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. 🙂

Where to start?

I’ve been doing all kinds of writing but somehow it never makes it to this blog.

So, let’s catch-up!

 

I did Story-a-Day May again this year. You can read my stories here

a pink and yellow background with a dancer in a long skirt and blue striped shirt drawn in ink. The dancer is holding the tail of her skirt in her right hand and her left arm is above her head. Her hair is in a low bun.

I deliberately chose not to make this dancer willowy. The dancers I know are a wide range of body types.

I decided to postpone my 3rd degree black belt test because it felt like a chore instead of a challenge. You can read about that here.

I have been doing a lot of freelance writing for community newspapers through NL.  You can see some of them here, here, and here.

And I am 196 days into a 365 day art project to draw something every day. You can see one of my drawings to the right. My goal with the drawings is to get closer and closer to conveying my ideas the way I want to convey them. Sometimes I get close, sometimes not so much. You can see more of my artwork on Instagram.

 

Best Laid Plans

So, on February 27, I broke my wrist at Taekwondo.

I was practicing sparring and in the process of evading a strike, my foot sort of stuck to the floor and I fell.* My wrist hit the floor and the rest is history.The author's right arm encased in a black brace. She is doing a 'thumbs up'. The background is an orange wall and a white windowsill.

It’s not a bad break, as breaks go. It’s a straight line and no piece of the bone cracked off. I had a temporary cast for almost a week and now I will be in a brace until at least April 16.

I’m lucky that I work from home and that my children are teenagers, so the volume of potential hassle has been reduced. I mean, I can’t drive, I can’t lift anything with that arm and my ability to do TKD is virtually zero** but I can type fairly quickly and I can draw (with reduced accuracy/precision).

I had to alter a lot of plans though – plans for projects, plans for exercise, ideas for reorganizing parts of my house. Frustrating, to say the least.

I didn’t want to spend this time thinking about all the stuff I *couldn’t do, though, so I decided to consider the next few weeks as an experiment.  And I don’t mean that in a chirpy ‘Let’s think POSITIVE!’ way.

You see, one of the main challenges I face when trying to get things done is the sheer array of choices in front of me.  Say, for fitness, my mind reels from idea to idea, wondering what is the ‘best’ way to get where I want to end up. So, now that some choices are out of the question, I can focus a little more easily. I can look for the things I *can* do instead of bemoaning the things that I cannot.

So, I am experimenting. What kind of exercises *can* I do? What kind of writing/drawing is easiest? What household tasks are still possible?

Let’s see how this goes. 🙂

 

*This may be a VERY martial artist type thing to say but I am glad that it came from me falling instead of my opponent’s strike. I wouldn’t want to turn someone off sparring because someone got hurt.

**I’m not supposed to turn my wrist, I can’t put any weight on it, and I am not supposed to do anything that might make me lose my balance. That cuts out a lot of TKD practice.

Thinking about Questions

I studied Anthropology/Archaeology in University and I have found it enormously helpful in understanding the world around me.

Among other things, Anthropology gave me a good understanding that the person who decides what questions can be asked (in a conversation, in research, in any specific context), has a lot of control of the outcome of a given situation. Good questions expand people’s thinking, encourage them to make new connections, and they open the narrative.

Narrow questions limit the answers you can receive and they can negatively influence how people perceive their situation.

I have come up against this in many contexts – and I often bring it up when I am telling stories – but my most recent example was when I downloaded an intriguing fitness app because of an Instagram ad.

Wait! How is a fitness app affected by questions?

You can find out in my latest ‘Fit is a Feminist Issue’ post ‘Let Me Set My Own Goals ThankYouVeryMuch’