“Life in Balance” time management application

One of my brothers and I may be developing an application that will help people to not only organize the “getting and spending” and maintenance aspects of their lives, but also help people to work toward a “life in balance,” where they will be able to do more of what they WANT to do and less of what they believe they HAVE to do. Also important: a goal of this is to help creative and ADHD types translate more of their brilliant ideas into actual accomplishments. AND at the same time fulfill more of their spiritual and relationship needs. (Ok, so I am imagining something close to heaven…that’s just my crazy, highly imaginative brain at work.)

This is a very exciting project, and perhaps I am too eager (my brain imagines a world in which it has all already come to fruition, without any thought to the very real obstacles we will likely encounter along the way) to announce this. But I can hardly contain myself!

Please let me know if you would be interested in participating in testing the product as it is developed (oh I am SO “jumping the gun” on this! — I don’t even know if my brother can translate my ideas into code!).

I can’t give more details as this is a public page. But if you are a person who finds existing time/work/project management software (and the paper versions that preceded them) extremely frustrating and generally useless, this could be the very thing you need.

I can’t make any promises that this will actually come about. But knowing that there are lots of people interested can keep the incentive to work on this high at the top of my own “to do” lists.

If you are interested, please complete this survey. All questions are optional, including contact information. However, if you are interested in participating in beta tests of this application, you will need to supply your contact information and answer all questions.

You may also post general thoughts  about this idea below.

“Throwback Thursday: Back-to-School Beatitudes–10 Academic Survival Tips” (Crunk Feminist Collective)

Here is a terrific collection of academic survival tips for the “target audience” of my business and this blog from The Crunk Feminist Collective

Samples (QUOTED):

  • Be confident in your abilities.
    • If you feel like a fraud, you very likely are suffering from impostor syndrome, a chronic feeling of intellectual or personal inadequacy born of grandiose expectations about what it means to be competent. Women in particular suffer with this issue, but I argue that it is worse for women-of-color (particularly Blacks and Latinas) who labor under stereotypes of both racial and gender incompetence. The academy itself also creates grandiose expectations, given the general perception of academicians as hypercompetent people. Secret: Everybody that’s actin like they know, doesn’t really know. So ask your question. It’s probably not as stupid as you think. Now say this with me: “I’m smart enough, my work is important, and damn it, I’m gonna make it.”
  • Be patient with yourself.
    • Be patient with your own process of intellectual growth. You will get there and it will all come together. You aren’t supposed to know everything at the beginning. And you still won’t know everything at the end (of coursework, exams, the dissertation, life…).
    • Getting the actual degree isn’t about intellect. It is about sheer strength of will and dogged determination. “Damn it, I’m gonna walk out of here with that piece of paper if it’s the last cottonpickin’ thing I do.” That kind of thinking helps you to keep going after you’ve just been asked to revise a chapter for the third time, your committee member has failed to submit a letter of rec on time, and you feel like blowing something or someone up.
  • Be your own best advocate. Prioritize your own professional needs/goals.
    • You have not because you ask not.  You have to be willing to ask for what you need. You deserve transparency about the rules and procedures of your program, cordial treatment from faculty, staff and students, and a program that prepares you not only for the rigors of grad school but also for the job market (should you desire a career in academia).  But folks won’t hand it to you on a silver platter. You have to build relationships, ask questions, and make demands.
    • Figure out your writing process (the place [home, coffee shop, library], time [morning, afternoon, night], and conditions [background noise, total silence, cooler or warmer] under which you work best and try to create those conditions as frequently as possible during finals, qualifying exams, and dissertation.
    • Your self-advocacy will often be misperceived as aggression and anger, entitlement or selfishness. Don’t apologize. 

 

More here:

Throwback Thursday: Back-to-School Beatitudes–10 Academic Survival Tips”

Clients of Matrix Education and Editorial Services receive emotional support in each and every one of the areas identified by The Crunk. I have a weekly online support group for academics who have ADHD added to the challenges of non-traditional academic identities — i.e., people of color, LGBT, disabled, and other non-European-descendent-cisgender-male identities. This group currently meets Thursdays @ 5-6 p.m. Central through my Join.me technology (very easy to use), which allows screen sharing and recording (with your permission).

If/when I can gather three to four non-ADHD people interested in a support group that focuses on the issues specific to those non-traditional academic identities, I will create another group to be scheduled according to participants’ needs. The charge for this is $20 per person per one-hour session. If I have four people I will reserve one space for someone who needs to negotiate a lower fee.

Note: I am myself a white cisgender straight female, but my passion in life is to enable real social change by helping non-traditional academics to succeed and thrive. I have three identities that make ME non-traditional: I am ADHD myself, I am disabled in non-visible ways, and I have lived a lifetime of being “other” by virtue of surviving childhood sexual abuse. I know what it means to be invisible and to be judged by prejudice. In addition, I OWN the privileges that accrue to me by virtue of my whiteness and my status as middle class (despite low income) due to culture and education. And I am open to being called out when I do or say things that suggest I am unconscious of my privilege. I welcome being educated by my clients!

 

ADHD and Contextual Thinking

Years ago in early graduate school I wrote a paper on the communications theorist Walter Ong, who looked at the differences between and among primarily oral and primarily literate cultures and the ways that literacy actually restructures the way people think. He told a story about how some researchers were trying to get some indigenous people to categorize the way Westerners categorize things. You know — “one of these things is not like the other; which one is different, do you know?” The example he gave (if I recall correctly) was of a hammer, a saw, a carving knife, and a piece of wood. We would automatically say the first three are tools and the last one is not. However, these respondents absolutely insisted: “why take something away from the thing for which it was made?” Each of those “tools” would work on piece of wood — that is, the thing for which those tools were made. 

When we go about trying to “make a point,” we have great difficulty separating the “tools” from the “things for which they are made.” We are HIGHLY CONTEXTUAL THINKERS, and more often than not the context we feel we need to supply comes from our personal experiences. Thus as we relate our personal experiences as we are trying to make our point, it appears that we are “making everything all about ourselves.” When we are not at all doing that. We are simply conveying the ways in which we understand the world.

It is also our contextual thinking that makes it difficult for us to create a linear outline and to follow it, and to produce work that passes muster in a linear-thinking world. We understand what we read in the context not only of everything else we have read but also in the context of our personal lives. ALMOST EVERYTHING is relevant to the point we are trying to make, including something that may have happened to us (for example) when we were four years old!

This is a problem for us for three main reasons and three o main reasons alone:

1) The rest of the world (but especially the academic world) thinks linearly, or demands linear thinking, because they see it as more “efficient,” and so therefore all our provisions of context are just a waste of time.

2) The rest of the world devalues personal experience both as a source and as a context for knowledge.

3) Efficiency of time use is prized above everything else.

Do you see how utterly contrary these three concerns that “normals” have are to our way of being in the world, our way of understanding it? And how utterly alien they would be to people living in a primarily oral culture, where time is measured by the location of the sun and the moon in the sky, and people don’t mind waiting for others to arrive at a gathering because the waiting time can be spent in all sorts of wondrous pleasures, and nobody is thinking about the next meeting they have to get to?

And when it comes to speaking and making points — STORIES are valued?

Now, it may seem contradictory that all of us here are writers and we love to read (but kapow! I just suddenly understood why so many ADHD folks have trouble with reading, and it is not because of short attention spans, but rather because reading is linear and the subject matter all too often taken out of context).

I have learned how to edit dissertations and other writing in order to get them to conform to the standards of the linear, academic world that prizes efficiency. I am absolutely superb at it. But I am much better doing it with other people’s work than I am with my own, because I don’t have the attachments to context that my clients do.

Come to think of it, this may not just be an issue of differences between ADHD folks and “normals” but also differences between people whose own cultures are different from the dominant one. For example, I can see how African Americans might have difficulty with the linearity of “standard” academic thinking, depending on whether they grew up in middle class or lower class environments. In middle class environments they would have parents who’ve also been drilled in how to think linearly. Ditto with working class cultures. I know that working class folks find much of academia alienating.

Anyway, I have come to the point that I intend to DEFEND my way of expressing myself as a legitimate way of understanding the world. I may choose to speak less often in deference to the constraints of time so that others also have the opportunity to speak. But I will ask people to be patient with my story-telling and all my prefatory material that I believe needs to be part of “my point.” And if they aren’t willing to be patient, am out the door. Because I don’t need that negativity.

People who are looking for support from other people to allow them be who they are in all their glorious individuality as well as their differences from the “norm” should be able to accept someone who is different, but different in a different way.

Time to have an ADHD Liberation Movement, maybe? I am only half serious about that. But the half that is serious is very serious. I think we need to stop accepting other people’s evaluations of ourselves for our failure to conform to their expectations. We have our own unique contributions to make. Yes, we need to become more self aware — if for no other reason than we know how unbearable it can be to be in a room full of ADHD folks who are unaware! We do need to find ways to compromise and live within the dominant world, but as we do that we must not for once think that our way of being in the world is WRONG, something to be FIXED.