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Beware Energy Vampires! – Episode 32

Jenna: Hello, happy people, and welcome to Office ADHD. Hey everybody, this is Jenna. Welcome back to office. ADHD. Glad you're here. Oh, FYI, I'm going to be posting on the website soon. I've been doing some interviews where I was the one being interviewed and so I'm going to make sure those on the website. I have one already from when I was visiting with Coder Kids. I've also been on the Happiness Project and so watch out for those appearing on the website on Office So today we're going to be talking about this article that's called Beware These Sneaky Energy Vampires by Alan P. Brown. And it's on the Chad website. FYI, if you haven't been to, it's, then you should go. It's got lots of really great information, lots of really great resources. It's definitely one of the top ADHD websites for getting information. That being said, with every article, I feel like we each have our own twist on things and there's things that you agree with, things you don't. And so that's kind of one of the things we're going to go with today. So talking about energy vampires, especially these kind of some sneaky ones or ones that we probably know about too, that we need to talk about, I really do like his quote here. He's talking about a quote from Oprah Winfrey, who is obviously a very busy woman. He says, Each morning, I am aware that there is a finite amount of time and energy in this day. So I like that quote because it helps you remember. I guess I like it if you take it the right way. So on the one hand, if you look at the finite energy and time each day and you go, oh no, that means I'm not going to be able to get it all done, then no, that's wrong. I guess any emotion is what you felt. So it's not necessarily to say you're wrong, it's more of but if you take it from the point of view of I have this beautiful day in front of me and I get to choose wonderful things to do during this day, what are the wonderful things that I want to do today? Then if you take it that direction, then I feel like it's a beautiful quote that way that you say to yourself, hey, I get to choose the great things and I've only got so many I get to choose. So what are going to be my most favorite? Let's just go through start going through Alan's list here. I'm going to call him by his first name because I've decided Alan and I will just have to be friends. So we're on first name basis. So the first one is staying up late. And I am just going to own the fact that I have issues with this one. And honestly, I feel like a lot of us with ADHD have issues with staying up late. One we have trouble turning off our brain in order to go to sleep. That's just a thing with ADHD. It really is. I'm going to tell you right now, one of my best habits, they kind of go into the article. They're kind of talking about turning off your devices. Some of these things, which those are good tips, don't get me wrong. But I feel like to make this more of a specific to ADHD thing, I think we really need to talk about ways to turn off our brain. And one of the best ways that I do this is by keeping something near my bed that I can use to keep track of those last minute thoughts. Because one of the things is you're like, oh shoot, I'm going to forget that. Or oh wait, I was supposed to do that. Or I need to remember to do this tomorrow. And it keeps cycling through your brain because you don't want to forget it. So you need a way to get that out of your brain. So there's a few different ways that you can do this. So one, setting alarms on your phone is absolutely amazing. Even my son does this. And I'm just so proud of him that he'll do this at school. Like if there's something he's supposed to remember to tell me, he'll set a little alarm, be like, give permission slip to mom. I think that's absolutely amazing. And I'll do that. That's one of the reasons that I have an Echo Alexa device and that I keep one in my room is so that I can be like, Alexa, remind me. And I'll just pick a random time that would kind of fit. So I'll be like, remind me at 11:00 a.m. Feed the goldfish, something like that, that I just suddenly think of in the morning at night when I'm trying to fall asleep. Another way is just to keep a piece of paper or like a little notebook by your bed with a pen and then you can write down really quick, especially if you're working on a creative project and you get a thought of inspiration. All of a sudden you're like, oh, I've finally figured out how to get that plot point to work together. You can just really quick sketch out your ideas on a little 50 cent notepad, anything like that, that you can do to get those thoughts out of your head and somewhere where you don't have to worry about it anymore. Honestly, I've even found that this helps me out during the day. It's one of those things that for some reason I know helps me, but I still kind of fight it. But if I'm trying to make a big decision or I have too many things going through my head because our brains will cycle. If you don't do something to get the major to Dos or to get your major things out of your head, they are going to constantly cycle because we're afraid we're going to forget. We know we forget things, we know we misplace things. And our brain is trying to compensate for that and we're trying to compensate for that by just rushing it back around and around and around and around in our brain. But all that does, really is it sucks out our energy. It makes us more stressed. It makes it more difficult to get any one task done, because as I'm doing this one task, I'm stressed out about those other three tasks that are in my head or however many tasks are in your head and you're less productive, you're less likely to get through all of those things that are stressing you out. So take just a minute and write down the things that are in your head. Then the best thing you can do, because we will get a to do list that goes on for years and pages, is to grab the things that you know you need to remember. Like I need to remember to leave at 245 to pick up the kids from school, or I have to be at this certain place at 06:00 to meet up with my friend and set an alarm that says, okay, I need to be there at 06:00. It's going to take me 20 minutes to get there, and I want 20 minutes to get ready beforehand. So I'm going to set an alarm at 540 or even five minutes before so that I have five minutes to stop whatever task I'm on, set an alarm at 535 that says get ready to go meet up with my friend. Because then again, like I said, it's out of your head. You don't have to keep looking at the clock. Anything again that you can do to get things out of your head. And I think I've beat up that topic, but that's what I'm telling you. All those ideas. All right, the next thing he talks about, he calls it. But firsting, I think that's kind of a fun way to put this. It says this is where you sit down to do something important or difficult, but you're saying, but first let me do this other thing. But first let me do this other thing. And I'm actually going to put this together with his next one, which is called pseudo productivity, which is related to butt. Firsting, this is when you're justifying working on stuff that really isn't important right now just because it feels productive. Okay, so there's a couple of things here. One, I don't actually think this is necessarily I mean, I wouldn't necessarily qualify this as an energy vampire. And sometimes I think it's not necessarily a bad thing because, yes, maybe I'm putting off the laundry, but if I put off the laundry by cleaning up the kitchen, or maybe I'm putting off cleaning up this other place. But I did need to go get groceries and I really wanted to go out more than I wanted to be in. We call this. My mom actually was the first one to tell me this phrase, but I've heard it from other people. But is positive procrastination because you're getting something positive done that you actually did need to get done, even though you're ignoring the thing that you kind of wanted to get done. So honestly, I don't think that that's always a bad thing because sometimes that's the way to get yourself to do a task. Like I didn't maybe want to clean the kitchen, but I wanted to do that more than doing laundry. So, I mean, at least I'm getting one of the tasks done that I was supposed to get done at some point in time. So sometimes that's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't think that's necessarily a problem. I do think sometimes we have to be careful well, all the time. One of the big things we have to be careful of is when our tasks require us to move around too much, I guess. Okay, I'm going to explain what I mean by that. So it kind of reminds me of this story where there's like the farmer that wants to feed the chickens, but he needs to go get a new bag of food. And when he goes to the barn to get a new bag of food, he realizes that he needs to grab the knife to open it with and oh, he needs to sharpen his knife. And in order to sharpen his knife, he needs to go to this other thing anyway. So it kind of goes on like that where he just kind of keeps going back and back and back and back. So sometimes it's working with what we have and letting the other task go. And sometimes I've said this book a few times because I love this book. The sidetracked home executive book. One of the stories they talk about is when they're trying to reorganize a big closet that they found that they were getting super distracted that they would go take the board game to go put it away in the kids room and end up playing the whole board game with the kids. Which is not a bad thing to stop and play a board game with your kids. Or they'd start pulling things out and then they'd go put them away somewhere. But then when they went to put them away somewhere, they'd get distracted by all the things that were there. Like, hello, can I just say the word garage? Whoa. Distraction central. So what they did was they would just put things into baskets or they would put things into piles. So like if you're organizing your closet, just stay right there at the closet and then just pile things into where they go so you can take a whole pile at once each place. And you do get the whole thing organized all at once. So that's one thing we have to be careful of is that depending on what distracts you most, but if we move spatially to a new space, that new space is going to attract our attention and could detract our attention from the task we were trying to complete. And he talks about some different ways to cope with each thing or some of his main energy vampires. And I think one of the biggest things to cope with this, but firsting, and with some of the other things he's talking about with your brain going around in circles, is to it's actually a thing my dad talked about. I don't know. I wish I knew the source where he got it because then I could reference it here. But he talked about picking the three things that are going to be important for you to do the next day. So this is especially for those of us that just never feel like we've done enough. And in the last two interviews, this is something that's come up where we talk about setting boundaries to any task, and that includes setting boundaries to your entire day. To be able to say, if I accomplish these three things, I can tell myself I did good today. I can say, hey, I did a great job. And they can't be three major compounding things. Like, it can't be, one, finish a master's degree. Two, disinfect the entire house. No, that can't be your one, two, three. It's got to be a task that's like, okay, one, clean the refrigerator, and two, remember to stop at the bank and get that account thing straightened out that I've been putting off. It's got to be tasks that are reasonable for you to complete in that one day. But anything else on top of those three, it's not saying you can't do anything besides those three. It's saying these are the three most important things for me to get done tomorrow. And as long as I get those three things done, I am okay. And it's very important to have that boundary with yourself, to be able to say this is an okay amount. And even though, yes, I thought about all of these bajillion other things, I'm going to just stop with these three important things, not that you can't do anything else. All right. And then I think that Alan must be an introvert because he put down interacting with people as an energy vampire. And I'm going to argue that if you're in an extrovert, then interacting with people is going to bring up your energy. So I think you have to think about what type of interaction you're doing, who you're interacting with, and that is something to do. To set a boundary with yourself and with other people is to stop and say, which people bring up my energy, which people bring down my energy, which types of interactions bring up my energy, which types of interactions bring up my energy. And that doesn't mean that you're going to forever ignore the person that brings down your energy. You're going to be like, I'm sorry we can't be friends anymore because I've determined you're an energy vampire, and that's just the way it's going to be. I've put this label on you. No, there just are people that need a little bit more from you and that's okay. You don't have to spend all of your time with them. And it's important that you decide more what time you can allow and what time you have the energy for. So that when you do give them time, you're giving them your best time. It's not so much that you don't want to be there for them all day every day as that you can't as much as you'd like to, you actually literally just can't do that for everybody. And you can't always be that person that sometimes you've got to just say, I need to hold on to some of my energy so that when I do have the energy, I can be an actual help to you. But you don't have to put it in those words if you don't want to when you talk to them because some of those people don't understand. And so you just kind of be like, I'm sorry, I'm busy right now. Or It's okay if you hit the button so that you let the phone go to voicemail. All right. So then he talks about social media and games. I again feel like this one is just a thing where you put boundaries on it because a lot of those sometimes you just have to rest your brain. And for our brains, for the ADHD brain, it takes sometimes a special thing to get our brain to relax. I know that sometimes when I am extremely stressed out, I have to do two mind numbing things at once. Like I have to be playing a game on my computer while watching a TV show, which I know sounds insane, but it takes that much mind numbing to numb my stressed out mind sometimes. And that's just the way it is. And I feel like it kind of depends on how you're using it. Like he talks about in the article later, setting yourself a time, saying, okay, at 02:00 p.m., I'm going to check my social media. And I think that for us, it really depends on how we're using it because for one thing, we do have to be very careful of addictions. And social media and games both can become extremely addicting. And I feel like that's actually only really restful when you give yourself permission. When I'm doing games or social media and I just get caught up in it for 5 hours or something crazy, thank you that you all just understood that it's not relaxing because I get out of it and I'm like, oh, I didn't mean to do that. So it's more about saying, okay, I have done this for this long and now this is my reward or this is what I'm going to do to get my brain to relax for a little bit. And giving yourself those times when you have permission to do it versus when you're just doing it by default. So I think that's really the main thing with social media and games is being conscious and making it be a conscious choice when you choose to engage in those and doing your best to set boundaries on when you finish. Which obviously all of us have trouble when well, especially those of us with Add that get distracted. But everybody has trouble with finding the stopping point sometimes. All right, then he talks about he calls these some sneakier energy vampires and he starts talking about lousy brain fuel. So depending on watching what we're eating and the sedentary lifestyle and I feel like these are ones we talk about with energy a lot. I think that sometimes with both the things that we eat and the exercise we're trying to get, we put too much pressure on ourselves s so that then it becomes more anything that we throw extra stress into our lives. Stress is the biggest energy vampire. So we have to pull the stress out of these situations. Both our diet and our exercise. They're not going to get better unless we can step away and take the worthiness out of it. If we can take the judgment out of it and we can say I can be a good person and still have a piece of pizza, I can be a good person and start with my exercise where I am and then move up a little bit. And also with exercise we really should do an episode on ADHD and exercise plans and different things like that. I feel like for me, I have to have a variety of things that I can have around the house that I can do. Some people like going to the gym. For me, it's easier if I just have it here. But I've got a little treadmill, I've got this little tiny stairstepper thing which is really fun. It's just the steps and then one of those little fun little balance board thingies or just one of those little speed jumpers, that little tiny trampolines that you can jump on. I think that one of the things for us is mixing it up, that I'll go through a phase where I want to use one thing for a long time and then it's not new anymore. So I need to switch to something else and I can switch back to some of the things that I own. And most of the things that I own are like $25 or less. I don't invest in really expensive equipment unless maybe it was like video game exercise equipment or something personally anyway. And it helps to be able to change up what I'm doing. And I got way off the point. But the point is let's just take it a little at a time. And atomic habits is great. 1% growth. Just think to yourself, how can I be just one itty bitty percent better today? What's one thing where I can take one more step and maybe what's one way that I could eat one little thing healthier just each day, one little, one tiny percent or even half a percent. And let's keep going. So this next thing is multitasking. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine. I'm going to say that right now. I feel like it says on here, okay, not only when you multitask are you doing nothing fast, you are wasting energy and constantly switching between and reengaging in the multiple activities. Okay? I think that there's good multitasking and there's bad multitasking and yes, I do think we can multitask. I know the research says things, but I don't think they've studied enough of us with ADHD because anybody that can read aloud and not get to the bottom of the page and I didn't miss a word, but I was seriously thinking about something else. I have no idea what I read. We can multitask and sometimes that's the best way to do things. I still remember you saw the interview earlier with Doug Richens. He taught me this way to go through studying in college where I would put down a little square for how many? Like a 15 minutes square each for each subject. Like I'd line out my whatever, math, chemistry, English, and then I'd say, okay, I need this many 15 minutes squares for each subject. And then I'd study for 15 minutes and then relax for seven minutes. And then I'd switch subjects and study a new subject for 15 minutes and then come back. And so I feel like sometimes we really do need to switch it up, especially if it's something that's difficult for us to do. We need to say, okay, I'm going to do this for five minutes and then I'm going to come back and then I'm going to do it for five minutes. And we kind of need to be able to multitask between different things. Or even right now at work, I need to be able to have multiple projects that are assigned to me that are different so that then I can work on one project for a while, and then when I decide my brain has reached its limit on that project, I switch to another project. Or when this one's loading and I don't have the patience to wait for it to load, I can go to this other project and I can go back to the third project. I feel like, like I said, there's good multitasking and bad multitasking. I mean, if you're trying to stir potatoes with one hand and frost a cake with the other and mash something with your foot at the same time, probably not going to work out very good. But I feel like if you're doing one thing that you really need focus on and another thing that you don't need to focus on at the same time, it's all good. You can kind of multitask. All right, clutter. This one breaks my heart. This one's in here, to be honest, because ADHD and clutter, I feel like we just go together. It's kind of the way that I live and not saying it's right. I'm not saying that clutter is the way to live forever. I'm just saying that we tend to be clutterers and we tend to just drop things places, and that's just kind of who we are. It doesn't mean I don't like my workspace. I do think it is important for us to stop and declutter, especially before it becomes too much like we talked about last week with Lucy Wall where she talked about you're going to see something and then just walk past it because it just looks like a pile of like it is important to stop and then just piecemeal at things. And sometimes what I'll say when I have a big pile of something is I'll just do the I'm only going to grab five things. I'm just going to grab five things because then it's not this whole big task of where do I even start? What do I even grab? How am I ever going to organize this? I'm going to walk away and do something else. Okay, I can grab five things from this pile that I have left on top of the piano, or I can look at five envelopes that I've stacked here next to my computer. I'm actually looking at them and I can just do five. That's it. And then that's good, and I'll come back another time and do five again. It really helps. One of our biggest problems with ADHD is figuring out how to break down a task. I still remember even after I was in college. So, I mean, I was like 19 at the time, so I'm not a child. But even then I was looking at my room when I needed to pack it up to move back home because I was away for school anyway. I was going back home for the summer, and I couldn't break it down. I still have this image in my head of looking at my little dorm room. I was in this little tiny closet with a closet, and I didn't even have any idea where to start. It just was overwhelming to try and piecemeal it out. I'd start grabbing something one place, and then I'd stop and start grabbing somewhere else. I couldn't do it. And I feel like that is just a reality for those of us with ADHD that it really takes maturity and it really takes time. And this is where too, with your children that have ADHD, because this is a generational thing. It's inherited. It really is stopping and remembering that feeling from when you were younger too, or even now, that feeling of getting overwhelmed and helping them and helping ourselves learn to break down a task that's absolutely the most difficult thing for us. And the main reason that we don't get large tasks done or that we don't get a task done that we really are trying to get done, is because we have such a hard time breaking it down. So if you can stop and say to yourself five things, or if you can look at a room and say just the clothes, something you can do to break down that task, or to say, I'm going to only look at this corner, I'm only going to look at this corner of the room until that one corner is clean. That is our main issue with cleaning, with clutter, with giant projects, with anything is being able to break it down that is difficult for us. And so learning to do that in small pieces, even learning it in small pieces is going to help your entire life. And then this one, I think we've kind of already talked about how to fix it. I don't really know how to say this. It's called the Zyrgnik effect. Z-E-I-G-A-R-N-I-C-K zergnik. I don't know. He says this is what happens when we maintain a to do list with too many things on it or keep piles of unprocessed papers in our line of sight. Anything that represents a lot of undone to do burns our mental energy with reminders of all of your undoneness. And that's what I think we've really talked about that one a lot, how to kind of break that down into just pick three things. And we were talking about how to declutter. So I'm not going to spend too much more time on that one. And I do like some of his sneakiest energy vampires because this top one on his list is complaining. And I really do think that that is one of the biggest energy vampires that we sometimes forget about. Whether you're complaining about a person, whether you're complaining about your life, whether you're complaining about anything, it just really does bring you down. And I do hesitate in a way to say never complain because you do need to express feelings of frustration and anger and these, oh, I just can't believe what happened. I feel like there's complaining and then there's releasing. And this can be a fine line, but I feel like you do need to release some of those things, but when it becomes just not productive anymore, it's not helping you out, it's not helping release anything for you, then it's time to say, okay, but really my life is not terrible. Okay, we can pick up and I've let this out now. Let's move forward with life because the next one he talks about too is actually Ruminating. And I feel like those. Two are kind of related because you can also ruminate on being overwhelmed. That both of those things, and they just relate to seeing things in this dark way. And ruminating just brings on more stress without getting the things done. And I feel like that's where really if you get caught into that vortex, because it is just kind of a vortex sometimes, isn't it? It's just this thing that you start spiraling down and down and down and down. And so if you can say, hey, hold up, let's stop this and let's reframe what we're talking about here, what can I do to slow this down? And especially with Ruminating, one of the best things is what we talked about earlier is actually writing down what it is in your head, because oftentimes your brain is cycling through the same three things so often that it feels like 100 things. And I've done that a bajillion times. And so if I actually sit down and write it out, I'm like, oh, I guess it really is only these three main things that I am cycling through. And your brain feels a little disappointed for all the energy you put into worrying about it, but then it gives you that chance to say, okay, now we can get this out of my head. It doesn't have to be sucking me down its hole anymore. And like I said, once you complain, write that angry email. Just do it. Don't have to hit send, but just get it out. Then it helps. And I like too. He talks about for Rumination, the coulda, woulda, shoulda. I like how Louise Hay, I've talked about her books and I love one of the things she says in one of her books where she says that she wishes she could take away the word should out of our language because you should just say, I could if I really wanted to. This is true when you're like, I should do this and I should do that. I could if I really wanted to. I could if I really wanted to, but do I really want to right now? Apparently not. And that's okay, then it's a choice. The last one he talks about is defending your point of view. I think that that isn't so much an energy vampire all the time. And I think that what he's talking about really in here is like going on Facebook or Twitter. I guess it's X now, isn't it? Or some social media and being like, hey, guys, you should all believe what and, you know, I feel like be you should go out and share your point of view. I feel like that that's one of the reasons that those platforms exist that yes. I mean, I feel like the main reason for Facebook is to keep up with people, you know, and talk about other things and I mean, a lot of social media, but it really has become really more of a public platform in a lot of ways. And if good people don't go out and spread good opinions, then that's a problem. So I feel like all of you good people because obviously, if you're listening to my show, you are amazing. So go out and share your point of view because I think you're awesome. So just do it. All right. So then he kind of talks about some slayers. We've talked about that and I do like his idea of creating an energy mantra, though I don't think of it the same way he would. I really like those You Can Heal Yourself book by Louise Hay and she's got some amazing mantras and things. I'm going to tell you again, my absolute favorite is put this on your mirror. Trust me, it will make your life better. Like, print this out, put it on your mirror and every time you look in the mirror, look at yourself in the eyes and say this to yourself. Are you ready? I love and accept you just how you are. That's it. Write that on your mirror. And every time you look at that mirror, I want you to look in your eyes and say, I love and accept you for who you are, just the way you are. And then your day is going to be so much better. I need to put that back on my son's mirror. It was there before we moved. We may have moved, but anyway, I hope that you guys have got some good energy gains out of really looking back at your life and seeing some tips and tricks today. Get that mantra out there and have an absolutely amazing day because it's awesome out there. Talk to you next time and remember to subscribe and share with your friends. You thanks so much for listening. To learn more about anything we talked about today, head over to office Remember to like subscribe and share and have a great day. We'll see you next time. Our.

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