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Classic Energy Vampires

“Each morning I am aware that there is a finite amount of time and energy in this day.”   – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah knows about Energy Vampires.

Imagine if you had more energy every day…What would you do with it? Start on that project you’ve been putting off? Finish that thing that you just haven’t had the energy to finish? Focus a little extra time on just getting organized so you’re more ready to attack tomorrow with all cylinders firing?

Ideally, we begin each day with a full tank of brain fuel, but throughout the day we’re burning it off. As Oprah Winfrey reminds herself in her every-morning mantra, above. (Everyone should have a morning mantra — a powerful tool, but more about that in another post.)

They are sneakily vampiring your energy. Know them and you can slay them.

For folks like you and me who actually are up to something and trying to create something and aspiring to get ahead and be more and have more….our energy is indeed precious.

And yet…We waste energy all day long – knowingly and…unknowingly.

When you “take a break” to watch 15 minutes of YouTube hilarity, it costs you 15 minutes of energy. A 10-minute water-cooler chat with some co-workers debits your energy account. Your 30-minute commute listening to scream radio (that’s what we used to call talk radio), costs you big time. Obsessing about something that didn’t go your way, and so on.

Over the course of a day, this adds up; come 3pm, you hit a major wall. By 7pm, your energy account is way overdrafted. And often….you don’t really know where all your energy went. This is…

The High Cost of Energy Vampires

But here’s the good news: When you focus your attention on your energy, you can put energy back into your account and even get compounding interest.

To start saving up right away, we can call out some of the most common vampires…

Crappy Food: If you’re using sugar or simple carbs to get mental energy, you’re using fast-burning fuel. Protein is where the sustained energy is.

Crappy Sleep: Too little sleep saps your mental energy.

Crappy Lifestyle: Regular exercise increases mental stamina, and doing the opposite ensures you will starve for mental energy when you need it.

Those are kind of obvious. A few, more subtle, energy eaters are…

Multitasking: Not only when you multitask are you doing nothing fast, you are wasting energy in constantly switching between, and re-engaging in, the multiple activities.

Clutter: Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter says, “Clutter makes our senses work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.” Clutter also makes it more difficult to relax, both physically and mentally. That pile you’re saving or not putting away or organizing – it’s stealing your precious energy.

Maintaining a to-do list with too much crap on it. I’ve talked several times about the Zeigarnik Effect – which is when the multitude of undone to-dos on your to-do list burn mental energy with reminders of all your un-done-ness.

With this list of a few sneaky energy-thieves that are debiting your energy bank account, give some of your ADHD attention to them and see of you can rein them in even a little. You will have LOADS more energy with which to crush your goals when you do.

Bless!

Alan

P.S. You might like to watch the episode of Crusher™TV where I dig deeper into this topic, including the Top 3 Energy Vampires, which are all-too-common thought patterns of ADDers. (You can become a member for a buck and cancel any time ya like.) It’s Episode 64: How to Slay the Top 3 Energy Vampires. Here’s the preview of that episode:

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5 Time-Wasters of Biblical Proportions

“One thing we ADHDers never have enough of is time. So if there’s one thing we should never be wasting…it’s…yep…TIME!”   – Alan Brown 

I’m not one for brow-beating my fellow ADHD tribesters, but when it comes to time-wasting, I do get a little preachy. In fact, I was writing part of a Crusher™TV episode about the five biggest avoidable time-wasters and I was getting so wound-up about it that I decided to write it as a fire-and-brimstone sermon!

I call these epic smiters of our precious time…

(Not to be confused with the epic Motown group, The Temptations – of whom there were indeed five).

Here they are. Harken ye to these tales of woe!

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 2.47.06 PMI.  The Entertainments (aka, Media and Games)  These voices beckon us with the false promise of….”Oh just a coupla minutes of Candy Crush”….or “just the first five minutes of Hannity or Rachel Maddow or Big Bang Theory…Surely then I will be ready to return to my labors…” And return we do not.

Your salvation? Schedule specific times for this stuff – to include a cut-off time. They’re not sinful in and of themselves – if you limit them!

social-mediaitesII.  The Social Media-ites (aka Social Media)  These soldiers of the dark side dwell in our devices, our homes, our chariots and I dare say, in our very souls. Their song lulls us deep into their web…then rolls us up in the silk of superficial social interaction…and finally spits us out two hours later…our minds by then utterly vacated.

Your salvation? Toss your device into your drawer and resist that temptation!

 

the-busy-workIII.  The Busy-Work   Those deceitful activities cleverly disguised as productivities…Checking email…Re-checking email…the shuffling of papers…the not-really-necessary conference call. All perfectly tempting in contrast to that which truly needs doing.

Your salvation? Knoweth ye the difference! See this verse for more.

 

the-ruminationsIV.  The Ruminations (aka, Negative Self-Talk) An idle mind is indeed the playground of the devil. It begins when we lament the work we’ve been assigned…and that lamentation quickly turns to self-torment…then wasted time and energy.

Your salvation? A gratitude prayer can quickly smite negative thoughts about one’s travails.

 

the-carbohydraV.  The Carbohydra (aka, Carb- and Sugar-Based Snacks) This false idol promises the land of milk and honey, but delivers only the sadness of simple carbs and sucrose. It does not nourish the mind, but thrashes it utterly!

Your salvation? The teat of protein shall nourish mind and soul!

 

These five plagues on our productivity menace our constitution with false promises of blissful escape…and in so doing…drag us further up the River Styx. Also known as the East River. And you what’s up there, don’t you? Yes, Da Bronx!

I hope you enjoyed our sermon today (with apologies to anyone sensitive to the religious theme…and to the good people of Da Bronx).

Bless!

Alan

P.S. You might like to watch the episode where this sketch was performed. (You can become a member for a buck and cancel any time ya like.) It was part of Episode 20: Best of Crusher™TV – The Pontiffs of Procrastination, which featured clips from interviews with Ari Tuckman, Jeff Copper and other wise men and women! Here’s the preview of that episode:

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3 Ways to Grow Your Brain…By Moving Your Body?

Simple activities restore your gray matter…and more

Most of us think about movement, exercise and fitness in terms of making our bodies healthier. But research also confirms that physical activity – not to mention regular workouts — can grow your brain and have a dramatic impact on improving your mind and memory both near- and long-term.

Exercise Reverses Aging…Of Your Brain

OlgaTake the case of Olga Kotelko, who even at 93 was a successful track-and-field athlete. She held a number of world records and earned hundreds of gold medals in competition.

When researchers at the University of Illinois studied her brain, it looked very different from those of other 90-somethings. Olga’s white matter — the cells that transmit messages from one part of the brain to another — showed fewer abnormalities. And her hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory, was larger. Her brain seemed much younger than her age!

Another study of men and women ages 60 to 80 showed that the most physically active participants had healthier brains than did the more sedentary volunteers — especially in the parts involved in memory and cognition. And none of these folks worked out like Olga, a champion athlete. They simply walked, gardened and moved more each day than the sedentary participants.

So, your brain, which shrinks with age, can be grown simply by walking. And if walking can grow your freakin’ brain: 1. Make a habit of parking farther from the store! 2. Imagine what some real exercise can do!

But as the headline suggests, here’s the upshot: Not only is it never too late to start exercising, but you don’t have to run marathons to get the brain benefits of exercise. Hell, you barely have to exercise to get the brain benefits of exercise.

Movement

3 Ways to Grow Your Brain Without a Gym Membership

Take a Stand: A pile of research shows that just standing — even if you don’t walk or run — can improve your health. So while you’re at work – stand up! Use a standing desk, or set a timer to remind you to get up every 20 minutes or so.

Take a Walk: If you’re feeling a little ambitious, take a brisk walk three times a week. This can increase the size of the hippocampus, and improve your memory.

Take a Hike: There’s also lots of evidence that walking in nature benefits the brain and your cognition. As little as 30 minutes can yield real improvements.

Exercise-Feed-Your-Brain-ADHD-Natural-RemedyThe next step could be some light resistance training – research suggests that just a few sessions a week may slow the age-related shrinking that occurs in some parts of our brains.

And yes, evidence indicates that a more vigorous workout does your brain even more good. Exercise increases your brain’s neurotransmitters, and consistent exercise helps balance these chemicals in your brain’s arousal center – which means that after a vigorous workout, you will be much calmer, more focused and less irritable.

Bless,

Alan

P.S. Episode 13 of Crusher™TV, “Brain Hacks of Great Athletes,” includes an interview with a marathon runner, who explains how he uses ‘brain hacks’ to finish marathons – and to finish projects! This is the kind of stuff we’re doing every week on Crusher™TV. You can check out a preview here.

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Win Your Battle of Activity vs Action

Don’t “Just Do It” … “Get ‘er DONE”!  That’s the Difference Between Activity vs Action.

You’re busting your butt and working hard, yet too many long days end with a nagging feeling that you haven’t gotten much done — at least not much that you (and your boss) deem really important.

Despite your labors, the fruits of those labors are not showing up on the tree.

There are many culprits: poor prioritization, multitasking and task-switching, convenient mental “escapes” to time-wasting social media, to name a few. But…

Deleting emails and retweeting are ACTIVITIES. Writing important emails is ACTION.

The Real Problem: You’re Losing the Battle of Activity vs. Action.

The key is to distinguish the weak behavior (activity) from the strong (action). Then you must re-wire your workflow to focus on action, so you can crush distractions and drive real results.

The Difference Between Action and Activity

Action is purpose-driven and strategic. It’s made up of deliberate tasks that are crucial to moving you toward your important goals and vision. Action moves things forward, gets stuff done.

Activity is the range of tasks that create the illusion of action. When unassociated with a strategic purpose, activity doesn’t really move you forward. Activity is often the pseudo-productivity we engage in to avoid taking action. You may have heard the term “pseudo-productivity.” Same thing.

For example, writing and sending an important email that makes something new happen, that resolves a client question or that commands others to get busy on your agenda – that’s action. Repeatedly checking your emails, or going through them to delete a bunch – that’s activity.

To be fair, cleaning out your email inbox, de-cluttering your desk, and doing laundry all need to get done and often are necessary to work efficiently. But, when those activities are repeatedly pursued when a strategic action is at the top of your to-do list, that’s activity — and that’s, in effect…procrastination!

Some Ways to Steer Clear of Activity and Stay Engaged in Action

  1. Identify your strong and weak times during the day. Use your weak times for activity, reserving your strong times for action. Schedule your deeper thinking during your strong time, when you can better fend off distractions.
  2. Give yourself permission to just think. Schedule time to think. Put it on your calendar. When you give yourself room to think, your important goals will naturally float to the top, followed by new ideas for the paths toward them.
  3. When you think, prioritize: If you don’t have two or three priorities in front of you on a big-ass sticky note every time you sit down to work, you’re gonna get busy with activity!
  4. Singletask. Once you’ve set priorities for the day, pick one and set a timer – 20 or 30 or 90 minutes – to work on that one thing. Single-tasking is the single most powerful way to steer clear of activity and escapes.
  5. Get an accountability partner or a coach, which will double your willpower, increasing action and results.

Bottom line, now that you know the difference between the two, make a commitment to action. There is always something you can do to move the important stuff forward! (Just as there is always some potential ‘escape’ activity nearby!)

Bless,

Alan

P.S.: In Episode 15 at CrusherTV.com, I really get into the nitty gritty of this topic and give you the tools to stop spinning your wheels and get on the road to true productivity. Plus, I talk with clinical therapist and coach Eric Tivers, who offers some great ways to re-wire your workflow and really make progress toward your goals. You can check out a preview right here.

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Change Your Posture, Fire Up Your Brain

Sit up and take notice: Bad posture is bad for your ADHD brain!

I’ve talked a lot about the brain-body connection as it relates to productivity, and a recent New York Times article highlights the effects poor posture can have on the body, such as back and neck pain, muscle fatigue, and arthritic joints.

Slouching — as so many of us do when staring at a phone or computer screen — compresses the abdominal organs, reducing peristaltic action, which is key to normal digestion and bowel function.

But enough about the physical toll. Poor posture is killing your productivity! 

Forward head posture, or FHP, is among the the most common forms of destructive posture. It’s characterized by the forward displacement of the head over the chest, causing the shoulders to round forward. Think about walking, head down, phone in hand. Get the picture? (If not, check out this picture!)

Forward-Head-Posture

Note the effective weight of the head resulting from FHP!

Slumping does more than make people unhealthy. It affects our moods, which affect our productivity.

FHP can reduce lung capacity, which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain and other organs. Less oxygen to the brain, less brain function, less PRODUCTIVITY.

So what can you do?

Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s research on body language shows how we can change our own body chemistry — and even people’s perceptions of us — just by changing our body position.

Mentally fatigued? Nervous? Stressed? Take a super-stance. 

cuddy_poptech.jpgYup. Simply by standing like Wonder Woman (or Superman) — feet apart, hands on hips, chest out — for two minutes, you can re-boot yourself. This is neither joke nor hyperbole. It’s science. Research shows that when this pose is held for two minutes, cortisol, a stress hormone, is reduced by up to 25 percent and confidence and clarity go up, because testosterone gets bumped 20 percent (even for women).

Posture can alter our emotions and affect how confidently we approach situations and solve problems, which affect how powerful we appear to others.

The Reflexive V, or Pride Pose, is one of several power poses Cuddy refers to.

It’s what a golfer instinctively does after sinking the winning putt; a runner does when she breaks the finish-line tape; an account executive does after landing a new client; and what a couch potato does when his team wins the Stanley Cup: arms wide, chin up, chest out … victory!

Posing like Wonder Woman or assuming a Reflexive V not only can result in greater self-confidence and increase the confidence others have in us, but such expansive poses, in which chest and arms are open rather than closed, can help prevent recovering alcoholics from relapsing; help people take initiative and risks; and even increase pain tolerance.

So, when feeling fatigued or stressed or before heading into a stressful situation, strike a two-minute power pose. And always avoid slouching or otherwise “folding into yourself” or “making yourself smaller.”

In Crusher™TV Episode 21, I share some of the other do and don’t positions for positive posturing. Here’s the preview of that episode…

Walk tall my friends!!!

Bless,

Alan

P.S. In Crusher™TV Episode 15, I talk about iHunch, a term coined by a New Zealand physiotherapist that refers to the contortion of our bodies as we engage with our gadgets. After 30 years of treating women who had developed “dowager’s humps,” he noticed this phenomenon in increasingly younger patients, particularly in teenagers. Quick — are you doing the iHunch right now??

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Top 3 Procrastination Brain Hacks from 3 Top Experts

Procrastination. We all know how much we ADHDers are doing it…

…and we all know the costs, the aggravations of procrastination. (Someone might be yelling at you right now cuz something hasn’t gotten done yet! Or maybe that unpaid parking ticket is just a few days from morphing into a brief jail term!)

So I’ll cut to the chase: Some solutions in the form of “brain hacks.”

I use a number of my own tricks to keep my to-do list small and my businesses cranking. Plus, as the host of Crusher™TV, I get to interview the best minds on all kinds of productivity-related subjects. So I wanted share some of the best brain hacks for beating procrastination from a few of our past Guest Experts on the show…

Girl-Procrastinate-Clock

Ari Tuckman: Frame Dreaded Tasks in Terms of Rewards and Regrets

In Episode 7: Stop Procrastinating, psychologist Ari Tuckman shared what your brain does when you don’t want to do something: You make arguments for how much the task sucks and how much better it would be to be doing something else. This mental stance is aided and abetted by what’s called “temporal discounting” – the farther into the future some reward or pain is, the less significant it appears.

As such, Air articulated the “brain hack” of re-framing a dreaded task, to compensate for such discounting: asking yourself, “If by 10am I don’t get going on this task, what will the ‘10pm me’ be saying? How ticked off will she be?” And if you answer that honestly, you can trigger a little motivational fuel to get you rolling in the right direction.

And if you do get moving on that task, the 10pm you will be STOKED. Envisioning that outcome gives you another boost of proactive brain chemicals.

Eric Tivers: Acknowledge What is “Imbortant”

Leave it to Eric to coin a new term. In Episode 15: Get More Done with Less @#$%!, he calls out the many things we put off…and put off…because they’re boring and…boring! Yet, they are important – hence, “imbortant”.

Just acknowledging this is a powerful procrastination-buster, because you’re dimensionalizing the key reason you’re stalling: certain tasks are mundane and thus don’t fire up your ADHD brain with any level of interest. You know: going through your email inbox, paying the bills, laaaauuuundry, etc.

His remedy for such imbortant tasks? Just schedule some time for “processing” of imbortant stuff. You don’t have to finish anything/everything; just put a block in your calendar and allow yourself to be BORED…as you do the work. Ideally, you schedule a little time each day for such processing…and fewer imbortant things will come back to haunt you.

Jeff Copper: Ask, “What Is Hard About This?”

We procrastinate a lot because we’re just not really sure what to do! In Episode 8, legendary attention coach Jeff Copper had some wise words to share about getting unstuck from this predicament. And in classic Copper style, he says, “Don’t try harder – try different!” Which you can do by asking ourselves, “OK, why the heck IS this so hard to start?”

…Maybe it’s hard cuz it’s boring (or imbortant!).
…Maybe it’s hard because there’s some confrontation involved.
…Or you just don’t know where to start.

If you just ASK yourself, “What’s hard?”, you make a huge leap toward the solution, and from there it’s easier to leap…into action!

I shared some of my brain hacks in Crusher™TV Episode 35: How to Do Something You HATE Doing! Stop by Crusher™TV and watch the latest free previews!

Bless,

Alan

OH — and a BIG P.S.: If you’re REALLY sick of procrastination messing up your life, check out our award-winning ADD Crusher™ Videos & Tools Program. This instructional “virtual coach” is endorsed by over 100 ADHD coach worldwide.  ab

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How You May Be Wasting 3.5 Hours a Day

The Classic Time-Wasters at Work

A really easy way to get more stuff done every day would be to identify a few things you’re wasting time on every day – not just the classic time-wasters, but importantly, the things you don’t realize are eating up your precious time.

Now, you can Google up all kinds of “top time-waster” lists, but I like a recent Inc. Magazine list of classic workplace time eaters. And I’ve taken it a step further – cuz for each one, I’ve done research to find out just how much time each of them steals from your typical workday.

Time-Wasters-at-Work

Here are the top seven, according to Inc.

  1. Socializing: You spend 40 plus hours a week with your co-workers, but you don’t have to BURN hours with them. Nearly a quarter of workers say socializing at work is their biggest distraction. Conservatively, you can figure 15 minutes burned per workday.
  1. Social Media: it’s a slippery slope once you start in on any of your social media. A quick reply to a text becomes a gabfest…a peek at your Facebook or Twitter feed becomes a lost morning. While the average college student spends three hours a day on social media (!!!), the average worker probably burns conservatively 30 minutes.
  1. Surfing the Web: Two thirds of workers with a computer at their desk, visit non-work related websites during the work day, and 45% claim this is one of their biggest distractions. Figure you’re burning 30 minutes minimum a day.
  1. Meetings: Some stats suggest that a half an hour is wasted every day just scheduling meetings, and then there are the useless or poorly constructed meetings themselves. Let’s call it 30 minutes burned.
  1. Interruptions: From disruptive co-workers, computer problems, busy-work created by poor organization, etc., that contribute nothing to your output. Some are unavoidable but many can be guarded against. Let’s say 15min burned.
  1. Multitasking: I’ve dedicated two Crusher™TV episodes to this very subject. It’s a sink-hole of imaginary productivity. It can easily costs us 70 minutes a day.
  1. Daydreaming: Here I would include worry and rumination. We can assume 30 minutes a day is burned by such idle, non-productive thought.

Total time wasted per day?

Three and a half hours — which puts you at more than 40% of an 8 hour workday!!

Oh, and that figure of 40% that I got to by scouring all kinds of research aligns with a massive Franklin Covey survey of 350,000 workers worldwide, in which people reported spending 40 percent of their time on things that are unimportant or outright irrelevant. Nice affirmation of my digging, I have to say.

I don’t mean to nag, and we all know we’re doing this stuff – it’s not news to anyone. BUT — we need to be hyper-aware of all these, because again, many of them are wasting our time because we’re not forcefully LABELING them as the time-burners they really are. And all the more important for us ADHDers, who never have enough time!!

Bless,

Alan

P.S. I devoted an entire episode of Crusher™TV to how you can “Gain an Extra Hour a Day”. This is the kind of stuff we’re doing every week on Crusher™TV.  You can check out some previews here. Hope you will — it was a great episode (with Guest Expert Tom Bergeron, who created a start-up incubator for ADHD entrepreneurs!). ab

 

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Are Productivity Apps Wasting Your Time?

Beware the False Promise of Productivity Apps

Would you like to have an extra day each week? Of course you would. We never have enough time! And as I often say, “If there’s one thing we ADDers never have enough of, it’s time. So the last thing we should be doing is WASTING IT!”

I can tell you, I am NOT efficient or fast at anything I do. But I’m productive and usually effective…cuz I use the time I got pretty well.

You Can Steal Back an Hour a Day

With time being the single most valuable asset for the productivity-starved ADHDer, there is much to be gained by gaining time – and even by gaining a better understanding of your perception of it. For example…The things we think are saving us time but aren’t; and the things we think are normal daily activities, but are burning loads of valuable time.

With some sober awareness and a few simple-yet-powerful brain hacks and life hacks, you can easily steal back an hour a day…basically, a workday each week. Not joking.

In this post I’ll share some wake-up-call insights on “time saving” apps, and in a sequel, I’ll dig into some classic time-burners at work.

A Word About “Time-Saving” Apps

We all want to have shortcuts to save our butts…

Procrastination Clock ADHD

(Yes, that’s the procrastinator’s clock…you know this one, don’t you?) And we know how our gadgets are saving us all kinds of time and effort on so many things. But, when it comes to time-saving apps, think about these three things before downloading the next gotta-have-it productivity app:

  1. How many new apps have you successfully incorporated into your life in the last six months, such that they are currently being used as intended from the day you downloaded it?
  2. How much time have you or will you put into downloading, learning and implementing a new app? And…
  3. What are the ACTUAL odds of you using it as a habit 6 months from now.

Hmmm. Kinda makes ya think.

The Cold, Hard Data on “Time-Saving” Apps

…with some warm, soft illustrations for ya. According to a study by Localytics

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 5.38.46 PM

25% of apps are used just once after download…

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 5.57.24 PM

And more than half are used fewer than 5 times.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 5.39.14 PM

Only a third are used more than 10 times.

So chances are, two thirds of the “time saving” productivity apps on your phone, have COST you time.

Now, everybody’s different, and I know people who grab the latest app and are workin’ it from day one right up until the better competing app or version 2.0 arrives.…But I’m not one of those people and I KNOW it…so I don’t waste ANY time hunting for miracle apps.

That alone probably gives me a few extra minutes every day. If you even suspect you’re like me in this regard, maybe you shouldn’t be quite so app-happy?!

And besides, devices and productivity apps can’t compete with our bad-ass brain for saving you time. That is, if you’re hackin’ your brain right.

And speaking of brain hacks: I recently devoted an entire episode of Crusher™TV to brain hacks for “having an extra hour each day”. You can check out some previews here. Hope you will — it was a great episode (#19, with Guest Expert Tom Bergeron, who created a start-up incubator for ADHD entrepreneurs!).

‘Til next time…guard your time!!

Alan

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How to Get Clutter Outta Your Workspace!

Simple Steps to De-Clutter: Peace of Mind…via Peace of Place

Here’s the third in my trio of blog posts about clutter. In the first, I talked about why it’s so dang hard to get rid of; in the second I laid out the brain barriers clutter creates.

In this post, I share the indispensable keys to getting crap out of your way so you can focus more and think bigger.

But first, here’s a Mini-Productivity Hack I shared back in Episode 4 of Crusher™TV, in which I clear the decks of my desk before hunkering down on a tough task or project…

While I make sure my entire office is giving me Peace of Mind by providing Peace of Place, keeping my immediate workspace clutter-free is most critical. And here are the simple steps you can take to do the same….

First thing you want to do isIdentify-Energizers-Clutter-CrusherTVscan your working area and identify the things that give you energy. As one expert puts it, things that spark joy. These are the things that should remain in your line of sight – or immediately behind you as reminders. Might be a picture or a sculpture or just a handwritten note of a quote. These things are like battery jumper cables for your brain! So don’t take them lightly!

 

 

Next…

Photograph-for-Perspective-Clutter-CrusherTV

Take some photos of your work area and spend a few minutes just looking at them. By seeing your space from different perspectives OTHER than your everyday view from your chair, you can better spot the most cluttered areas.

 

 

 

With some clutter hot spots identified you’ll know best where to start discarding

Discard-Clutter-CrusherTV

Cuz, a key to success is to discard first…and THEN organize or de-clutter. When you don’t do it in this order, you slow down the process and dramatically increase the odds of frustration and of giving up….

 

 

 

 Needless to say, in looking for things to discard or remove from sight….

Identify-De-Energizers-Clutter-ADDCrusherScan your work area and identify things that you don’t like to look at…that just give you a negative vibe. Cuz they weigh you down. Might be a stack of to-do’s…a stack of bills…an old piece of art. Get rid of them or take them out of your line of sight.

 

 

 

Then…

Identify-Junk-Clutter-ADDCrusher

Look for anything that doesn’t do ANYTHING. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, and it doesn’t spark a joyful feeling when you look at it, it’s probably useless – trash it or donate it.

 

 

 

Last…

Essentials-Clutter-ADDCrusher

Put ONLY what you need for a given day’s work at arm’s length. Everything else goes in a drawer or on a shelf.

At the end of your de-clutterment, there’s a good chance there’ll be some items that you’re on the fence about. You feel some attachment…you think you might need it. Well, there’s a hack for that: Put them in a box, stick it in the corner and one week later, try to remember what’s in the box. Anything you don’t remember….it’s probably ok to flotsam that jetsam.

Think about the relative mental peace you have when you are visually confronted by nothing more than a blue sky, or the surface of a lake. Make your workspace more like that and see what your beautiful brain can do!

Peace, baby…yaaaaaaaaaaaa.

-Alan

P.S. The overall topic of de-cluttering and personal organization was the subject of Episode 14 on Crusher™TV. If you like this stuff, you might like Crusher™TV, where we crush productivity issues with simple-yet-powerful “brain hacks” every week. www.CrusherTV.com

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What Clutter Does to Your Brain

There is Great Mental Power to Be Had in a Place of Peace

…and great frustration to be had in a cluttered, visually noisy environment!

Do you have a fortress of solitude where there is no visual noise to interfere with your budding big-ass ideas and potent problem-solving? I do. I always say, Peace of Mind requires Peace of Place, and in this second blog post on clutter, I’ve gathered up some of the science that shows just how visual and physical clutter can make our adult ADD/ADHD seem worse.

But to get us started…In which of these two bedrooms do you think you’d fall asleep faster and get a better night’s sleep?

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 4.43.40 PM or…

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Which would you rather begin your day in?

I know, the pairing’s quite exaggerated, but all to amplify that the latter creates or preserves positive energy…and the former, just drains it.

And importantly, whether you live in a McMansion or a mobile home or a micro-home, you can create an environment for more mental power. All the more important therefore, that our place of work, must be a place of visual peace. And so, let’s talk about…

Visual Clutter’s Impact On Your Brain

…which is of particular importance in your office or other workspace.

Research shows that any excess items in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information: Neuroscientists at Princeton showed that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.

Why is this? What are the mechanics of this? Writing in Psychology Today, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter does a nice job of explaining. She says that…

  • Clutter pelts our minds with excessive stimuli (not just visual, but olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on unnecessary or irrelevant stimuli.
  • Clutter distracts us by pulling our attention away from where it should be.
  • Clutter constantly reminds us that our work is never done.
  • Clutter inhibits creativity and productivity by invading the open spaces that allow us to think, brainstorm, and problem solve.
  • Lastly, clutter makes it harder to relax, both physically and mentally.

Now many of you may look around your office and say, “Hey, I like my stuff, I can find my stuff, and I’m pretty productive, so don’t mess with me or my STUFF!”

Well, I hope the evidence-based info above will have you thinking a bit more about getting rid of a bit more! Cuz as I say in the first post in this clutter series, You don’t have to be a hoarder to benefit from some de-cluttering!

And by the way, just as a cluttered desk can slow us down….so can a cluttered computer desktop!

So whenever my desktop gets a little cluttery…

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I sweep it clean…and what a difference it makes to my ADHD brain!!

Next installment in this series, I’ll show you a very simple, step-by-step process to getting clear skies ahead…

‘Til then, wishing you Peace…of Place!

Alan

P.S. — We devoted an entire episode of CrusherTV last week to the topic of clutter. If you’d like to dive into a bigger heap of insights and tips, consider trying CrusherTV! We do an episode each week on new topic…and we dig in deep, with A-List Guest Experts. Hope to “see” you there!

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