Check out all the recycling I put out this past week—loads of old papers and magazines! I cleaned all this out of my home office, where, along with a very few useful items, it had cluttered the floor and blocked access to the window since about 2005, judging from all the kindergarten newsletters.
But I didn’t accomplish this task alone. I had help from a volunteer nonprofessional organizer—my mom, here for a Thanksgiving visit. Thanks, Mom!
It reminded me how helpful it can be to work with someone else. Having my mom here helped even when she was just listening to me ruminate about whether to keep my old alumni magazines or five-year-old bank statements or that picture my daughter drew of a rose bending over “because the cheetah is chasing the zebra at 70 miles an hour.” It helped even when my mom was just sitting in the room with me as I worked quietly.
There’s a term for this in ADD circles: body double—a person who hangs out with you while you work on an agreed-upon task. “The body double,” writes coach and former ADDA president Linda S. Anderson, “serves as a physical and emotional anchor for the distracted individual who feels more centered by the presence of another person in their space.” The body double doesn’t have to do anything except be in the room with you—and perhaps pay enough attention to notice if you wander off task.
I’ve realized that my ten-year-old daughter and I serve as body doubles for each other when she does homework at the dining room table in the evening while I do the dishes. But I’m thinking I could use more body-double activity in my life. Writing dates at a tea house? Decluttering sessions with a friend? How about a webcam setup for remote body-doubling? (Mom?)
Well, in the hopes that my daughter and I will act as body doubles for each other as she gets into middle school and high school, I plan to set up a desk for her here in what will become our home office. In fact, a year or so ago, I found the perfect desk for her at the used furniture store. It’s still sitting on its end in the garage, though, right where I tipped it out of the car. No room for a desk in here—until now, with a little help from a great body double!
Checking in about my stairs (watch the three videos in the previous post to appreciate this video):
A little at a time can be good. But sometimes it helps me to make an event out of a job. Once, my daughter and I surprised my then husband by cleaning out and decorating his home office when he was out of town—sort of a "While You Were Out" kind of thing. (The room was full of family junk; we didn't touch his papers!) He came home to a neat room with a futon couch, bird post cards on the walls, and arwork by our daughter hanging from the ceiling by ribbons. Making an event out of a decluttering job adds a little excitement and maybe a deadline to the task.
Another thing I do sometimes when I have a hard task to take care of—usually one I'm nervous about—is to sandwich it. I call a supportive friend before doing the job, processing whatever I need to, and then I check in with the same friend afterward. And that's what I just did with all of you! Thanks!
I'm happy with the valentine I gave myself, not to mention with the huge valentine my daughter made me! Hope you've had a wonderful day as well.
On the Valentine's Day theme, you can always check out the FlyLady if you need a little help "finally loving yourself"! (That's what the "fly" part stands for.)
One day I found the list I’d made of baby gifts people had given us when our daughter was born. I’d lost it in some pile. By that time I was fully recovered from the cesarean, and nursing wasn’t so painful anymore. And I was something like halfway through writing the thank-you notes.
I figured I should easily be able to send a sincere and specific note off to my cousin that day, since I’d written “Cute Outfit!!!” on the list, underlining the words several times. But I couldn’t for the life of me remember which cute outfit it was. I wrote a note to someone else instead. And the identity of the article of clothing remained a mystery for months.
Until, one day, I cleaned off the warped card table we were using for a desk. By that time, I was pretty sure I’d heard my daughter say “Hi, Dada!” a couple times. The piles on the table had shuffled themselves into one big mess. And there—buried in paperwork, of all things—was the cute outfit.
No wonder I had waxed so enthusiastic on the list; I loved the outfit. There was just one little problem. My daughter had already outgrown it.
She can now roller-skate and is a big Hannah Montana fan. I never did finish writing all those thank-you notes. But I’m certain the list is still somewhere in the house.
Links to Online Guided Meditations Research suggests that meditation might help address the symptoms of ADD (and a lot of other conditions). But if you have ADD, you might find it hard to meditate. I compiled this list of online guided meditations. See if they help!