I took time out over the weekend to focus in on getting some things done that have been hanging over my head for quite some time. I had an idea that needed to be developed, and so I developed it. I cleared everything else off my creative plate, pretty much, and I just worked on That One Thing.
And as it turned out, it was a very productive time. I really got a lot done.
I didn’t hash through all the other millions of things in my mind, which I also want to do. I focused on That One Thing.
Plus, when I wasn’t working, I did the other things that I need to do regularly — I got my naps, I did my morning workouts, I got some acupuncture, I went for a couple of hikes and long walks down the road, and I made some good meals.
And I got ‘er done.
Which is great, because I have a tendency to start things and not follow through. That’s gotta change, I know. I’ve been able to sorta kinda mozy along, jumping from one distraction/interruption to another, and piecing it all together bit by bit as part of a “flow”.
The thing is, “flow” for me is more about my pesky lack of resistance to short-term interference. This can happen when you get hit in the head a lot – like I have been. You get distractable and can’t sustain attention. Your mind knows it wants to focus on one thing at a time, but your brain just ain’t feelin’ it. It’s not just that it ain’t feelin’ it — it’s literally incapable of dealing with it. It just can’t.
My own resistance to short-term interference is almost in the single-digit percentile. It’s really, really bad. As in, 90″ of the people in the world are better at resisting disruption from interference, than I am. It’s not that I don’t want to — I do. It’s just that the wiring in my brain has gotten a bit frayed from all those concussions / mild TBIs, and it doesn’t light up as well as it might otherwise.
So, what’s the solution? Clearly, I need to come up with some approach that lets me function. I can’t go through life jumping from one thing to the next.
And this past weekend, I made some headway on things.
By realizing — after looking at my List O’ Things To Do — that I was never going to make progress, if I kept letting one thing trump another. I just needed to buckle down, make some choices, and Do That One Thing.
As purely as I could.
So, I did. And today I have an actual finished project under my belt.
All the excitement of last weekend is finally chilling out.
I’ve talked before about how I’m just not interested in things that used to fascinate me.
I’m actually interested in a whole lot more things. And the weird thing about how my brain works now, is that I’ll completely forget the things that I’m fascinated with, and what I can do to explore them.
I think I need to make a list.
And even more importantly, I need to stick to it.
I have been really, really impulsive for the past month or so. I think the talks with doctors get to me. I went to see a physiatrist yesterday to help me with my neck and back, and possibly with my headaches. They were really good, professional, and they ordered x-rays and referred me to a physical therapist of my choosing.
I have another neuro appointment coming up next week, and I’m a little nervous that I’m not going to handle that right. The last visit was okay, it was just overwhelming talking about my issues with a brand new person. The next time will be better, I’m sure.
When I’m nervous, I have all kinds of “great” ideas that I want to rush into right away. A lot of them are really good, it’s just not the time, yet. And by getting caught up in the new ideas, the existing ideas fall away.
But I’m so caught up in the new ideas, I don’t feel the need to think about them. The old ideas seem boring to me. No spark. No excitement. No motivation.
That’s what’s happened to me. I had a flurry of activity, this past weekend, and I actually did some decent things. I just didn’t do the things I was intending to do. And that’s no good. I lost a lot of time AND I didn’t exercise the way I usually do, so my system feels more off. And I’m having more headaches.
I seem to be calming down, now, for some reason. I think I just got to a point where I realized ALL THIS STUFF IS NOT GOING TO GET DONE, UNLESS I MAKE SOME CHOICES. I can’t just have it all hanging around. I need to clear some of this stuff out.
So, it’s back to basics. I’m digging out my old list of projects and picking things to work on. I have five things “in rotation” right now, which means I can do one thing each day of the week for the next three months, and get them all done.
And leave my weekends open to just enjoy myself. Unwind. Kick back. Relax, already. Just relax.
One of the common problems after TBI/Concussion, is fatigue.
It can be a killer… especially because we can become fatigued from (over)doing things we really love and that make us happy.
When our brains become fatigued, they become more distractable. And when we are more distractable, we can end up expending valuable energy in many different directions.
Which means the limited energy we have is further dissipated. And that’s no good.
That’s where I am right now. Really tired out from four very intense days. I thought today would be easier, but it was actually packed full, with a lot going on. And now I am beat. One of the projects I was on at work got presented to senior leadership, and the president and CEO of the company was there — and liked it very much. My team members really got some good time with the Pres/CEO. I was worn out and couldn’t stay, but I’m glad the rest of them got to hang out with the top brass.
Anyway, I’m winding down, now, feeling pretty good about this week overall. I’m really excited because a project I started back in 1999, that has gone through many different iterations, is coming around again in a big and beneficial way. It’s pretty exciting, to tell the truth, and I’m diving back into it with more realism and fervor than ever before. Not only do I have more energy, but it’s much better educated and better organized than ever.
It’s very exciting.
And I need to pace myself so that I don’t burn out. I need to take things very steadily, very systematically, and not let things flare wildly out of control. I can so easily let myself get carried away by all the excitement, that I wear myself down and end up wrecking my progress. And then I’m worse off than before.
And then I get down on myself.
And then I end up even worse off than back at Square One.
Let’s not do that again, shall we?
So, my path is clear. I know what I want to be when I grow up — at least for the next few years. And I can relax now. I’m both excited and relieved. I can see a way out of my malaise and morass.
Laser in, work it out, rest up, and repeat.
But first, a good dinner and a full night’s sleep.
Just a shout out to the network spinal analysis chiropractors — this stuff works. I’ve been seeing a new network chiro for about a month, now, and the change in my system is noticeable — and incredible.
I’ve done this before — a number of years back, I was going 2 – 3 times a week,and it really helped me get my system out of chronic fight-flight mode. Then my company movedthe office,and it wasn’t possible for me to make that drive all the time, so I stopped. To be honest, I was also irritated by the spouse of the networker — so that put me off, too. For some reason, all the husband-wife networking teams I’ve encountered (all two of them) have had one good spouse and one pain in the ass. Doesn’t matter which gender — one is level-headed and personable, and the other is needy, pushy, and friggin’ annoying.
I’ve actually left two different networking practices because of “bad egg” spouse issues. But this new one isn’t in business with their spouse, so that makes it eaiser.
So, it’s been going well. Really well. My level of fight-flight stress has gone way down, and my body is remembering what it learned before. I really did make great progress with my prior chiro, I just couldn’t do the drive.
One of the net results of getting out of sympathetic bias, is that I’m less drivento do so much all the time. I tend to put a lot on my plate to keep myself engaged and on edge. It sharpens my senses and makes me feel alive. But it also does a number on my autonomic nervous system — my nervous system in general.
Now that I’m more out of fight-flight mode, I don’t have that same urgency, that same drive. And it feels pretty good. I can relax and actually enjoy myself. And take naps when I need them.
I’ve also been reprioritizing my activities and projects. Spending more time thinking about things, instead of blindly doing. Just sitting down to think things through. Or go out for a long walk to make sense of things.
And being less on-edge with people and situations, so I can pay attention and be part of the conversation and actually get closer to saying what I mean.
That’s always helpful.
Anyway, I have another unstructured day to do as I please. I took a long, long walk, first thing this morning, and now I’m back for my second breakfast and some reading and sketching out some of the ideas I had while I was walking… And before I left… And after I got back.
The pressure’s off. And I may just lie down for a nap before too terribly long. It’s all wide open, right now, and that’s a pretty incredible feeling.
I’ve been really sick, this week. Not flu, but a really bad cold that has wiped me out. It’s been a few years, since I was this sick, which I suppose is good. But I am also out of practice with dealing with this crap, and that makes it even more annoying.
I got some OTC meds and the first batch I got had pseudoephedrine in it.
They really sent me for a loop — good-bye impulse control! I was running around, talking a mile a minute, ranting over every little thing, and I could hardly sit still. I was probably pretty interesting to watch at work, and I did have a LOT of energy, but My God, it was a little much.
Regular Sudafed makes me nuts, and I thought I could get away with the generic brand. But this had the stuff in it that makes me crazy, so I went back to the store and got myself something without pseudoephedrine, and all was well, yesterday.
I’ve been drinking a lot of that Airborn stuff — generic bargain brand, again, and that seems to make the biggest difference. Whatever they put in that stuff makes me instantly feel better. So, I need to use my noggin and drink plenty of it — also, preferably before I get sick in the first place.
Anyway, I have three days off work, and that will give me a chance to finish up a couple of projects — one for a friend I’ve been helping, one for my house, which needs more than an hour of TLC, and one for me, which has been hanging over my head for some time, now. I can finally get it done, and I’m pretty excited to see that one off my plate, so to speak.
… and before you know it, it’s taken over your life. That seems to be where I end up a lot. Maybe it’s my impulse control issues cropping up again.Maybe it’s my tendency to get consumed by what I’m working on.Maybe it’s that the “simple” favors end up being quite complex because A) I have to work harder at them to get them done, and B) I find all sorts of things that need to be fixed along the way, and being the perfectionist I am — actually, no, I just want to get it done right — it’s got to get taken care of.
This doesn’t just happen with favors. It also happens with my own projects. I start out with a simple idea,and before you know it, I’ve complicated things beyond recognition, and I build out a whole life-altering drama around a simple project I started because “it seems like fun”. Again, I find additional things to focus on (all of which seem quite important) and everything balloons into something incredibly huge and complex.
In both cases, I tired myself out,and then I make sloppy mistakes and have to double back and try again, thus spending about twice the mount of time I originally intended to spend on it.
The irritating thing is,I don’t realize it until much farther down the line, when I have used up a lot of time and energy. As they say in Peanuts… Arrrrrrggggghhhhhh! It’s so frustrating. Especially when I get tired and I mess up other people’s stuff. Fatigue is such a Pain In The Ass. It turns me into an idiot — and I don’t realize it until much farther down the line.
In the end, though, I do these things, and they help other people. And it’s good practice for me. It’s no good, hiding away and not doing anything, because of fatigue. I just have to work through it, and learn from each time.
So, I’m trying to wrap up a project I’m working on for a friend. And I’m trying to wrap up TBI S.O.S., which actually does need to be “built out” a lot more than it is. I’ve got a lot of it written, which is great. But there’s a bunch of stuff that’s hidden inside that I need to sort out. and I have a feeling that when I start digging into it again (after a 2 month hiatus), it’s going to stir up a bunch of “stuff” with me.
Which is probably why I have taken a break from it for this long. Yes, I have some other projects I’m working on which have pulled me away for very good reason. But I’ve also been really struggling with some of the things I talk about, and it’s not always easy for me to function well, when I’m emotionally upset. And that’s even more emotionally upsetting for me, which turns the whole thing into a downward spiral that’s both mentally taxing and physically exhausting. When I get upset, I tend to get UPSET, complete with an internal storm (which may not be immediately visible from the outside) that throws me off for days.
When I’m “emotionally hungover” as some of my friends call it, I feel marginal for days. I have a hard time thinking and handling basic things, and I feel like I’m in a haze. It’s no good, when you have to really function at a very high level on a regular basis. Having a history of solid achievement in my professional life is a double-edged sword, which makes life … interesting, shall we say.
On the one hand, it puts me in an enviable position at work, where people look to me and rely on me for support and strength and reasonableness. In the midst of the madness, I project a demeanor of calm, cool, collected level-headedness, and people confide in me, at all levels. I’m discreet, so they know they can talk to me without it getting out to everyone.
On the other, it makes it all but impossible for me to be able to “slack off” (or even adjust my pace) in my life, to catch up with myself. Sometimes I just need to adjust — so I don’t wipe myself out and plunge into abject misery — but I really can’t back off my level of effort and my facade at work (and at home and in the world at large), because people are depending on me, and they need me to be something I can only be under ideal conditions.
The rest of the time, I’m faking it. Which is great for others, but really a pain in the ass for me… and ultimately for others, when I get tired and start to make stupid mistakes.
And then comes the scramble to adjust for those stupid mistakes and do damage control
Which, again, is tiring. And takes more of the energy from me that I need.
And all the world gets dim and grey and a lot more taxing than it should/could be.
And the inside of my head and world nudges a little closer to the edge of that abyss I spend so much time trying to avoid.
But nobody really knows or believes the extent of my efforts. So, it must all be easy for me, and I must be perfectly fine and have all this extra energy and surplus.
God, just thinking about how wrong that is, makes me tired. So I’m going to turn my attention — and the energy from all my frustrations — to writing some more. Doing something productive. Doing something meaningful for myself and for others. My hope is that I can get this book finished in the next couple of months, and then I can publish it and send it out to providers who think they know about how to address TBI, but aren’t factoring in the Sense-Of-Self issues. In all my reading and video watching and talking to my own neuropsychologist, I have not heard much reality-based talk about the effect that personal experiences with TBI has on prognosis of recovery and outcomes.
It’s not that people are idiots (well, some are, of course). It’s that they’re looking in the wrong place. And because folks with TBI are notoriously challenged at A) self-awareness, and B) articulation, what our experience is actually like, and how it affects the trajectory of our recovery, falls between the cracks and is lost — never to be found. Of course, you can’t look for something that you don’t know is there.
But I’m here to say that personal experience (or phenomenological influences, if you will) CAN and DOES have an enormous impact on recovery from TBI. And when you have providers who have not experienced it themselves, well then, my friends, we have a problem.
I’m having a great Saturday, so far. I woke up early and got some work done on a project I’m helping some people with. It’s been a really good experience for me,because I’vebeen thinking about offering this service to people for a fee. Now that I’ve been through the process, however, I’m not sure I want to spend a lot of time doing this sort of work. It’s a little tedious, and it involves a lot of sitting, which is not that great for me — and is actually what I’m trying to get away from.
So, it’s good that I’ve gone through this exercise. It’s giving me more information to work with — so I don’t waste time on things I don’t really want to do.
On the bright side, I have been really good about not spreading myself too thin, so I can finish one thing before I start another. This is a big change for me. Massive, in fact. In the past, being scattered and not able to focus on one thing at a time cost me a lot. It kept me from moving forward, and I was always getting down on myself for being such a loser and never being able to complete anything. Now that I have been actively working on my focus, and I have more confidence that I can actually complete things I start — and I know how to say NO to things that distract me — I’m able to follow through, and it’s pretty awesome.
After I do some work around the house today, I’ll have my nap and then sit down to make more progress. It really feels fantastic, I have to say.
So, the day is shaping up nicely. I got a lot of chores done last week, so I don’t have to do a lot of little things today. I have a handful of big, important things that absolutely need to get done.
I had a pretty very good weekend. Had a headache yesterday, but it seems to have gone away and is not bothering me right now.
That’s fine. If it were still here, it would be fine, too. Just a distraction, but one I can keep out of my main focus, by using my noggin properly. Zeroing in on what I want to think about, not the constant intrusions from all around me.
The best thing about this past weekend, is that I made a lot of progress, but now I’m not terribly pained about it being over. I’m still making progress with my projects and interests and studies. My days are all pretty much blending together, as I develop a good routine each day to make progress on the things that matter most to me.
I spent a lot of time, actually, getting clear about what I do NOT want to spend a lot of time on. I’ve made lists of my projects over the past several weekends, and I have sorted and prioritized what I want to work on. And I see that I have been distracting myself by getting sidetracked on things that don’t actually help me finish what I’ve started.
So, I have taken a bunch of things off my list of “must do” pastimes, and I’ve turned them into rewards for finishing the things I’ve started. There are a couple of projects I am very eager to start, but they are keeping me from completing what I have already started. So I am treating them like rewards for finishing what I’m doing now. It’s doing wonders for my motivation. Really wanting to move on to the other things is getting my butt in gear to finish what I’ve already started.
I’ve also found some really good books to read. And listen to. I signed up for Scribd, which now has audiobooks included in the subscription. It costs $49/year, which is about $4/month. I can afford that. And what I get out of it is worth far more than $4/month. I’m listening to Sir Richard Branson’s memoirs — he talks about the mistakes he made as a kid, and also not doing well in school, thanks to dyslexia and what would probably be considered ADD. It really is inspiring, and he offers some great tips on what makes a person great — and effective.
Things like being generous. And taking copious notes (by hand). Asking a lot of questions. Being engaged.
Sounds good to me.
Anyway, it’s Monday, and I have an early meeting at the office. Hello and good morning to all.
Okay, this is promising. Since my week+ off, I have been seriously thinking about how I organize my time and do the things that I want to do. I’ve been taking a close look at how I do things… how I hope… how I dream. And I have had some really useful insights.
In the past couple of years, I started a new company. I had an idea for an invention, and I went through the whole process of documenting it and filing provisional patent papers, building a website, selling a few working prototypes, and trying to get it off the ground. It was a good idea, I thought. I still do think so. But this past year, I have let it slide. I couldn’t figure out why that was. It was/is a good idea. Why not make it work?
The thing is, I have realized that I actually don’t want to be in the manufacturing business. That’s what it boils down to – manufacturing. And as much as I want to see my country be able to revitalize the manufacturing sector and give good jobs to Americans, I don’t want to be one of the people doing it. In fact, I really dislike manufacturing, as well as creating all kinds of new stuff for people to buy and sell. I’m much more of an ideas person.
Of course, I’ve always been involved in production of some kind or another, over the course of my life. I’ve worked in greenhouses and factories, and I’ve been involved in website production for decades. It’s been my bread and butter… the thing that kept me afloat over the years, making so much possible.
So, of course I think of how to do more production — this time under my own chosen circumstances — when I think of creating a new business. But when I get down to it, and I really start to do that handiwork, it occurs to me that my time is much better spent thinking and creating ideas, rather than physical things. And my abilities and knowledge are put to much better use, when I focus on putting them out there, rather than doing them in the background, while I trade my time and energy for money.
One of the things that’s always held me back, is the fact that I don’t have a college degree. I went for 4 years, but I couldn’t finish on time — for a number of reasons. And then I got busy, my life got exciting, I got hurt a bunch of times, and being as tired and as hurt as I was, finishing my degree just didn’t seem like it was within reach. I also got sick and tired of all the academic crap, and I just wanted to make money and live my life.
Nowadays, having a degree is almost a requirement. I can slip by, given my life and work experience, but it’s getting harder to do that, as more people with college degrees are getting more and more experience to compete with mine. So, I have to make my own way — and that means having my own business that I can develop.
And it means I need to realize what kind of business I don’t want to run. That includes stopping momentum on another business I’ve been seriously considering starting. I made some minor progress on the project about six months ago, but I suspended it for some reason I can’t recall. For the past several weeks, I’ve been doing the analysis to see if it makes sense, and – lo and behold – it does not. There could be good money there, but it’s more manufacturing. It’s on a much smaller scale than my other idea, but it’s still making stuff to send out to people. It will put me on a time clock, pretty much, getting stuff to people when they want it. It’s going to lock me into being responsive and customer-service-oriented.
And that’s not what I want to do.
I know that now.
So, this is a good sign. I have been spending the morning doing an inventory of all the projects I have started over the years, and it’s looking pretty comprehensive. And I know what I want to do next with a lot of them. This blog is up at the top of the list. I’m going to continue on here, and keep going with my other projects. Stay focused and realistic, and take my time at them — but not too much time, because then I get bored and start to distract myself for no good reason.
I’m being smart about it — laying the groundwork and using my noggin. 2015 is off to a good start.
Well, this is pleasant. I woke up early today, and now I have even more time, because I have a shorter commute. The pressure is off, job-wise.
Elsewhere in my life, things are heating up a bit. My last remaining grandparent, who is over 100 years of age, is in failing health, and my parents think they will not last long. This grandparent has been the single-most strongest presence and role model in my life, and I would probably not be here without their example. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, and there were many years when we kept each other at a distance, but that’s all behind us now.
Now there is only love and respect. Time heals.
So, I may have a trip ahead of me later this week. I have some critical deadlines looming, so I have to have a backup plan, for sure. I need to organize things and make sure they are in order, so I don’t miss the important dates coming up. I feel good about where I’m at, and how I’m handling things now. I’m getting the hang of the scheduling we do, and it’s falling into place.
I just needed to go through out, have some sketchy experiences to make sure it all sinks in, and keep going.
I’m seeing my neuropsych later today, also. I have prepared for the meeting, collecting notes from my past week, because for the life of me, I cannot seem to remember — when I get to their office — what I wanted to talk about. I’ve put together a list of topics that are all in my head and area all factoring into my life right now, to make up my whole experience. I’m hoping that will help them understand my situation better, because what I end up talking about is just a very small, small piece of the whole picture for me, and how can I get help with what is really challenging me, if I can’t articulate it.
I’m tired of being upset and frustrated over the whole process, and I’m concerned that they think I’m in a different “place” than I really am. It’s not that everything is awful, or that I’m debilitated or disabled. I just have certain things that are really intruding in my life, and I need to figure them out — clearly and plainly, not in a roundabout way.
So, there it is. We’ll see how it goes. I get a little tired of the disconnects between how I’m feeling, how I describe my experience, and what others interpret from it.