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Three Steps to Getting Organized (the fun way!) - 065

organization podcast Nov 07, 2019

Hey ADDers! So glad you could join me for today’s episode about getting organized – the fun way. If you’re like other adults with ADHD and under-developed executive function life skills, you may be thinking, “no way can getting organized be fun!” And then there’s the maintenance after you get organized, so you can stay that way. It’s the #1 issue that many of you voted on in my Facebook group, and said you dread, procrastinate on and hate to do. I get it.

I made sure to include fun in this episode because I learned long ago that I needed to create games out of pretty much everything I do so that it’s fun and I look forward to it. Whether it’s: beat the clock or making a movie out of a project or taking on the role of someone who does a task really well or dressing up in something fun… I think of ways to make it fun for myself so there’s no procrastination or resistance. I’d love for you to feel the same way about getting yourselves organized – the fun way.

In this episode Dr B talks about:

  • Pausing for the fun of it in all you do; the skill that keeps giving
  • Letting go of shame or guilt and returning to sender
  • Fun strategies for getting organized, inside and outside your mind
  • The Importance Of Celebrating Your WINS
  • 3 Steps You Can Take to Start Getting Organized - The Fun Way!:  Free 1-Hour Live Webinar this Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 5 pm Pacific time.  Event is over.

Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and newfound freedom in your life!

My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses.  And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.


Full Episode Transcript Today is Episode 65 with Dr B

Hey ADDers! So glad you could join me for today’s episode about getting organized – the fun way. If you’re like other adults with ADHD and under-developed executive function life skills, you may be thinking, “no way can getting organized be fun!” And then there’s the maintenance after you get organized, so you can stay that way. It’s the #1 issue that many of you voted on in my Facebook group, and said you dread, procrastinate on and hate to do. I get it.

I made sure to include fun in this episode because I learned long ago that I needed to create games out of pretty much everything I do so that it’s fun and I look forward to it. Whether it’s: beat the clock or making a movie out of a project or taking on the role of someone who does a task really well or dressing up in something fun… I think of ways to make it fun for myself so there’s no procrastination or resistance. I’d love for you to feel the same way about getting yourselves organized – the fun way.

Have you ever thought – “What’s so great about being organized and staying that way?” I have and for me, it’s that I can find anything I need whenever I need it and don’t have to go on a hunt. I really dislike the hunt. I trust you can relate to the hunt. Everything in my space has a home and goes back home every night before I go to sleep. I call that game “curfew.” I had a curfew as a teenager and I figured my stuff could have a curfew too. I also enjoy the aesthetics of being organized – what my spice cabinet looks like is visually pleasing to me and organized in a way that I can see everything without needing to move things around.

I’m curious… What keeps getting organized from being fun for you? From what I’ve seen over the years, it could be the feeling of misery. Seriously. The dictionary defines “misery” as a serious lack of contentment or happiness. That something is causing extreme suffering or unhappiness. I read a powerful little book years ago called, “Addicted to Misery” by Robert Becker. He gets straight to the point that those of us who have lived with extreme unhappiness for so long are used to it, and fear letting it go, to replace it with something entirely new: happiness. As it relates to today’s episode, happiness while you’re getting organized and happiness while you’re maintaining your organized ways. Stay with me on this.

Whether the source of your underlying misery or unhappiness is due to symptoms of ADHD, under-developed executive function skills, depression, anxiety, trauma or various addictions (such as sugar, social media, shopping, sex, food, relationships and more), these can all serve to fuel your unhappiness.

Going deeper, being addicted to misery is familiar. It’s safe and comfortable even though it can be horribly painful or embarrassing at times. You may actually find yourself bringing misery into your life because you need that familiar feeling of unhappiness. An example of being addicted to misery could be living in a space of clutter and disarray. You know you hate it, you swear that you are going to clean up your space and get it organized, and then maintain it every day, yet it keeps returning to the same cluttered space that you hate.

Imagine for a moment what you might feel like if you were able to maintain your organized space, and clutter was no longer an issue in your life. So many of us long for that to happen, and yet it’s a way of living that’s foreign to us. We’ve grown up with shame about ourselves and how we live our lives and this is the proof of our shameful reality. This is our misery and it lives on day after day. What would you do with your freed up time, thoughts and feelings if you weren’t constantly thinking about how bad your disorganization is or how inadequate you feel when you can’t seem to maintain organization for even a few days? What’s wrong with you – you might ask?

Nothing is wrong with YOU!! What’s wrong is that getting organized and staying that way probably isn’t fun and isn’t your automatic way of living. Remember, we are feeling-driven people and we need to feel excited or positively stimulated about doing things for them to happen. Do you feel that way about getting organized?

In the 1970s I studied hypnosis and the theory of the mind. We were taught that about 10% of our mind’s capacity is conscious – meaning only 10% is actively engaged in thinking, logic, reasoning and will power. This is the part of your mind that you’ve been using to learn how to get organized and stay that way. 10% - that’s not much at all. The other 90% is actively engaged in identifying, associating and reacting to what’s already stored in your subconscious mind. That’s a lot of mind capacity that could be working against you, depending on what’s been stored in your subconscious mind. Have you ever wondered why you get triggered so easily by things in the present time, like getting organized, when they don’t seem like they’re a big deal? It’s because the events of today are getting amped up by the meaning you gave those events in the past and it’s the meaning that’s raising the level of intensity or resistance you’re experiencing.

Remember…you are the meaning maker of your life. You spin the stories, meanings, reasons, justifications and logic that drive your life on autopilot. And updating what’s stored in your autopilot mind space can make all the difference in the quality of your life and your ability to get things done – such as getting organized.

What does it take to cut ties with misery and embrace a life of being happier and organized, inside and out? The short answer is cultivating a healthier relationship with yourself than you probably currently have. The definition of codependency that I learned years ago was – “An absence of a healthy relationship with self.” This means that we all need to learn what makes US happier and what our unique needs are; not just knowing that about others and meeting their needs and ignoring our own. That is definitely a path to misery.

No matter what the organizational expectations are of your adult life, it’s up to you to shift the meanings you’ve given things so that the autopilot part of your mind supports you rather than resists your efforts. I’ll be talking about this in more detail and giving you steps to take further on in this episode.

One more thing I want to cover before we shift gears here is that organizing takes place “outside your head – not inside.” You need to see what you are organizing; make it tangible and real so you can work with it, move it around, adjust it and finalize it’s flow. You can’t see your thoughts inside your head and get them organized; you need to see them or hear them outside of your mind so you can work with them. In other words, you need to free up your mind space so you have room to process and organize information as well as make a plan to organize things in your outer world. Stay with me for more on this, and steps to take further on in this episode.

Today’s episode is about recovering from the pain, needless suffering and misunderstandings of what it takes to get organized and stay that way – both inside your mind and outside in your environments and 3 specific steps you can take to get started now. You can do this!

And even though I am talking about “doing” something rather than just “being” – remember that you are NOT what you do or don’t do; that you are more than that. You are not the story you make up about yourself. YOU are NOT defective or less than as a person – as a human being because of being organized or disorganized. Remind yourself that your mind just works differently (not better or worse) and that the difference is actually pretty cool once you have a different perspective and the tools you need for your own success – the fun way!

AND – Knowing is only the first step; the next step is taking action on what you know to start getting new results, better results, and fine tune your process as you go along. It is a process, so please don’t let yourself off the hook here with taking action once, not getting the results you hoped for, and stopping there. Seriously!! Did you learn to speak fluently or dress yourself nicely with just one attempt? I know I didn’t, so keep going!! You’re “learning” to do things, which take practice; not just standing up and doing them, like you’ve known how all your life.

It’s almost time for stories and steps - but first, let’s celebrate a few WINS. Perhaps you’ve started an exercise routine; awesome! Or maybe you’ve decided to accept yourself just as you are and then decide IF you want to improve on anything you do; fantastic! Or maybe you made a decision to work on organizing your thoughts; awesome. Celebrating a WIN today, even if it’s been a really tough day, let’s you acknowledge that at least something is good about today and that’s important, even in the worst of times. You are a precious child of the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value by what you do; you were born with it. You’re value comes from “who” you are; not what you do. Got it? I hope so because you’re going to keep hearing me say it, because it’s so important to your self-esteem and quality of life.

Let’s transition now to cutting ties with misery, and taking 3 fun steps to start getting organized; with relevant stories, and a favorite quote of mine.

How much time do we have? Not much. So let’s get to it.

Today’s 3 fun steps are:

1. Pausing for the fun of it in all you do; the skill that keeps giving

2. Letting go of shame or guilt and returning to sender

3. Fun strategies for getting organized (seeing organization o/s your mind)

Now back to being an adult with ADHD in today’s world.

I’m going to share three fun stories with you today as well as talk about your responsibility in this (that’s right - response-ability or your ability to respond) – in this case to create the fun for yourself. I hope at least one of these stories will resonate with you and be of benefit.

Shifting gears to our first story: Pausing for the fun of it in all you do - the skill that keeps giving.

· Rushing is the enemy of productive action. I’ve shared this tip recently with my community in a deeper way, and it always hits home.

· Sally was typical of so many adults with ADHD or under-developed executive function skills. She worked long hours in a fast-paced company, had a challenging commute and was exhausted when she got home every night.

· She didn’t want to think about anything except just collapsing on the couch and catching her breath.

· Who cares where she her keys or phone went as she threw them somewhere as she walked in the door. They’re somewhere in her apartment; that’s all she knew and she would find them the next time she needed them – just not right now.

· Sally grabbed her mail, if the thought crossed her mind as she made her way to her upstairs apartment, and she typically threw the mail just like she threw her keys and phone and whatever else when she came in the door. She was exhausted and just didn’t want to think about anything.

· She was becoming a bit of a recluse and didn’t even want to talk to her friends when they would call her in the evening. It felt like an imposition on her time and energy and either she wouldn’t answer or would just be brief and get off the phone quickly. Not a great way to sustain friendships.

· Sally just wasn’t happy with her life; both in and out of work. In fact, she really wished she could look for something else that was closer to home and less fast-paced, but where was she going to get the time or energy to do that? Instead, she just accepted what she believed was her fate and lived her unhappy life day by day.

Background facts:

· Impulsivity has no pause; it’s just reactive to what is happening in the moment or what you feel like doing or not doing

· When you’re exhausted you don’t have the mental or emotional capacity to make good choices.

· Having more fully developed skills of planning or even prioritizing would help Sally to conserve more of her energy for her personal life and not give it all away on the job. I would even allow her to carve out some sacred time to look for a position closer to home and more suited to her needs.

· Pausing seems counter-intuitive when there’s so much to be done that you feel that you just have to keep moving; there’s no time to waste

· When someone asks you a question and wants an answer right away and your mind just shuts down in those moments, the pause is a life- saver. Some of us don’t do well with “demand language” even if it’s expressed kindly. We need a little time to think about our answer before we give it, and the pause gives us that time we need.

If you relate to Sally’s story, your action steps are:

· Focus – on pausing for a moment when you walk in the door and think about where your keys, phone, mail and other personal things need to go for you to easier find them later (instead of just mindlessly tossing them as you walk through the doorway).

· Follow Through – on creating a fun little remind note or basket or table or whatever appeals to you that is right at the doorway when you walk in so you can just put your keys, phone, mail and personal stuff right there every time. Nothing else goes there except these things that come home from work with you every day. And instead of bringing all the mail in, perhaps set up a recycling bag outside your space and sort the junk mail there before entering the house; much easier to only bring in what you will need – not the junk stuff.

· Self-Management – resist the impulsive and emotional urges to just throw your things even though the basket or table is right there. That’s your autopilot mind taking over. Take a second to ask yourself – if not now, when? The mental pause will often give you the space you need to do it right then and there, and if not, you’ve at least put a place marker in your head space to make time for it later. Now follow through and set an alarm reminder for yourself, rather than feeling that you’ll remember.

Transitioning to our second story: Letting go of shame or guilt and returning to sender

· Shame is about you; the person who is defective. Guilt is about your behaviors; what you’ve done or not done. Sometimes the shame and/or guilt that we carry doesn’t even belong to us – we took it on or inherited it from our family of origin or someone else; what’s important here is that it doesn’t belong to us.

· Wayne was suffering from toxic shame. He was convinced that he was a horrible person and didn’t deserve to have a good life. He kept thinking about how all someone had to do was look at his environment with all the stacks of stuff everywhere or engage in a conversation with him and find it very difficult to track what he was trying to communicate, to see that he was a horrible person.

· He talked about all the plans he had, such as going back to college to complete his degree, buying a little place of his own in the mountains to be close to nature, writing a book, starting a business and so on.

· In actuality, he didn’t have any plans for these things; he had dreams. No specifics, no steps, no plan of how he would achieve any of his dreams, yet he referred to these things as what he planned to do in his life.

· Over the years Wayne became more and more depressed because his life was not turning out the way he planned. This is what he was telling himself. He didn’t realize that he didn’t have actual plans for these things to come to fruition and so they didn’t.

· After a while, he gave up on making plans (or rather on having dreams) because what was the point? He was disappointed and frustrated that life just wasn’t going to work out for him, and that planning or having plans was a waste of time because they didn’t come true.

Background facts:

· You can’t fix what isn’t real and doesn’t belong to you. Said another way, if the shame or guilt you are carrying belongs to someone else, you can’t fix those feelings; you can’t heal the issues because they aren’t yours. The best you can do is return them to the person they belong to, which I fondly refer to as “return to sender.”

· Autopilot parts of us live in our subconscious mind and can sabotage our best efforts to get organized because there is some risk to them if we succeed.

· Continuing to fight to get organized might not be the solution here; rather to embrace and accept those parts of you that live in your subconscious mind, with compassion and understanding so you can resolve whatever the issues are that stand in the way of them allowing you to get organized.

· As Jim Rohn said so eloquently, “For things to change, you’ve got to change.” As to what those changes need to be, it’s different for each of us. Once we identify what the driving force of our shame or guilt is, we can make a plan to transform that driving force and have it generate positive outcomes in our life; not disastrous ones.

If you relate to Wayne’s story, your action steps are:

· Focus – on discovering what the underlying issue is that are stored in your subconscious mind and come to understand what is needed from you for healing. By focusing on what is needed, you can reduce your feelings of shame or guilt when you see your piles of stuff. And if what you uncover doesn’t belong to you, then playing the game of “return to sender” is a great way to relief yourself of issues that aren’t yours and need to be set free so you can focus on yours and heal.

· Follow Through – on healing your relationship with the parts of you that are hurting as you develop a more loving relationship with yourself, and slowly start to organize small areas, making sure to pause if you feel any resistance arise from within yourself. Pause long enough to check in with yourself and figure out what you need to do differently to make it okay to continue with your organization of that area.

· Self-Management – be sure to acknowledge whatever feelings arise while you are focusing on the underlying issues or parts of you and working on healing your relationship with yourself. Feelings are there to communicate a message to us so that we can continue to move forward. Be gentle with yourself as you receive the message and seek to understand it. Shaming or guilting yourself is of no benefit to your wellbeing.

Transitioning to our third story: Fun strategies for getting organized – inside and outside your mind

· Getting organized needs to take place outside your mind, not inside – whether we are talking about your thoughts or your environment. The more you can free up your mind space for processing information rather than storing it, the easier it will be for you to get yourself started with organizing. So, a massive brain dump is in order here. That means get everything you’ve been ruminating about inside your mind outside of you and onto a white board or post-its or something where you can view it, step back and gain perspective on it, move things around on the surface and get it into a sequence or flow that makes sense to you and then test it.

· Tammy had the ineffective habit of keeping everything she needed to do in her mind rather than in a calendar, planner or even on a big sheet of paper on the wall in her living space.

· She prided herself on being able to remember everything that she needed to do – but one problem – she wasn’t taking action on any of the things she remembered she needed to do because trying to hold all her responsibilities in her mind, left very little mind space for thinking about the action steps of task – it was enough to just remember the tasks.

· And because Tammy didn’t have any strategies for organizing her mind or her environment, what she ended up with was a lot on her plate to get done which led to her feelings of overwhelm because nothing was getting done.

· We would often hear her say that if she just had less to think about, then she could make some headway; she just didn’t know what steps to take to clear her mind so she could.

Background Facts:

· We are the meaning makers of our lives. We get to decide what something means or doesn’t mean to us. If your disorganization means something negative about you rather than a skillset you need to master, that moral judgment will definitely slow you down and get in your way.

· If you believe that organizing your thoughts or environment is a tedious task and not worth the time or effort it will take, then it feels like a chore to you rather than something you want to do.

· It’s so important that the meaning we give things empowers us to get into action rather than straps us down into a frozen state.

If you relate to Tammy’s story, your fun action steps are:

o Make a “play date” with yourself on your calendar for a specific amount of time and have it be a repeating event. Choose carefully so you don’t run into conflicts with other appointments. Keep this time sacred for you and your fun organizational dates.

o To manage any overwhelm that you might experience about getting your thoughts or environment organized, you want to work in manageable chunks. One way you can do that with your environment is to use sheets and cover up everything to reduce the visual stimulus that hits you every day. And then when it’s time for your “play date” with yourself, see how much time you’ve given yourself and pull out only that amount of stuff to work with. Be curious and excited to see your stuff again and think about what its purpose is in your life, if there is one. If not, you might need to consider releasing it.

o Perhaps you want to interview your things as you go through them, talk a loud about your relationship with them, when they came into your life, why you chose them and what you need now in your life. If they aren’t what you need now, you might consider thanking your stuff for being in your life and serving you as it did for some time and that time has come to an end and you need to say good-bye. It’s important to express gratitude even to your stuff for what it has done for you over time. I say that because it’s a relationship you have.

o Be sure to use a timer when you start your “play date” so you don’t overstay your time. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that someone overstayed his or her time with you when visiting; if so, it doesn’t feel good. And it won’t feel good to you if you overstay your time with your stuff. You won’t want to visit it again and continue to organize because it won’t feel good.

o Focus – on only spending the time you have allotted for your “play date”

o Follow Through – on making it fun by dressing up or playing a role or being curious or all of it; you want to be interested and engaged in the process of being with your stuff, rather than looking at it with disgust and frustration.

o Self-Management – of your feelings about each of the things you pull out from under the sheets and reflect on. If having a body double present with you while you are having these “play dates” is helpful, then by all means invite someone to just sit and be with you during these times; their presence might help to ground you and keep you out of overwhelm.

A Favorite Quote:

Buddha said, "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become." The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, do you understand just how powerful your mind is and how training it to be your faithful servant, so to speak, is a gift to yourself that will last you a lifetime.

Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes or live videos or working with me directly, you are in my world and I’m here to serve your needs. So be sure to reach out and get your needs met. It’s up to you to take action here so things can change for you.

In the show notes you will find information about my upcoming free webinar this Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 5 pm PT. The topic is 3 Steps You Can Take to Start Getting Organized – The Fun Way. I hope you’ll come prepared to have some fun together as we enter the world of getting organized without overwhelm or frustration.

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and lack the steps and skills to get started with your organizational adventures, be sure to register and let’s have some fun together. You’ll have the opportunity to share your challenges with me when you register as well as what you are seeking as solutions. I look forward to being together and knowing what would be most helpful to you.

I appreciate you showing up to listen today and in the future. I’m making my way back to producing regular episodes. And as a subscriber, the newest episode will automatically be in your feed.

If you enjoyed today’s episode or any of the other episodes, please share this podcast show with your friends and family, as well as rate the show. If you’d like to do a little more, write a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. It doesn’t have to be anything lengthy; just a line or two of how the podcast is helping you, if it is. I love hearing from you. It means a lot to me to know your life is getting a little bit better every time we get together. Be sure to check out the show notes for more free content and ways we can work together. I have solutions to the challenges you are experiencing because I lived with those challenges, made my way out, and would like to help you get out too. I hope to see you this Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 5 pm PT, and read ahead of time what your challenges are and what you need, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…


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