Monday Morning Musings (8/12)

Doing What I Want Experiment: Week 2

Realizations from week 2:

24/7 self-improvement doesn’t work, or at least it doesn’t work for me. I’ve given myself permission to fall back on old habits occasionally if I’m feeling too vulnerable or uncertain. More on this in a future post because it feels important.

Convenience should not be a major deciding factor for fun activities. Fun or rewarding activities are worth investing extra effort in.

Being open to spontaneity is part of good decision making. “But I always . . .” and “But I never . . .”Β  thoughts are not.

Being nice to myself is a valid reason for making a decision. I don’t need further justification.

For minor decisions, I don’t have to make the absolute best possible choice, I just have to make a choice I’ll be happy with. It doesn’t matter whether the Mai Tai will make me fractionally happier than the Margarita or I like the blue sweater slightly more than the red one. If I’ll be happy with either choice, I can choose on a whim and be done with it. I don’t have to try to be more happy or as happy as is humanly possible as the result of a decision. Buying a sweater is not the same as buying a car.Β 

Regularly App

In response to the Procrastination or Executive Function Fail post, waggermama recommended the Android app Regularly for keeping track of repeating tasks that don’t have fixed calendar schedules. You know, those things you completely forget about until you suddenly find yourself wondering “when was the last time I . . .?” Some of the sample tasks the app offers are: replace toothbrush, clean car interior, change sheets and call mom. I’ve added things like change kitchen sponge, backup computer and replace Brita filter.

A few features that I really like:

  • If I didn’t get something done yesterday, today the task shows as “due today” rather than “overdue.”

  • Tasks are color coded based on how soon they’re due.

  • A log keeps track of when each task was done in the past, noting days early, days late or on schedule.

  • There’s a place to make notes about a task in the log.

  • The app will keep sending reminders on overdue tasks and you can control how often the reminders appear.

Guest Blogging?

The blog We Are Like Your Child (where I’m a co-moderator) is looking for guest posts. The mission statement from the blog’s Facebook page describes it as “a collaboration of Autistic (& occasionally, other disabled) adults. We discuss our difficulties & how we work with or around them from a neurodiversity & social model of disability perspective.” If you have something that might fit, check out the submission guidelines.

Books!

The first print copy of “I Think I Might be Autistic” arrived this week. Here is it on my bookshelf, next to the portable radio that my grandfather gave me in the mid-70s and the dayplanner I got back in 1992 after having a massive work-related Ican’tdoanythingright meltdown:

book

I should have the review copies in my hands this week, so if you’ve already said you’d like a review copy, I’ll be getting in touch soon. If anyone else is willing to write a review (at Amazon, on your blog, anywhere at all!) let me know in the comments or on my FB page, Twitter, etc. I’ll send you a real honest-to-goodness dead tree copy.

And I promise that’s the last you’ll book update you’ll have to put up with for a while.

49 thoughts on “Monday Morning Musings (8/12)”

  1. The last book update? But then where are you going to talk about all the wonderful reviews you’re going to be getting? πŸ™‚

    I really like your week 2 realisations. I might have to print these out and tape them to my bedroom wall so it’s the first thing I see in the morning. Good stuff.

  2. Oh, I’d love to review it on Amazon, if you’d have me!

    Also this: Being nice to myself is a valid reason for making a decision. I don’t need further justification.
    Really needed to hear that today after making a big decision because I know the other alternative is going to make me unhappy. Have been trying hard not to find OTHER reasons (and there are plenty!) in which to justify it!

    1. Absolutely! Thank you! I’ll get in touch with you to arrange getting a book to you.

      I have a lot of difficulty accepting that being nice to myself is a good reason for doing something, but I’m making a conscious effort to think so. It’s so strange how we wouldn’t think twice about that being a good reason for doing something for someone else (or encouraging them to do something for themselves).

  3. Am also happy to review (from NZ). Thanks for sharing your findings… I will look at the app and will give spontaneity a go too. I could see the happiness evaluation as something unhelpful and helpful, going to try and look at that.

    1. I’m happy to send you a copy! πŸ™‚ Thank you!

      I didn’t realize until just recently how hung up I get on trying to make minor decisions that will make me “more happy” which seem silly now that I think about it.

  4. Our thoughts and actions seem quite closely related, at times it feels like you wrote what I was thinking!! Decision making for me is one of the most difficult tasks. Although I’m quite use to not making decisions these days, so I no longer fret over it like I use to. When I read your initial post stating that you were taking on this challenge, I thought: “Hey, maybe I’ll do it, too…” Then I giggled at the stress that overtook me just thinking about the journey you were embarking upon. You are a strong woman and I applaud your doing this, so I will read it and do it vicariously through you (not really). I will invoke my decision-making abilities should I outlive my husband! LOL! Excellent post, as always, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    1. I have largely turned over decision-making to my husband but I think his “let’s have an experiment” was a not too subtle way of saying maybe I should give it a try now and then. πŸ˜€

  5. Eeeeee! And congratulations on your book – brilliant, if it’s anything like your posts I know it’s great! Sorry, I meant to say this above and forgot πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. “24/7 self improvement doesn’t work.” I agree. Even though I’m working on improving my social skills and being mentally prepared for communicating, some days I just can’t do it. And that’s fine.

  7. ” I’ve given myself permission to fall back on old habits occasionally if I’m feeling too vulnerable or uncertain. ” – I think this is really key for anyone who is trying to change their behaviour and/or thought patterns, otherwise it can become so stressful and end up being a negative thing. Which is so ridiculous and self-limiting. While I was thinking about this I got the image of the tide coming in, how the waves come in then recede, each time coming just a bit further forward. It ‘feels’ like a good way to approach things – and I get a sense of calm from the image and can hear the sound they make. Lovely soothing patterns! I’m really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this πŸ™‚

    Also, very many congratulations on having your actual physical book in hand! I would find being able to touch and stroke the actual ‘hard copy’ so much fun, and very exciting. I would love to review your book, but am also in NZ…. happy to cover costs, or if I’m too far down the queue and happy to wait and buy a hard copy from Amazon, so please let us know when they have them available – justifiable book talk πŸ™‚ Three five star reviews so far!!! Thanks heaps for all your work, I am so looking forward to reading it.

    1. I like your tide image a lot. A sort of gradual advancing and retreating then advancing some more is the perfect way of thinking of self-improvement/growth. It’s definitely nonlinear and trying to make it a relentless forward march is demoralizing.

      The reviews are exciting since they were spontaneously and very generously left by readers. πŸ™‚ I’m a little shy about asking for reviews, but I know it’s part of getting the word out about a new book so here I am. I’d be happy to send you a copy. It’s a slim book and not at all costly to mail so it’s no trouble. I’ll be in touch by email soon to collect addresses. Thank you for offering!

  8. i definitely agree that 24/7 self improvement doesn’t work…i’ve found that thinking this way just generates far too much stress and actually backfires more often than not. and it’s a tough situation, because my brain wants to leap ahead, very quickly “achieve” a self improvement goal, so the need for 24/7 striving is there and strong. but it just creates a very miserable head space. timing ends up being key, learning to pace yourself and maintain realistic goals. easier said than done, but so important.

    1. It’s very stressful to feel like you have to be “on” all the time and I’m so prone to type A thinking where I tell myself I need to be good at something right from the start. I’m trying to take a more relaxed approach to this and it feels good so far.

  9. Having been a keen observer of my Aspie daughter for a LONG time, the decision making component is one of her biggest struggles. Minor decisions can be agonizing! Always she questions “which is the ‘right’ decision? which is the ‘right’ choice? leading to a paralysis and inertia, All decisions have the same importance or priority! So it would be good for her to start letting go of the ‘minor’ decisions that pop up during her day πŸ™‚

    1. This will sound silly, but it wasn’t until I read “all decisions have the same priority” that I realized explicitly that this is what I do too. Now you’ve got me thinking about whether it would be helpful to categorize decisions by importance level to develop better strategies. Is that overdoing it? πŸ™‚

    1. There is an e-book! It’s available for all of the major readers (kindle, nook, idevices) so you should be able to find it by searching on the title wherever you usually buy your ebooks. And thank you! πŸ™‚

    1. Hmm and it just took three goes for it not to say ‘Sorry this comment could not be posted’ that time too. I wonder if this is because I set up a wordpress.com blog to go with the account I’ve been using for comments…

          1. I made it work by logging out and clearing my browser cache, then logging back in and giving up on ever trying to comment with my other (unregistered) name and email ever again. So not entirely sure if that solution works for everyone.

    2. Argh. I hate it when WP eats comments. So frustrating. I’ve been having troubles with posting replies from the little dropdown thingee at the top of the page. They appear to post and then I find days later that they haven’t.

      At any rate, I shall email you because yes, a review at amazon.co.uk would be terrific. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve never been too good with spontaneity. I can go with the flow (sudden change) when need be, but I much prefer making plans and sticking to them.
    “Convenience should not be a major deciding factor for fun activities.”
    I also agree that if a person puts in minimal effort, they’ll reap minimal benefits. It can be compared to making a meal. If a person is satisfied with the ease of opening a can of soup, or driving through a drive thru, they will be getting the low end for putting in a low amount of effort. Good things take time to achieve, and once the project is completed, the old cliche “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” kicks in.

    I like the radio from your grandfather you have displayed. I have several things that were from my grandparents. A watch and a clock that no longer work are among the things I have out.

    1. When I took that photo, I wondered if the radio still works or not. Maybe I need to open it up and see what kind of condition it’s in. I also have a small magnifying lens, some German paper money and a plastic four leaf clover pressed in a glass charm that my grandfather gave me. He died when I was quite young but I treasure the memories I have of him, especially of the giant container of coins that he had, which he encouraged me to go through on every visit. I was determined to find one not only from every year possible but from every mint for every year. And I was like 6 or 7 at the time . . .

      Thank you, that was a nice memory to revisit. πŸ™‚

      I absolutely agree with minimal effort reaps minimal rewards. Last week I decided that I wanted to go to a particular restaurant because they make the best fried rice I’ve ever had. My husband mentioned that it would a long drive made longer by Friday rush hour traffic. At first I considered going somewhere closer but then I realized that what I wanted was very specific and choosing something convenient would be as unfulfilling as simply staying home.

  11. “For minor decisions, I don’t have to make the absolute best possible choice, I just have to make a choice I’ll be happy with. It doesn’t matter whether the Mai Tai will make me fractionally happier than the Margarita or I like the blue sweater slightly more than the red one. If I’ll be happy with either choice, I can choose on a whim and be done with it. I don’t have to try to be more happy or as happy as is humanly possible as the result of a decision. Buying a sweater is not the same as buying a car.”

    I have major issues with making decisions. I had to go food shopping yesterday and I was terrified of the overwhelming level of choice I was about to face. Having this paragraph (or, at least, a poorly remembered, paraphrased version of it) in my head while I walked around the supermaket helped me feel ok. Thank you so much for that.

    1. Yay! I’m so glad it helped reduce your shopping angst. πŸ™‚ That was a huge realization for me because I get so hung up on making the best decision about every little thing and this feels like a logical way to start letting go of that frustrating habit.

  12. Your example of red is fine, and so is blue, gave me pause, for so often I dither forever over this kind of choice. It is really accepting to be satisfied, not perfect(ly). And then the bit about priorities came up in Comments: these I cannot deal with, ie, how do you find a basis for rating B over A or C? in so many arenas of life? So many I feel do not come to be real in my mind. They’re abstractions only. “Choose the Best” gives me no clue. So what is it that others can think about that gives them ideas of priority? How do they know these?

    1. I’m clueless. I think it may be more a matter of feeling satisfied–or the ability to convince yourself that you’re satisfied–than objective “bestness”. I guess what I’m saying is, maybe it’s an illusion much of the time?

        1. Thank you. I made an extra special effort! You should have seen how many notes I turned into scrap paper because mid-sentence something went wrong and I was left with the choice of scratching things out or looking like I don’t know how to spell. πŸ™‚

  13. I know you know how to spell because I read your blog. πŸ˜›

    Beautiful example of how hard we are on ourselves, sometimes! But I really appreciate all the effort, nevertheless. Is that sending the wrong message?

  14. I would love to read your book and write a review of it if you still need reviewers. Hubby and I have just recently found out that he very likely has Asperger’s (no official diagnosis but it fits him to a T) so I’ve been doing all sorts of reading and research to get a better handle on what we’re dealing with. Just found your blog today in my quest for information.

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