Time Blindness

Today.

Tomorrow.

Next week.

Next month.

Now.

Never.

Time Blindness:  The lack of awareness of the passing of time.

Although I work primarily with clients that struggle with ADHD, almost everyone has struggled with time blindness at some point.

In this 7:38 video about ADHD and time blindness, Dr. Russell A. Barkley highlights a few key points about time blindness and ADHD, but I find them universally applicable:

“What is the purpose of the frontal lobe to humans?  It is to organize behavior across time in anticipation of what is coming at you.  The future.”

“Now is more important than what you are holding in the future.”

“The further out the event lies, the less they are capable of dealing with it” (speaking of people diagnosed with ADHD).

What does time blindness look like?

  1. Company is coming in three weeks and there is a laundry list of things that need to be done. But, it’s three weeks away, so what’s the hurry? Time blindness convinces us we have plenty of time, but when the company is two days away, there literally isn’t the appropriate time to prepare. Shoot!
  2. You need to pick up the kids from soccer at 4:00. No worries, it’s only 2:30 and we just need to check e-mail.  And Facebook.  And the new deals on Zulily. “This will only take a few minutes.”  Well, an hour and a half later, you are now late to pick up the kids.  Dang!
  3. The sprinkler system needs to be shut down for the winter. No biggie, it’s September. I’ll call “next week.” “Next week” turns into October, then November, then December.  Now the shut-off is buried under 2’ of snow, the service provider is shut down for the winter, and the pipes may have already frozen. Fingers crossed.

What are the consequences?

  1.  Not putting our best foot forward.  Being unprepared.  Panic.
  2.  Letting down family, friends, and colleagues. Shame. Guilt.
  3.  Expensive repairs. Frustration.  Anxiety.

What to do?

  1. Use a calendar. Keeping important appointments and dates in our heads is a recipe for disaster.   Invest in whatever type of calendar works for how your brain works, then ensure all important dates/times are noted, with appropriate reminders (1 week before a birthday, 30-minutes before a conference call, etc.). Be sure to break down big projects into manageable steps and put those steps on the calendar.
  2. Set timers. Transitions are hard, but especially hard if we struggle with ADHD, so set timers for any situation where an important transition needs to be made: leaving for work, picking up your kids, departing for a flight. You get the picture.  If it’s important, set a timer to ensure follow-through.  Use any timing device that works for you: timers on the microwave, timers on the oven, timers on your phone, timers on your watch, and my personal favorite the Time Timer.
  3. Take into account whether or not other people are involved in the process. If someone else needs to be involved, be respectful and conscientious of their time also.

I’ve found the most important investment my clients can make to assist with time blindness is a bunch of analog clocks.  There is an innate difference between seeing time pass on an analog clock vs a digital clock.  Ensure there is an analog clock anywhere a transition needs to be executed: any highly-trafficked rooms at home or work and especially in the car (a quick stop at Target is almost never a quick stop).

More great stuff on time blindness:

Dr. Ari Tuckman on Time Blindness

Zara Harris, MS, OT, on Time Blindness

 

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

Project: Family Reunion

Our family just held our annual family reunion.  It was an amazing 3-day event with up to 60 people participating in the main event on Saturday.  Participants ranged from 7-months to 86-years old.  Pulling off an event of this magnitude with such a varying age range can be quite the feat, requiring a ton of planning and patience.

Here’s how we made it work:

  1. Select an event chair, or better yet, a couple of co-chairs to handle the planning and coordination.  Depending on the size of the reunion, you may only need one, but for 3-day event and 60 participants, it was great to spread the event coordination around a bit

 

  1. Decide on a time of year and venue.

Our reunion is always held around the 4th of July (easy travel for everyone, generally not a lot of competing events like there would be in the November/December time period, the weather is predictable, events can be held outside, etc.) and it’s always held at the same place.

Choose the venue carefully.  If someone’s home can manage it, great.  If you need to rent a space, be sure to get that done early.  If you are coordinating people from across the country, attempt to find a venue that is geographically central, not requiring people to travel too great of distances.

 

  1. Set up early and frequent communication.  The more communication there is around your family reunion, the better opportunity to get people excited and eager to attend.

If possible, include some fun stories and photos from previous reunions to pique people’s interest.

Be careful to include communication styles that everyone can participate in.  For example, although e-mail is efficient, not everyone uses e-mail.  If e-mail is your chosen mode of communication, make sure someone is assigned to pass on the pertinent information to those who don’t get e-mail. (My 88-year old Mom doesn’t have an active e-mail account so my brother prints e-mails for her.)

 

  1. Create a spreadsheet or mind map including everything that needs to be in place for a successful reunion.  Be sure to include:

Food:  Solicit volunteers to bring specific dishes or categories of food (i.e. appetizers, main course, vegetables, dessert, bread, beverages, etc.).  Solicit information regarding specialty food requirements, possibly requesting participants bring their own specialty food and beverages.

Games:  Solicit volunteers to manage entertainment for all ages.  For example, sidewalk chalk and bubbles for the younger ones, badminton for the older kids, and video games for all ages.

Functional needs for the event:  For example, determine who will be decorating, ensuring sufficient silverware/plates/glasses are available, making certain all the potluck food makes it to the serving table (we missed putting the Jello out one year and no one needs Jello for 60 after the event), managing the trash, locating the First Aid kit and sunscreen and bug spray and so on and so on and so on.

 

  1. Solicit volunteers . . . and lots of them. When John Heywood quoted “many hands make light work” he probably wasn’t thinking about family reunions at the time, but the phrase holds true.  Everyone (age appropriate) should be part of the planning and execution process.  Too few people trying to handle too many things may result in a less successful event, stress, and hurt feelings.

 

  1. Pack your patience and gratitude. Events of this magnitude can be stressful.  Chances are things will not go 100% to plan.  Dinner may be late, participants may not bring the items they committed to, children may not get along, etc.  Keep in mind the reason for the event . . . connecting people and sharing love.

 

  1. Be sure to take lots of photos. It’s possible the family reunion may be the only time some of the cousins, aunts, and uncles may see each other.  Photos are a great way to keep the connection after the event is over.  Plus, for events that are held multiple years, it’s fun to see how people have changed.

 

  1. Take lots and lots of notes. If there are plans to repeat the tradition, having notes from the previous year(s) will be invaluable.  How many adults/children were present?  How much of the main course was consumed? What other food was available? What beverages were available and how much was consumed? How many people participated in particular events?

 

  1. Ask for feedback. When holding any kind of event, it’s great to solicit feedback from attendees.  What did they like?  What didn’t they like?  What would the like to see more of? Less of?  Was the timing right? Was the venue appropriate?  Knowing what worked and didn’t work will make next year’s event that much more successful!

A well-planned and executed family reunion will allow you to create and rekindle connections, share experiences, and provide a base for ongoing commitment to family.

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

 

Swim Lanes

I come from a family of swimmers.  At a point in time, all five of the siblings in my family were on swim teams.  I was the youngest at the age of six with my oldest brother being 14.  I can’t imagine the scheduling chaos in our family at that point time.

One swim meet in particular stands out.

It was early in my swim team career.  We were at an away meet and my suits had been forgotten at home.  My sister was six years older than me, but using her spare suit was the only option I had.  My mother jerry-rigged it the very best she could, but as you might imagine, it didn’t go well.

I was crying before I hit the water.  I was sure my suit was going to come off.  I couldn’t hold a stroke to save my life.  I was all over the place and ended up being disqualified because I wandered out of my swim lane and into the adjacent lane.

I wanted to give up.  I never wanted to swim another stroke in my life.

If I were to put adult emotions on my six-year-old self they would be:

  • Embarrassed
  • Frustrated
  • Disappointed
  • Humiliated

All because I wasn’t prepared and didn’t stay in my swim lane.

I experience some of these same emotions when I don’t stay in my swim lane as an adult.

What does staying in my swim lane mean?

Do what I am responsible for and what I do best.

Let others do what they are responsible for and what they do best.

Some examples of my swim lane restrictions:

  • In our household, everything that has a motor is the responsibility of my husband. I may pass on information like “this doesn’t seem to be working the way it used to.”  That’s it.  He gets to take it from there, I get to let it go.
  • I have been a long-time Board member of a local professional group. To that end, people send me requests and questions that do not pertain to my current Board position.   With glee, I pass them on to the appropriate individual.
  • As a coach, my clients open up to me about very personal things, sometimes asking for advice I am not qualified to give. I am not a counselor.  I am not a therapist.  When this situation comes up, it is helpful to know the boundaries of my swim lane and politely suggesting this is a situation better suited for their mental health provider.

What has embracing this swim lane philosophy done for me?

  • I’m not embarrassed when I offer solutions, even though I lacked understanding the big picture.
  • I’m not frustrated when I felt the need to meddle in someone else’s business when I wasn’t asked or invited (funny, most people would prefer I stay out of their swim lanes).
  • I’m not disappointed when my involvement in projects is not embraced.
  • I’m not humiliated when I’m told that my solution to their problem isn’t in line with their direction, desires, values, and needs.  I don’t always know best.

Although I do enjoy being helpful and supportive, being able to identify when I am wandering into someone else’s swim lane and stopping myself has been a blessing.

Thought:

Do what I am responsible for and what I do best.

Let others do what they are responsible for and what they do best.

Stay in your swim lane.

 

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

 

The power of mind mapping.

Sometimes making progress is really, really hard.  Even when we have a very clear idea of where we want to end up, we just can’t seem to make it through the decision-making and execution process.

Why is that?

  • There are too many options.
  • The scope is ambiguous.
  • We don’t know where to start.
  • Required chronology is uncertain.
  • We’re concerned we may forget important parts and pieces.

This, I’m certain, is just a partial list of what may run through our minds when we are contemplating a project.  Sometimes there are so many unanswered questions we just throw up our hands in frustration and don’t do anything.

When I’m stuck on a project, I use mind mapping.

What’s that?

A mind map is a great way to visually organize information.  Using the lightbulb image above as a guideline, start with the central concept.

Light bulb = Create Sales Trend Report.

The circles represent important parts and pieces of the project and process:

  • Scope
  • Stakeholders
  • Data gathering
  • Data delivery
  • Report criteria
  • Programming resources

Using the most basic of mind-mapping techniques can help generate ideas, visualize structure and process workflow, resulting in higher success and completion rates.

The cool thing about mind maps is that they can be used in any environment.  From occupational to personal, mind mapping is a great way to move from concept to completion.

Mind maps can take many forms.  Personally, I like to use the old-fashioned pencil-on-paper technique shown below.

Image source: Pinterest

Recently one of my more technically advanced clients suggested an open-source mind mapping called X-Mind, but a quick online· search resulted in a plethora of options, most with free trial options.  I’d suggest trying a few options to see what fits your personal style.

Stuck on a project?  Mind map it!

 

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t know.” was one of the phrases I previously feared using the most.

Now I embrace it.

What did I used to think “I don’t know.” said about me?

  1. I was uninformed.
  2. I was unprepared.
  3. I wasn’t as good as someone else.
  4. I was vulnerable and weak.

Questions I wanted to answer “I don’t know.” to but was too afraid:

  1. What were the annual sales of this product two years ago?
  2. How long will it take to create that new report?
  3. What changes did Kathy’s group make that cut their lead time by 15%?
  4. What would be the benefit of assigning that project to another team?

Having to say “I don’t know.” struck fear in my heart and left me feeling stressed, anxious and exhausted.  I had convinced myself that there was an expectation that I knew everything all the time.   I certainly didn’t.  I felt like an imposter.

I will admit, there were times when I truly didn’t know but would try to bluff my way through anyway.  Not a strategy I would recommend as on more than one occasion this strategy did not work out well . . . at all.

But in actuality “I don’t know.” can be incredibly powerful, made even stronger followed by “Let me find out.”  What does using these two simple phrases say about you?

  • You are honest about your knowledge.
  • You know your limitations.
  • You are open to exploration.
  • You do not always need to be the expert.
  • You are willing to be vulnerable, making it easier for others to be vulnerable around you.

Who would you prefer to be known as?  The person in the bullet points above, or the stressed, anxious, and exhausted person that considers themselves an imposter.

I don’t know, do you?

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

Bucket Management

“I need to change everything.”

This is the answer I get most often from my clients when asked what they’d like to focus on first in our coaching or organizing partnership.   But, change takes focus and we can’t focus on everything at the same time, right?

One of the most effective things I can do for my clients is to help them identify changes they can make that will provide the most benefit across all areas of their lives:  home, work, friends, etc.   For visualization purposes, I refer to these areas as “buckets.”

Bucket identification helps my clients recognize the broad categories within their lives and spaces, then drill down to concerns within each.

For example:

Bucket: Marriage

Concerns: communication, division of responsibility, utilization of strengths, scheduling, understanding of vulnerabilities

Bucket: Job

Concerns: time management, conflict resolution, communication, overcommitment, difficulty staying within areas of responsibility

Bucket: Self-care

Concern: sleep hygiene, routines, negative self-talk, stress management, nourishment, making time for exercise

Bucket: Home

Concerns: household chore list, incomplete projects, division of responsibility, household organization

Bucket: Family

Concerns: creating boundaries, communicating boundaries, making time for family, managing conflict

Bucket: Friends

Concerns: finding time for friends, communication is one-sided, lack of follow-through on commitments

Looking through this list, you will see some common threads: communication and time management.  Rather than work on one distinct bucket, it is more effective to work on improving communication and time management, which will positively impact multiple life buckets.

What are your life buckets and the concerns within them?  What one or two things could be improved that would provide relief across all buckets?

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

 

Old Dog, New Tricks

How often have we heard the phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

Thirty years ago neural researchers would have sworn that mental development ended in your twenties.  The prevailing theory was that “the brain simply didn’t undergo any significant change in capacity after late adolescence” (Immunity to Change, Kegan, and Lahey).  Imagine that.

Fast forward 30 years and studies show the brain has the ability to continue to adapt throughout life. Why is that important? We are living longer, and the longer we live the more we need to continue to learn and grow.  Not just because of the demand, but also the desire.

Desire is a key point.  If we desire change, we will strive to achieve it.  If change is demanded, we tend to resist.  How is this reflected in change?

Desire vs Demand

My dad was over 65 when he decided to learn how to snowboard.  He wanted to snowboard so he would have something in common with his grandkids.  Desire was strong, demand was absent.

My husband is almost 69 years old.  He is the “go to” guy for tech support within our house and amongst his employees, friends, and family.  He feels a need to embrace technology to support his family, friends, and business.  Both desire and demand are strong.

At 50 I embarked on a new career: coaching and organizing.  I have a passion for helping people break through their physical and emotional clutter to help them create the lives they want to live, not the life they feel stuck in.  Both desire and demand are strong.

We have some friends that are taking up golf in their 60s.  Now, golf is not an easy sport and can be incredibly frustrating, but they just keep going.  Desire is strong, demand is absent.

Again with my dad.  He was an electrical inspector.  He loved his job.  He met the most amazing people, and couldn’t wait to get into the office every day to see his office colleagues.  Then technology raised it’s ugly head when my dad was about 65.  He was now required to receive and file his inspection reports on a computer.  He was able to give up his commute to the office but missed seeing his colleagues and the technology kicked his you know what. He couldn’t (didn’t want to) get the hang of it.  Demand was strong, the desire was absent.  He retired.

When you are handed a new challenge, how do you see it?  Desire vs demand?  Are you more inclined to try harder one way or the other?  Does it change your perspective on the challenge?  How would a perspective shift help?

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

 

 

“I’m curious . . . . “

Synergy happens when opposite perspectives are explored.

It is human nature to come at any situation with our own personal history and bias.  It’s difficult to be understanding and empathic with someone else’s perspective if we haven’t experienced their experiences.

When I was a Director at Macy’s, I supervised several people many years my junior.  I will readily admit that my perspective at the time was that I knew best.  My expectation was for them to follow my lead and do things they way they’d always been done, my way.  Fortunately I managed brilliant people that would frequently push back with suggestions to do things in another (generally more efficient) way.  However, that meant that I had to open my mind to being curious about their perspective.

I’d like to say this was an easy transition, but it was not.  However, the more I exercised the curiousity muscle, the better we became as a team.

“I’d like to telecommute.”

Oh my gosh, this was one of the hardest hurdles for me to jump over.  I was their manager, how in the world could I “manage” them when they weren’t in the office?  Would they take advantage of the freedom?  Would they be doing laundry when they should be working on spreadsheets?  How could we effectively work as a team when the team wasn’t together?  All valid concerns because I’d not experienced the telecommuting enviroment.  So, I excercised my curiousity muscle and asked my team to “educate me” on how they thought telecommuting  would work.  What parameters were they envisioning (every day? once a week? whenever convenient?).  I asked them to create the boundaries and accountability.  It worked so well, I started telecommuting once a week also.  Win. Win.

“The information on this report is no longer relevant.”

“No, I’m sure someone would have told us if it wasn’t necessary” was what I wanted to say.  But exercising the curiosity muscle necessitated me being open to another point of view.  “What’s driving you to believe it’s irrelevant?”  “How can we find out if it is relevant to the other stakeholders?” “Is there something else more relevant to the success of our team?”

“The training we are providing isn’t working.”

Argh! Managing a training program is difficult and expensive and I really didn’t want to start from scratch, but the curiousity muscle was already being engaged.  “What makes you think it’s broken?”  Well, they were curious themselves and asked questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  “What’s your vision of the new program?”  The suggested replacement program was a well thought-out curriculum.  “How will we know if it’s working.”   A new report was suggested that included data points that I didn’t even know existed.

Exercising my curiousity muscle didn’t mean that I accepted every thought or suggestion that came my way.  But, by openly listening without judgement to a different perspective showed that I truly valued the team member and their contribution to the team as a whole.

How can you show your co-worker, friend or family member that you sincerely value their perspective?

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

Are you working with boulders or pebbles?

Things can be so dog-gone overwhelming sometimes, can’t they?

I worked with a couple clients last week that were paralyzed by their “to do” lists.  The lists were so long and the projects were so daunting that the default action was inaction.

They were trying to work with boulders when it would have been much easier to work with pebbles.

What does working with boulders vs pebbles mean?  I’ll use one of my projects as an example.

I realized that my current business name doesn’t speak to a large segment of my business: coaching.  If you were looking for a coach would you think it made sense to contact “Organize to Simplify?”  I know I wouldn’t, so I’m changing my business name which triggers a plethora of tasks.  Some of these are Boulder tasks, some are pebble tasks.

Change business name and identity:  Boulder task

  • Secure new domain: Pebble task
  • Create new logo: Boulder task
  • Create a new website: Boulder task
  • Outreach to clients and support base: Boulder task

Secure new domain: Pebble task (done)

Create new logo: Boulder task

  • Hire designer: Pebble task (done)
  • Engage with friends, family, and colleagues for their input on initial designs: Pebble task (done)
  • Submit preference to the designer: Pebble ask
  • Review 2nd round submissions, review updates with the designer: Pebble task
  • Review 3rd round submissions, review updates with the designer: Pebble task

Create a new website: Boulder task

  • Decide on new website platform: Boulder task (done)
    • Review website options and costs: Pebble task (done)
    • Review website templates: Pebble task (done)
  • Determine if the website will be self-created or hire sub-contractor: Boulder task
    • Determine if I can do it myself: Pebble task
    • Determine if I can justify sub-contractor cost: Pebble task
    • Determine timeline availability of sub-contractor matches desired deliverable: Pebble task
  • Create website sitemap: Pebble task
  • Rewrite website pages: Pebble task
  • Choose images for the website: Pebble task

Market new company: Boulder task

  • Create marketing plan: Boulder task
    • Determine marketing target: Pebble task
    • Determine marketing vehicles: Pebble task
  • Order new business cards and note cards: Pebble task
  • Write a letter of introduction to clients and support base:  Pebble task
  • Solicit LinkedIn endorsements: Pebble task
  • Solicit Google My Business endorsements: Pebble task

I fid this to be a pretty daunting, and I’m certain incomplete, list.

The task of “Change business name and identity” is a boulder task.  I would never have been able to pick that boulder up all at one time. The boulder task was too big.  I needed to create many pebbles out of that boulder in order to be successful.

What boulder tasks are you avoiding because they are too daunting?

What could you get done if you broke that boulder into pebbles?

 

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

Looking for more information?

Click here for 15-minute organizing tips.

 

 

 

 

www.organizetosimplify.com

 

 

 

National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, Seattle Chapter Vice-President

 

 

 

International Coach Federation

 

 

 

 

Professional Resource Member

 

 

 

Coach Approach for Organizers

 

 

 

 

Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Level I Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization; ADD; Client Administration; Time Management; Mental Health; and Hoarding.

Level II Specialist Certificates earned in Chronic Disorganization and ADHD

 

 

Are you listening?

Yesterday was a day full of observation and personal enlightenment.

I listened to an Oprah SuperSoul podcast with Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee.    Although the entire podcast was extremely interesting, at 23 minutes in, the term “compassionate listening” comes up.  This was a new phrase to me, so it piqued my interest.

Thich Nhat Hanh revealed his communication mantras to support compassionate listening.

“I’m here for you.”  The most precious thing you can offer is your presence.

“I know you are there.”  Recognizing other’s presence reinforces your commitment to the communication process.

“I know you suffer.”  Acknowledgment of suffering or hurting reinforces listening.

“I suffer.  Please help me.”  Letting others know you are suffering will help reduce our own suffering and is an open request for compassion.

Although the mantras aren’t phrases I would say out loud, the concepts intrigued me so I decided to do an experiment on my own compassionate listening.

“I’m here for you.”

I talk to my 86-year old mother nearly every night.  The conversations are very similar so I find myself doing dishes, folding clothes, or checking my e-mail.  I’m certainly not listening with compassion.  Am I even hearing what she’s saying?  Am I here for her?

“I know you are there.”

I pick up my grandkids on Monday afternoons.  I love my time with them, but sometimes find myself reaching for the radio dial to catch up on the latest news.  What might I be missing if I don’t leave the space open for my 4-1/2-year-old grandson to engage with me about how many school busses we see on the way home? Do I show that I know they are there?

“I know you suffer.”

A friend called with a frustrating family situation.  Although I could sense the frustration involved a significant disconnect between perceptions, bringing that to her attention wasn’t what she needed. She just needed to be heard.  There may be another time to discuss perceptions, but at the time, she just needed to vent.  Acknowledging her frustration, acknowledged her suffering.

“I suffer.  Please help me.”

I can revisit many conversations where I have been angry or discouraged but didn’t want to open myself to the vulnerability of acknowledging my suffering.  How might I have benefitted from that openness?  How might others have been able to help me work through that anger or discouragement?

I invite you to be your own observer of your compassionate listening.  Better yet, invite someone you love and respect to observe for you.  What might you learn?  What might you gain?

Cindy Jobs, COC, ACC

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