraction

Cycle:  distraction leads to anxiety leads to depression (because you're not accomplishing anything) leads to negative self talk (you are so unoriginal) leads to more distraction (because you just want to get away from yourself) leads to more anxiety, etc., etc.

Sound familiar ADDers? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unclutter My Brain. Unclutter My Home.

The truth of the matter is I have ADD.  What that means is that I have too many things going at the same time, which causes my focus to become extremely divided.  For instance, I now have nine (NINE!) tabs open on Firefox.  Why?  Because I'm afraid I'll forget something important:  to follow a new blog, or read the advice on uncluttering, or researching domain names, or Facebook.  Yes, I'm afraid I'll forget Facebook.  Or maybe I'm too lazy to close the tab and log in each time I want to access it.

In my home, ADD means having too many projects going at the same time.  The result of that?  Hundreds of unfinished projects and items that are half put away.  Since I learned about having ADD a year ago, I now make a conscious effort to complete the task I am doing.  I will actually recite - sometimes out loud (hello, crazy person) - a mantra that goes something like this, "Put away the laundry.  Put away the laundry.  No, don't wrap birthday presents yet.  Put away the laundry."  Surprisingly it works.

The point of organizing my own stuff, my house, my brain (tangent alert: yesterday, I spent 1 1/2 hours at a coffee shop answering email, writing emails I had been needing to compose, and putting important dates on my desk and phone calendars!), is not only to lessen my own anxiety, but to set a good example for my kids through modeling.  I began the process of uncluttering the house last spring with designated hooks and baskets strategically located around the house for shoes and toys and balls and coats and backpacks.  Now, the kids come home from school and know to go to the mudroom and hang up their coats and backpacks without me fussing at them.  Success!

But now, I realize, I have to dig deeper than surface cleaning.  I have always known that my external clutter has been a messy manifestation of my internal muck.  My friend First Laura pointed me to two websites that discuss the psychology of clutter.  This particular website offers a book review of The Joy of Less, which frankly might scare you straight(ening).  I'm holding onto a ton of shit for silly reasons and it's keeping me stuck.  If I can purge my stuff, either by selling, donating or tossing in the trash can, these authors believe I might feel less distracted, and consequently, my kids might start letting go of all of the plastic crap littering their bedrooms. 

I'll get right on that after I check Facebook and open the mail.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dance With Your Distractions; Rock Your Message

I love this post from Sarah Wagner Yost. As someone with ADD up the whazoo, you won't be surprised that this was my path to her post:

1. Woke up, checked Facebook on my phone.
2. Saw a post from my friend, Lynn, about Crazy, Sexy, Life.
3. Noted to myself, "Hey, I love that Kris Carr, the Crazy, Sexy, Life woman.
4. Noted to myself, "I better read Crazy, Sexy, Cancer and get it back to Debby after two years of borrowing."
5. Kept Facebook and link to web page up on my phone for two hours.
6. Got kids ready and took one of them to school while husband took other.
7. Had a cup of coffee.
8. Went back to bed for an hour.
9. Showered and thought about a job interview I may or may not get.
10. Noticed tornado sirens going off outside.
11. Made some toast.
12. Lured dog into basement with said toast.
13. Checked my phone and yep, we are having tornado sirens.
14. Answered an email.
15. Listened to message from Dad.
16. Oh, yeah, that Facebook post.
17. Comment on friend's post about Carrie Brownstein.
18. Reblog the shiny, happy message.
19. Ta-da!
20. Ooh, shiny . . .

Dance With Your Distractions; Rock Your Message

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A little morning snark with your coffee

Just a little follow-up from the previous few posts about technology-addiction . . .
. . . I found this snark-filled year-old column from a favorite writer of mine, Meghan Daum, who writes for the L.A. Times.

The App To End All Apps

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parenting unplugged

Me at my college reunion  
Lately, I've been hyper-aware of how much time I spend on my phone.  Mostly this comes as a negative reaction to watching friends and strangers who are parents zone out of parent-kid time by checking email, texting, or updating Facebook statuses.  Now Pinterest has an app.  We are all in trouble!  My husband used to be one of those parents.  We both struggle with ADD - he was diagnosed ten years ago, I was went in for testing just last fall - so the urge to look at shiny objects is stronger than we'd like.  When he first got his iPhone, I recall watching him walk down a busy sidewalk downtown, head bent over his phone, never looking up.  It worried me.  He could walk into a fire hydrant.  The trolley could jump the curb and hit him without him even flinching.  Then something snapped for him and now as soon as he gets home from work, he plugs in the phone upstairs and joins the family in evening activities.  He made a conscious effort to be present and I really applauded him for that.  I have a harder time with willpower, with silence, with awkward situations where I have to wait, so I use my smartphone as a social crutch.  At my 20 year college reunion, one friend snapped a photo of me in a corner checking Facebook on my phone.  I was surrounded by people I hadn't seen in TWENTY YEARS, but there I was (and am for all posterity in that photo) surfing the web instead of interacting with live humans.   Since my husband has made the switch to ditch the phone at night, and during family moments, I am making an effort as well.  And this has made me aware of how much other parents rely on their phones.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to Google search the affects of cell phone use on parent-child relationships, thinking I'd find a cache of articles on distracted parents and an increase in children's accidents.  Something along the lines of "Mother, distracted by phone, fails to catch falling child" or "Father, engrossed in YouTube meme, allows clown to mug son."  But, oddly, I only found articles about choosing phones and phone plans for your children, or the effects of cell use by teenagers on parent-child relationships.  Maybe I've hit upon a new area of study or maybe cell phone companies - both manufacturers and phone plans - are influencing the media with ad money.  Call me cynical.  All I know is I see an alarming number of parents of small children, toddlers up through elementary age parents, scrolling around on their phones instead of interacting with their kids.  I've also seen teachers - yes, paid teachers! - on field trips, whip out their smart phones and get sucked into their virtual reality while the learning goes on (or doesn't) around them.  I'm not just pointing fingers.  Well, maybe I am just a smidge, but I've done it too.

While I'm not fond of resolutions and my new Zen guru, Leo Babauta, over at Zen Habits suggests we should live goal-free, I do have a goal to lose my smart phone crutch, to hang it up during the evenings just like my husband, and to definitely stay away from the screen before bed when it tends to suck away moments of sleep time.  All of this constant checking and liking and texting and sharing and emoticoning can be anxiety-producing.  Sharing and connecting are good things and I will hold onto my Facebook account, continue to check email, but I just will not be a junkie about it.

Photo, courtesy of David J. Owen Photography

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Have you noticed my badge?  Look over to the sidebar, to the right of where you are currently reading.  See it?  The cute one with the typewriter that says "Change Write Now."  This is a challenge I am participating in as a New Year's resolution-y experiment.  A grad school friend of mine - and young adult author extraordinaire, Corrine Jackson - set up this challenge with two friends, connecting women across the states who want to eat better, exercise more and generally live a healthier life.  Change Write Now operates on a point system, but not nearly as strict as Weight Watchers.  Plus there is room for flexibility.  I can do whatever exercise I please, so long as I do something for 20 minutes every day.  The key is checking in with my teammates daily for support and accountability.  So far, I've not done great with exercise and have indulged in sweets more than I should, but I am consuming vats of water like I have never done before.  64 ounces is the daily recommendation for adults.  I've nearly made it, topping out at 52 ounces.  This is oceans of water more than the splash before bedtime I used to drink.  Plus, it's cutting down my coffee intake.  I usually don't stick to routines (as the ADD adult is likely to do), especially ones that force me to change my sedentary lifestyle, but I made a binder with the rules and have been keeping track of my daily habits on a spreadsheet that Cory provided.

Check out the link.  Why not start something like this yourself with a group of friends?