Drawing Strength

My title is a pun. Or maybe a play on words. I get those things tangled sometimes.

Since I always have so much going on in September, I tend to lose time and find myself dumped unceremoniously into October before I even realize it.

Then, of course, we get into birthday season (I swear, half the people I know were born in October or November) and then I find myself bewildered in December wondering how I got there.

I’m taking a couple of measures to make sure that September goes a bit more slowly this year. I’m basically putting some time ‘anchors’ in my day so I notice that time is passing and one day doesn’t spill into the next.

One of those anchors is the yoga I was talking about in my last post. Another, is a drawing project about an octopus.

Every day, I have been drawing a little ‘note to self’ in the form of a quick sketch of an octopus named Octavia who is learning to take better care of herself.

It might be twee but I’ve never let that stop me before. AND, besides, drawing octopi is fun.

I set some rules for myself – a quick sketch in pencil, not very detailed, minimal erasing, and while I can go back after this month and correct errors, for right now, I am just leaving the drawing however it landed in the first place.

See?



a pencil drawing on white paper depicts an octopus holding a scroll. The text above reads 'Octavia has decided two things about her to do list 1) She needs to delegate 2) It's okay not to get everything done today.

Keeping Yoga in Mind

I’ve been doing yoga every day for 10 days now since I decided that September is for yoga.

I’m really enjoying the daily practice and I love how much ease I can feel in my body already.

Those things are to be expected really, even though, somehow, the fact that exercises makes my body feel good surprises me every time.*

The thing that has really surprised me though is how this daily practice has made yoga more available to me all the time.

Now when my shoulders feel tight or if my hips are wonky, it occurs to me to do a few yoga poses to help find ease.

Usually, I might try a quick stretch but I don’t do it with the deliberate breaths and movement that I associate with yoga.

And usually I wouldn’t think to do yoga or yoga-like movements because they weren’t part of a longer or ‘proper’ practice.

But once I have done yoga in the morning, it now stays top-of-mind and available to me to use all day. It has become ‘OK’ to do just one pose at a time.

Obviously, it was always ‘OK’ but now my mind is reminding me that yoga is available to me. So instead of my brain saying ‘You don’t have time for yoga.’ it says ‘Why not try some cat-cow?’

And that is marvellous!

A white index card with a black ink drawing. The text reads ‘Day 10’ and there are ten small spiky monsters with long stripy legs drawn all over the cars surrounding the words.

Another yoga bonus, I’ve been making a little monster drawing to celebrate each day for my online yoga group.

*My ADHD-related challenges with task initiation always make it seem like exercise is going to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Drawn to Data

Much like that famous quote about hating to write but loving having written, I love to have data about my life but I hate recording it.

I think it’s fun to look back on lists and charts of things I’ve done, books I’ve read, tea that I’ve tried and see how I got from there to here.

I’ve tried all kinds of spreadsheets and charts and the like but I always stop keeping track.

My ADHD brain gets twitchy about getting so detailed and I get bored with recording the info*.

Or at least I have up until now.

I’m currently working my way through a cool book by Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec and I think that DRAWING my data might be just be quirky enough to keep me coming back to it.

A light blue book with the title 'Observe, Collect, Draw! A visual journal' on the cover in a font that looks hand printed. There are coloured drawing pencils depicted at the bottom and various symbols and shapes all over the front cover.

What does it mean to draw your data?

Have fun with this ‘data selfie’ exercise by Giorgia Lupi and see what I mean.

https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-draw-your-own-selfie-using-your-personal-data/

Here’s what my ‘selfie’ looks like:

A white sheet of paper sits above a computer keyboard. The paper is covered in lines and shapes in various colours representing different data, for example, there is a red right angle triangle that slopes to the left at the base of the photo indicating that the author is an optimist.

Looks just like me, hey?

*Especially if it is in a spreadsheet – those things hate me.

Planning to Relax

I often read about how people love to have an unscheduled day. 

I understand why that is appealing – the freedom, the lack of restrictions on your time – but the idea is a bit scary for me. 

It’s not that I can’t envision a day without work, I am excellent at taking time off.

The problem is that if I don’t make a rough plan or a short list, my brain won’t turn off. 

I guess that’s one of the ‘features’ of my ADHD.

I almost always have the feeling that I *should* be doing something else. That makes it hard to relax into my art or into my book or to just sit around chatting. 

So, the only way to counter that is to plan what I am ‘supposed’ to be doing. 

On a leisurely day, that might look like ‘brainstorm story ideas until 11, have tea, doodle until 11:30, get some lunch, go for a walk at 1.’ 

It feels kind of odd to make a schedule for a day off but it gives me the comfort of knowing that I haven’t forgotten anything and I am doing what I am ‘supposed’ to be doing. 

Perhaps your brain requires you not to have a list/schedule in order to relax but my brain relaxes BECAUSE I have a list.

So, even on my restful Sunday morning* I like to have a plan. 

The author’s iPad sits on a white table on a patio, there is a tall glass of blue tea in the background and there are notebooks and a pencil case nearby. There is a pot of flowers on the patio behind the table.

It’s not a sign of being uptight or a control freak (I may be both of those things but this isn’t evidence of it.) It’s not a sign of working too much. And it is definitely not a sign of not being able to take time off. 

It’s a sign that I know my brain and I know what I need in order to feel good about my time. 

And that doesn’t mean that I plan every second. I have a big chunk of time scheduled later for ‘hanging out,’ whatever that might mean in the moment. I’ll be able to ‘wing it’ because I know that’s what is on the agenda right then. It’s what I *should* be doing!

*That’s this post you can see on my iPad…oh and a reflection of me with my floppy hat.

Writing Practice

I always get annoyed when I see motivational posts about how people get things done when they ‘really’ want to do them.

You know the type of posts, the ones that say that what you get done is a measure of your priorities.

It’s not that there is no truth in that kind of statement but it’s not as simple as it seems.

Yes, how you spend your time shows what have ended up being your priority tasks but that doesn’t mean that those tasks are what you feel strongest about.

Instead, I see those tasks as the ones you feel capable of doing in the moment, or ones that you felt you couldn’t ignore. OR they may be the tasks that kind of fell into your schedule because you didn’t have the capacity to make a plan at the outset.

I wouldn’t want you to feel bad about what you ended up doing with your time.

I would just like you to have a little more room to CHOOSE next time.

And when I say *you* I also mean me.

I have ADHD and if I don’t have a very specific plan for my time, my priorities can go askew. So, the busier I get, the more likely it is that my tasks do not always reflect everything that is important to me. I get the most deadline-oriented priority tasks done, especially if other people are involved, but other important things get sidelined.

So, for example, a task like writing regularly for my blog(s) might fall off my list entirely*.

Not because it isn’t important but because I didn’t schedule it properly.

Now it’s back on my schedule and I am going to build the habit of writing here and on my Heart of the Story blog at least twice per week.

*I know I have come back to trying to establish this practice before but this time I have a clearer picture of what is going awry. I’m combining hope and good scheduling to address the issue. 🙂