Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Life Coaching with Tereasa Jones - Navigate the World of Relationships

Tereasa Jones

Procrastination

How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Focus

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In a fast-paced world with countless distractions and demands on our focus, mindfulness and meditation have gained popularity. The most basic principles of mindfulness are about living consciously and paying close attention to the present moment. Because mindfulness requires a special level of attention, it may seem challenging for a person with ADHD to practice this form of meditation. However, research has shown that mindfulness, when adapted for ADHD, can improve focus and concentration.

#1: Single-Tasking

With the demands of modern living, multitasking has become the norm for many people. Unfortunately, multitasking often does more harm than good, resulting in memory problems, excess stress, and increased distractibility. Practicing mindfulness demands single-tasking and asks practitioners to focus on one task at a time. Slowing down and eliminating multitasking can increase your focus and your productivity.

#2: Stress Reduction

Stress often escalates when people get overwhelmed by present demands and future fears. Mindfulness asks that your attention remain in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future, mindfulness brings your attention back to the present and allows you to focus on what’s in front of you. Mindfulness will help you redirect your thoughts away from future worries and anxieties so you can focus on the present. In addition, the improved focus you’ll get from single-tasking will help prevent you from getting overwhelmed and stressed by everything coming at you all at once.

#3: Improve Concentration

Other research has shown that mindfulness can help rewire your brain and create new neurological pathways. It has also been shown to increase grey matter in the brain, and that extra density can improve one’s overall psychological well-being. By rewiring your brain and creating new pathways through mindfulness and meditation, you’re helping yourself find new ways to cope with stress and handle tasks. This all means that you’ll be better equipped to deal with distractions, resulting in improved concentration.

At first, mindfulness may seem challenging. In fact, many new practitioners struggle with feeling that mindfulness has made them more distracted. This feeling is normal because mindfulness will initially draw attention to your propensity for distraction. Noticing your distractions is the first step in the process. With time, you’ll learn to recognize them and let them go so you can focus on the task at hand.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Watch for my group on planning that I will be rolling out sometime this summer.

NEED HELP? Set up a complimentary strategy session so we can talk about it HERE.

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Executive Functioning and Problem Solving

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There is no such thing as a problem-free life. I wish there was, but there just isn’t! That’s the first truth that we have to accept. When we are faced with a problem, we could always try to avoid it. But avoidance is actually counterproductive. The more we avoid the problem, the bigger it gets. We could try to give it to someone else, but that doesn’t usually work either. Why? Because it isn’t their problem, and the solution they come up with is their own, not ours. We could just make a quick decision and call it done. How many times I have done this, only to regret it later. So… what’s the solution to the problem of having problems?

Before we talk about solutions, let’s talk about why it can be difficult for those with ADHD to process them. The Executive Functioning center of the brain is where problem solving takes place. It is also an area of the brain that people with ADHD have difficulties with. After we acknowledge that the Executive Functioning center of the brain isn’t going to help very much, we can develop strategies to make sure that a person with ADHD doesn’t become so overwhelmed with solving their problems that they just give up trying.

Here are some of the roadblocks that I personally have when dealing with problems. Maybe you will see yourself in some of them:

#1: I haven’t clearly defined the problem. (I need to look under the hood)
#2: It seems like it will take too much time. (I stink at estimating time)
#3: There are too many possibilities or choices. (That overwhelming feeling is waiting in the shadows)
#4: Fear of making the wrong choice. (Consequences!? I’m not sure what they are yet, but I don’t want to have to pay them)

I could make the list longer, but I think you get the gist.

Let’s take a look at Roadblock #1: I haven’t clearly defined the problem.
If we aren’t careful, we could work and work to solve a problem that isn’t really a problem at all. Here is an example: One of my clients wanted to work on getting along better with her boss. She said the lines of communication between them was poor. We worked and worked on this problem, but made no headway. Finally, I asked her if she was sure that this was the right problem to be working on. She initially said that it was, but upon further discussion, it turned out that the real problem was that she didn’t want to work there at all. She really wanted to pursue her dream to become an interior designer. We were able to change course after correctly identifying the “real” problem and have worked out a plan for her to return to school (while still being employed) to get her credentials. Of course there are many more challenges she will need to overcome, but I have faith that she will be able to address them now that she has clearly defined the problem.

On to Roadblock #2: It seems like it will take too much time.
Being realistic about time is another issues that people with ADHD have. After clearly defining the problem, one of my favorite strategies to deal with this roadblock is to “chunk it down”. All this really means is that you list the steps that need to be taken. After listing all of the steps, you may have 5-10 more manageable “to-do” items on your list. Now you can get a grasp on how much time you think each one of the steps will take. Write down that number… and then double it. Yes, I said DOUBLE it. Knowing that correctly estimating times is a challenge, we should give ourselves a cushion. I can almost hear you now saying “But what if I finish before the time is up and have nothing left to do? I will be bored!” First, boredom won’t kill you, and secondly, always have something on hand that you can do should you find yourself with some extra time on your hands.

How about Roadblock #3: Too many choices or possibilities.
The biggest problem with this roadblock is that it often leads to either procrastination or paralysis. Either way, the decision isn’t being made. When you are confronted with a situation where you have many possible choices, it might be difficult to choose among them, even when the stakes are low and most of the choices would turn out fine. So, narrow your focus. Pick 3 or 4 of the possible choices and look at their pros and cons. Eliminate each choice one at a time until you only have one left. That’s the one! That is your choice. See, that isn’t so hard. I know, easy to say when you aren’t the one standing in the cracker aisle trying to make a decision about the right cracker for the occasion. Really, your guests probably won’t even notice!

Finally, there is Roadblock #4: Fear of making the wrong choice.
This is a first cousin of Roadblock #3, too many choices. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen if I make the wrong choice?” Usually the worst thing isn’t really all that bad. This is really based on a limiting belief that there is a “right” choice and a “wrong choice”, and you must choose the “right” one. Develop something you can say to yourself (a mantra) when this limiting belief threatens to derail you. An example might be. “There is no “right” or “wrong” choice, any choice I make will work just fine”. Find a mantra that resonates with you and work on it. But keep it short. Our subconscious loves it when we give it too much information. Gives it more to argue about!

Give these suggestions a try and see if they work for you.

If you would like some help with these, please contact me to set up a complimentary strategy session and we will see if working with me might help you!

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Minimalist or Simplicity, What’s the Difference?

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Everywhere you turn today, you see books, articles, and blog posts about simplifying your life, or the value of a minimalist lifestyle. Some might say that both phrases have been overused, and perhaps they would be right. But it’s the concepts, not the words, that I’m interested in. What you decide to call these concepts isn’t nearly as important as what you actually do with them.

When you decide to live a clutter-free life, I think it’s important to think about all the “stuff” you have, all the “stuff” you bring in, and all the “stuff” you can get rid of. If you are anything like most of us, you bring in a lot more stuff than you take out. This leads to massive amounts of clutter in your home. Today, many people rent at least one, or sometimes more, storage units, just to house their “stuff”. Their “stuff” has literally grown to the point where it can no longer be contained in their homes. Storage lockers might be great if you have a spare million or two lying around, but pretty expensive for the rest of us. So, what can we do to help get rid of some of our “stuff”?

For now, let’s think about this as living with less, but still having what you need and want. There are a lot of tips on how to clear your closet or organize your drawers, but I don’t think that’s what is needed here. I think what you need is a new way of thinking about your stuff. We are all consumers, that’s for sure. So, how do we stop all of this consumption? Why should we want to stop it? The bigger, perhaps more important question is “What will it mean for my life if I live with less, but still live with the things I love?”

I can share what it means to me as I downsize, declutter, and put the brakes on my consumption. It means I have:

  • More time with my family.
  • More space and time for hobbies.
  • More time to create.
  • A space that is pleasing to me, especially when I first get home. I can actually enjoy the beauty of my home, without the clutter.
  • More energy. It takes a lot of energy to tolerate clutter.
  • Less stress. Fewer choices to make leaves me free to spend more time enjoying things.

I guess you could say it all in four words: freedom, time, space, and energy. These are the things that I am learning I can have, if I just give up bringing more in, and spend more time taking things out!

How about you? What would it mean to you to declutter, simplify, minimize, and limit your consumption?

I’d love to hear about some of the things you do to streamline your life.  We learn by sharing with each other, so comment below and let’s start streamlining together. You can grab a copy of my new e-book “Living Life Intentionally with ADHD, Open the Door to Your Potential” here. I hope you find it helpful!

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Streamline Your Life with These 10 Clutter Hacks!

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Last week, we talked about mental clutter and how it can impact your daily life. This week, let’s talk about physical clutter. Learning how to managing physical clutter is a huge subject, but with some systems and structures, you can reclaim a sense of physical order in your life. Once it is under control, you will begin to notice that you are more relaxed and much less stressed when you are in your space. As an added bonus, I have a free clutter hack checklist that you can download at the end of the article to get you started!

To start, here are 10 clutter hacks that will streamline your life:

#1: Find a permanent home for the important things that you use on a daily basis. For instance, you could hang a key hook near your home’s doorway. This is where your keys will live from now on. Never let your keys leave your hand until they are hanging on that key hook. Keep your wallet or purse, phone, planner, umbrella, jacket, or anything else important near the key hook so you will easily be able to grab them on the way out of the door. If you have the space and the budget, a mud bench can work well for this purpose.

#2: Deal with your mail. Before the mail leaves your hand, deal with it. Do an instant sort by standing next to the trash and/or recycle bin and toss your junk mail. Don’t let it take up residence in a pile on your counter, desk, or table. If you find important mail, put it in a designated spot that you will go through once a week and take care of. If it is urgent, deal with it NOW. Not later.

#3: Keep projects and hobbies accessories together in bins or decorative boxes. Here, there are so many options for attractive storage that you can incorporate them into the décor of your home. Be sure to label them clearly to avoid the “out of sight, out of mind” tendency. Make sure that each family member has their own bin, just for their own miscellaneous stuff.

#4: Do a “race against time” when you need to do a quick clean up. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then hurry through the house, picking up as much clutter as you can. Remember that, while this will instantly improve the look of your space, you will still need to sort through the collected clutter at some point. This is a nice trick for when you only get 15 minutes notice before someone shows up at your door. This can actually become a fun game if you involve the whole family!

#5: Set an intention of 15 minutes every day to tidy up the places that are always a mess, such as your desk or a kitchen counter. Do this before you move forward with the rest of your day. It may take a week or more, but if you just stick with it, you will build a habit and it will get cleared. The only caveat here is that you must completely clear one area before moving on to another area. One step at a time.

#6: Live Clean. Set an intention that you will clean up as you go. If you use a bowl, a spoon, and a cup for breakfast, it goes straight into the dishwasher, not on the counter or in the sink. If you pull out 5 different outfit ideas to wear to school or work in the morning, re-hang or re-fold the items and put them away before leaving the area. (If you choose your outfit the night before, this problem could be eliminated altogether).

#7: Keep an empty container (maybe a box or sack) in your closet. When you find something that you don’t love, or doesn’t fit, or for some reason you don’t choose, put it in your container to donate. There are plenty of people who will be delighted to have these items. When the container is full, take it to your donation location of choice.

#8: Don’t buy more than you can use or more than you can store. If your pantry is small and storage space is scarce, buy only what you can comfortably store. If you buy more, the newer items might get piled on top of the older items, which won’t be discovered until well past the expiration date. This wastes money, time, and is unsightly.

#9: Keep travel items together. You may end up with duplicates of some things, but it will be worth it when you pack and arrive at your destination. Going on too many trips to Walmart after arriving at my destination taught me this one. Remember that cosmetics, medications, and some personal care items have expiration dates. These are the things that you should not store, but rather have them a checklist so that you can pack them as you go. Create a packing list. You can start it now, and add to it the next time you travel. I actually have two, one for road trips, and one if I am flying. Believe me when I say that I have a lot of comfort items that I like to take with me and flying doesn’t allow for some of them.

#10: Consider going digital with your reading. When purchasing a new book, see if there is a digital option and get the app to read it on your device. Magazines can be a huge clutter issue. I admit that I still like holding a magazine in my hands, but I am moving towards going digital as each subscription expires. The upside of going digital is that you have all your books, magazines, and reading material in the same place to take with you when you travel!

As always, baby steps. Even one small change today will make a big difference tomorrow.

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Streamline Your Life Using the Principle of Multiplicity

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One of my clients wrote a document that she calls the “Jones Principles”.  These are attitudes that she has learned throughout our coaching over the past several years.  One of the Jones Principles is the principle of multiplicity.  In other words, if you are going to put the work in, make it so that you will benefit from the it more than once. At the end of this article you will find a handy Jones Principles Checklist that you can download!

This principle really speaks to simplifying and streamlining your life. It can be applied to many facets and I will be talking about more of these in future blogs, but today I just want to introduce you to the concept.  One example would be when you are preparing a dish that may be time consuming, why not make two at once and put one in the freezer for later? This same client also mentions that when she shops for her son’s winter clothing, she purchases several pairs of identical gloves so that when he loses a glove, he has a replacement right away. It saves him from having to throw the other out and helps her son salvage gloves during the winter. Furthermore, it’s convenient for her because she doesn’t have to keep making trips to the mall to replenish them during the winter season.

Probably the most helpful streamlining thing I do however is making salad for the whole week.  I put the salad in 5-7-quart sized mason jars, and voila! Lunch is done for the week!  The ingredients for my salad include romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, red yellow or orange peppers, apples, strawberries walnuts and feta.  Bear in mind that the apples and avocados do turn a little bit brown, but it doesn’t affect the flavor at all.  If you want, you could toss them in with a little lemon juice before adding them to the jar to help them retain their color (but I think it changes the flavor).

Another thing I do with food is I make Quinoa cups for breakfast.  I make them in 1 cup ramekins with lids and freeze them.  When I make these, I make a lot!  My oldest daughter loves them so I prepare around three or four dozen at a time.  Doing so in advance ensures that healthy breakfasts to start the day are available right at our fingertips!

Remember to download the Jones Principles Checklist below to get started! 

I’d love to hear about some of the things you do to streamline your life.  We learn by sharing with each other, so comment below and let’s start streamlining together. You can grab a copy of my new e-book “Living Life Intentionally with ADHD, Open the Door to Your Potential” here. I hope you find it helpful!

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Procrastination – What’s so hard about this?

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procrastination 3 heather

Photo by Heather Buelow http://www.Flourishinthyme.com

 

Procrastination is something we all struggle with from time to time.  But for some people it is more of a lifestyle than just an occasional struggle.  Have you ever wondered why you don’t do that task that has been on your to do list for weeks or maybe even months?  Many times it seems like such an easy thing to do.  So…….why don’t you do it?

There isn’t one easy answer, but I have a few ideas that might help explain it and then hopefully you can develop strategies for overcoming it.

For example, on your to do list you have “make an appointment with the dentist”.  That shouldn’t be hard right?  Well, maybe it’s a little harder than you think.  When you call to make the appointment they will most likely be booked for several weeks.  How are you supposed to know if you will be free 6 Wednesdays from tomorrow at 3:00 pm?  They might also want updated information about insurance.  Where did you put that insurance card?  Is it in your wallet?  You are uncertain.  They will want to know what the problem is and which tooth it is.  “Third tooth from the eye tooth on the right side of your mouth,” you say.  That isn’t sufficient.  They will use language to describe the tooth that is like a foreign language to you.  How are you supposed to know the correct name and number of the tooth?  You aren’t a dentist!  You get the picture.  Bottom line here is that the reason this is hard is that the dentist will want information from you that you are uncertain about.  And so……..you procrastinate.

Another example might be “clean out my email inbox”.  Simple right?  Wrong.  About an hour into the task you realize that the half hour that you set aside to do this task is grossly insufficient.  Between deleting, moving to folders, reading, clicking on links and making decisions about each email, your time is up.  But you have barely gotten started.  And so…….you procrastinate.

Still another example might be to return the pie dish to the neighbor who was kind enough to bring you some pie last week.  That should be easy.  But you know if you go to her house she will invite you in.  Then you will have to make small talk.  She might even invite you to sit down and have a cold drink.  That could turn into an hour or more.  Yikes!  You don’t have that kind of time!  And so…….you procrastinate.

We could go on and on looking at your to do list and noting that the things that seem to be simple and easy aren’t so simple and easy.  You need a strategy.  Here’s what works for me.  I ask myself “what’s so hard about this task?”  The answer usually falls into one or more of the following categories.

  • Not enough time
  • Not knowing the answers to questions
  • Having to make decisions about time, space, etc.
  • Having limited information about what will be required of you.

After I identify what is so hard about the task I can generally come up with a strategy to overcome the obstacle.  If time is the problem, I can go to my calendar and block off time to do the task.  (Note: I usually double the time that I think it will take because I am not so good at estimating how much time things require).

If answers from me will be required I try to anticipate what the questions will be and have the answers ready.  If a question comes up that I don’t know the answer to I can say. “I’m not sure, but I will find out and either text, call, or email you”.  If decisions regarding time or space are needed I can anticipate this and make the decisions prior to starting the task (for example I might need to create folders to put my emails into or purchase additional office supplies, or create a space to put the finished project).

If I need information about what will be required from me I can simply ask.  Or, for instance, if I want to return the pie plate, but not risk getting pulled into something that might take more time I can say “I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to return your dish and thank you for the delicious pie.”  By saying this up front, I have created an out for myself if needed.

The takeaway from this post is that when things stay on your to do list and never seem to get done, it is most likely because the task seems hard to you even though on a conscious level you think it is easy.  So ask yourself “What’s so hard about this task”?  Then come up with strategies.  Sounds easy right?  Sometimes it is easy, sometimes not.  If you would like help with this give me a call.  I love coming up with strategies.  It will be fun!

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