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Living with ADHD: Stories from Our Listeners • Part 4

Our series continues with Kathleen’s story and her effort to build Getting Things Done® and the ever-evolving catalog of life goals and objectives into her digital tool of choice: Todoist. But it’s not just a story about Todoist, it’s a morality play about going all-in on a tool before you abandon it. Great lessons from a terrific listener this week!

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Even after talking about these issues for more than a decade, we’re still incredibly moved by stories of our community members adapting to the world around them with ADHD in tow. This series is dedicated to them — and all of you — as we explore each unique journey for lessons that might inform our own.

Our series continues with Kathleen’s story and her effort to build Getting Things Done® and the ever-evolving catalog of life goals and objectives into her digital tool of choice: Todoist. But it’s not just a story about Todoist, it’s a morality play about going all-in on a tool before you abandon it. Great lessons from a terrific listener this week!

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Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello everybody. And welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD podcast on True Story FM I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Hello everyone. Hello, Pete Wright.

Pete Wright:
Hello, Nikki Kinzer. How are you feeling this fine Monday?

Nikki Kinzer:
Doing pretty good.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:25]. 2021, we’re kicking along. Things are good.

Nikki Kinzer:
We’re moving on. Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, feeling good about that. [crosstalk 00:00:31] podcast dog. We’ve got a great show.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Things are good in the world right now and we’re fine. We’re all fine here.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. We’re fine.

Pete Wright:
All right. We are continuing our epic multi-part series on living with ADHD. And this was one of the episodes or one of the interviews that you did, that you felt very strongly needed to be included at some length and that it’s worth talking about because of the adaptation of technology and the tools that we use to actually manage and manifest our life’s goals. And you were very impressed by this person. And I’m very excited to talk about it because of course, the tool that we’re talking about, it’s one of my very favorites, even though I got really upset with it once and we broke up for a little while but I am back to using it and I figured out how to make it okay. And it’s all fine, don’t worry about it. We broke up but we’re back together.

Pete Wright:
Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com and get to know us a bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list. And we will send you an email each time a new episode is released. Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD. And if you want to know what musical peep was a featured guest star in high school and maybe even hear some singing, you should check out patreon.com/theADHDpodcast. Why are those things related? That is a great question because with your supporting membership of the show, you get access to the live streams of this podcast. That means before we get on to do the show each week, I send a little email out to everybody before the show and they get to jump into this YouTube live stream and watch us do this whole thing and see some pretty ridiculous backstory. It’s all about the backstory.

Pete Wright:
You’ll also get access to the monthly happy hour where many great shenanigans occur between our other community members. It’s very fun. And of course, you get access to the online very special double secret, triple secret, nay, quadruple secret members only discord channels. You become a patron and the discord channels magically appear in the discord community. You can jump in and interact with all these fantastic supporters, patrion.com/theADHDpodcast to learn more. Thank you for your support. Nikki, let’s talk about Study Hall.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, which is also a benefit to the supreme members of Patreon.

Pete Wright:
That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’ll talk about that in a minute. Yes, Study Hall. Our next set of sessions is coming up. And when I do that, I offer a little break in price. Typically the Study Halls are $10 a week. If you would like to get this break in price, then you get 10 weeks of the Study Hall, which is the full session for the price of eight weeks. Instead of paying a hundred dollars for 10 weeks, you’re only paying $80 for 10 weeks. However, if you become a Patreon Supreme member at $10 a month, you get these study halls for free.

Pete Wright:
That’s a hell of a deal.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. Think about that for a moment.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Stir that in your head. If you’ve joined the Study Halls before, if they’re beneficial to you and you, as Pete says, want to support us in some way, that would be a great way to do it.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
And you get these Study Halls that are every Thursday afternoon.

Pete Wright:
Also, Study Halls have beneficial … She’s selling it way too lightly.

Nikki Kinzer:
I know.

Pete Wright:
The Study Halls are magical you all.

Nikki Kinzer:
They really are.

Pete Wright:
They are magical.

Nikki Kinzer:
And I got to tell you, last Thursday I didn’t want to do Study Hall.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be there with the people but I didn’t want to work.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, right. You wanted to hang out in the bleachers.

Nikki Kinzer:
I wanted to chat. [inaudible 00:04:37] got into the chat room and just started talking to people like, “What are you doing?”

Pete Wright:
… with Sandy and Danny and hang out with your illicit cigarette.

Nikki Kinzer:
“What are you working on?”

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
“When are you going to be done? You want to chat?”

Pete Wright:
Yeah, [inaudible 00:04:49].

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s what I wanted to do but I didn’t. I let the people, the good, fine people of Thursday Study Hall do their work but finally I thought, “I should just work because that’s why I’m here. Even though I don’t want to, I’m going to do it.”

Nikki Kinzer:
And I got to tell you, it is magic because I got so much done on Thursday afternoon because as soon as I got started, which we all know that getting started is troublesome. And once I got started, I was on a roll and I made the best of the time. It’s a good thing. I do need to let people know that the deadline for the 10 weeks for 8 weeks is March 25th. That is the first Thursday of this 10 week session. And that’s the deadline of getting this deal, is March 25th. There you go.

Pete Wright:
Okay, that’s it. Thank you everybody, patrion.com/theADHDpodcast. We’re talking to Kathleen today, Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, we are. Yes, we are.

Pete Wright:
Okay. Set us up a little bit. What is it that you’re excited about [inaudible 00:05:57]?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. Kathleen has been a listener for a long time and we have chatted here and there throughout the last couple of years. And she has dedicated a lot of time in really making her productivity system work for her and so impressive because I see how she has set it up. And she uses two things. She uses the thought process of GTD, Getting Things Done, from David Allen and also Todoist. And I got to tell you, she’s one of the few people that I have talked to that has really done a good job of tweaking GTD because sometimes getting things done is just not an ADHD friendly thing to do.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Nikki Kinzer:
And sometimes it is but she has definitely made it her own. And she’s really made a difference with how she tracks her goals, long-term goals and how she incorporates them into monthly, weekly, even sometimes daily things. And she’s worked really hard. And I remember asking her one time like, “How did you do this? How did you make this work?”

Nikki Kinzer:
… because people struggle. And she came … When she was talking to me about this, she already had a lot of this already set up. This wasn’t something that I helped her do. She had this. And so this is a little bit of what she’s going to talk about today, is how she did it, what her thought process were and what got her through. And I hope everybody enjoys it.

Kathleen:
For myself, it’s really about combining Getting Things Done, the methodology for getting organized that David Allen came up with, GTD for short, that most people know in the productivity world. It was basically a combination of taking the best elements of GTD and making them … Tweaking them and altering them slightly to make them more ADHD friendly, especially with regards to working memory issues. And especially with again, not knowing … Just flat out making all these like goals or resolutions or even determining what my values are and then feeling really good in the moment. And then five days later, forgetting that I even did them. I’m like, “Oh yeah, that goal thing.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Easy to forget, yeah.

Kathleen:
Yeah. Basically what I’ve done, is take the best elements of GTD, tweaked them to a more ADHD friendly version and then actually implemented them or have been in the process of implementing them and trying to develop a habit around them with a task management program. And there’s lots of different ones out there. Some people use Things, some people use Trello, some people actually use Evernote as a task management thing. I use Todoist.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay. We’ll, we happy about that.

Kathleen:
Yeah. I don’t know. I just tried out a whole bunch of them.

Nikki Kinzer:
And that one resonated with you.

Kathleen:
And that one resonated with me.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s really important that people understand that you want to look at them but you want to see what really resonates with you. And that’s where you were with Todoist.

Kathleen:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Todoist just felt really intuitive and really simple. And even for a while, I was using the free version because with all these programs, there’s the free version where you don’t get all the bells and whistles but then there’s also the level up premium subscription or whatever. And even with just the free, what I found was … With Todoist, even the free version of it was just out of the box, you could just start using it. And you just learned as you went or whatever, as opposed to some other systems and tools like apps and whatnot or even certain types of planners, you have to almost learn before you actually do. Todoist is more learn by doing.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, yes.

Kathleen:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the process of getting Todoist to work for you because that’s a big problem for a lot of people. They will start and then something happens or they don’t keep it up and then they just let it go. And you’ve been using Todoist for a long time and it’s definitely working. And I’m just really curious, how does somebody get over that hump of the challenges to actually continuing to make it work and make those tweaks?

Kathleen:
This might sound like a slight aside but it’s actually not. It’s totally related because ADHD.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Kathleen:
But one of the things that I really value in my life, one of the values that I try to live my life by, is simultaneous mindfulness, meaning present moment awareness, nonjudgmental, kindness, those aspects too. And so I try to apply mindfulness as much as possible to various aspects of my life, whether it be my productivity habits or just my own history or all different aspects of my life. And one of the big keys about mindfulness is that yeah, the classic meditation instructions are sit down, follow your breath or follow sound or whatever. And when you get distracted, not if you get distracted, when you get distracted, notice it, non-judgmentally label it and then come back to what you’re doing. And that’s the basics for meditation, mindfulness meditation instructions. I basically take that and apply it to my life where it’s … Even now, when it’s been a couple of years that I’ve been using Todoist on an almost daily basis, things will get busy. I’ll just forget to open the app for a couple of days on end, things will back up a bit and then I’ll be like, “Oh, yeah.”

Kathleen:
Something will just pop my memory to it. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah. It’s been a couple of days. I’ve got to get sorted with it, get clear on it.”

Kathleen:
Whereas before, maybe years and years before I was diagnosed for sure with ADHD and then even afterwards, there would be … Yeah, lots of guilt and shame and frustration and just hopelessness around, “Another thing that I forgot to follow up on. Or another thing I forgot to … I just let slip by.”

Kathleen:
This time I tried to approach it from a mindful, nonjudgmental perspective of, “Oh, yeah. A couple of days went by. I forgot. Okay, start back on it.”

Kathleen:
And since I already have that nice baseline, which I can talk about in a second, to go back to, it’s not like I’m not starting from ground zero too.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
It’s, “Oh, a couple of days of appointments being backed up. And I just haven’t processed all my information. That’s fine.”

Kathleen:
As opposed to, “Oh, now I got to start this whole thing over again.”

Kathleen:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Which is instantly where people will go but that’s not true because you do, you have the base already. Yeah, yeah.

Kathleen:
[inaudible 00:13:11].

Nikki Kinzer:
And I love how you connected the mindfulness, the meditation but recognize the thought.

Kathleen:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
And I love how you’re connecting that to recognize that, “Oh, I didn’t do it for a couple of days. That’s okay, I can go back to it.”

Kathleen:
Yeah, exactly.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, that’s great.

Kathleen:
Yeah. And so I guess maybe I’ll just talk about the baseline that I tried to establish.

Nikki Kinzer:
Sure.

Kathleen:
Here, I’ll even just … I have the Getting Things Done and just so for people who don’t know and especially before we were just listening, basically the essence of Getting Things Done, GTD, is there’s five elements to the workflow model that he presents, which is you first … And they’re all separate elements that you have to get into separate mindsets to do. This is his workflow for, ‘getting organized’, in life. Whether you’re applying that to your physical organization, your mental organization. And so he says that the five separate phases or steps or whatever are, you capture what has your attention, you clarify what each item means and what to do about it, you three, organize the results and then four, you come to reflect on those results that you’ve organized. And five, you engage in it, you actually take action, you do. And I went through this book, GTD, and basically went through it as he suggests, which is do massive inventory of your life.

Kathleen:
Take a weekend, even book a weekend off put your phone on hold, on mute or whatever. You can do that or you can space it out also. Schedule one or two hours a day for however long it takes you. Basically, just go through the whole process of capturing every single thing, do a massive brain dump, get everything out of your head and then organize it into different projects and various things. And according to him, he says that it takes about between 20 and 38 hours to go through the whole process. Yeah and that’s roughly about how much time it took me over … I did it over a month span or whatever. [inaudible 00:15:18].

Nikki Kinzer:
And when you say take you, exactly what do you mean, take you to inventory your life? Where your values are, what your priorities were, is that what you mean?

Kathleen:
Inventory your entire life from everything … What is this pile of boxes in the corner of my room? What do I need to do with them? Do I need to unpack them? Are they there to be sold? From physical organization to processes, like how am I doing my laundry every week? How am I thinking about … What steps do I take usually to make food, do meal prep, just things … You take every single thing that’s in your head and in your life, you just walk around your house and you’re with notepad. And you’re like, “Okay.”

Kathleen:
Yeah. It was just hilarious to be like, “TV, [inaudible 00:16:07].”

Kathleen:
And just throw it into the in-basket and then clarify each one. What does this mean to me? And so to go through that initial process, there wasn’t much ADHD tweaking that needed to happen necessarily. Oh, yeah. And the big thing with him though, about his process, about GTD, that really helped me, was with a reframe, the re shift around rather than just thinking about to-do lists as this one overwhelming thing with 197 different steps on it or two do’s on it, break everything down into projects, so that basically a project is defined as any outcome you want that takes more than one step. If you can accomplish your outcome by making one phone call, then that’s not a project. That’s just a phone call you need to make but if you’re … Everything from projects or anything from need to replace battery in my car, to need to buy a new car, to stuff at work, need to find a new job. I don’t know. And so basically try to break down your life into projects so that you can always try to feel like you’re making progress towards something.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s something I have to say that I really admire you for, is that I know that you have set up quarterly goals and you use Todoist to remind you of those goals and you do make continuous progress progress. Do you feel like that is a direct result then, of breaking these things down and …

Kathleen:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Yeah. And so yeah, breaking them down is really helpful because then every week or every two weeks or every however long, sometimes it’s supposed to be once a week that you’re supposed to review all your projects and that’s where the fourth step of the steps are, the reflection or the review. You’re supposed to do it once a week or it’s suggested that you do it once a week to keep making sure that you’re making progress on all the different projects you’ve outlined as being important to you. ADHD and life just gets busy. Sometimes I don’t do their weekly review for a couple of weeks or three weeks or whatever but then when I do go back to it, I know that, “Oh, yes. These are the 70 or 50 or 30 or 100 or however many projects that I know that I’m committed to making action on, that I can just go back to.”

Kathleen:
Yeah but the thing that I really had to tweak for ADHD purposes is about the GTD system and Todoist. The way I have it set up is, the one thing that really is the most top of mind that I had to tweak was … You go through this process, right. If you actually follow the Getting Things Done methodology as it’s laid out in the book. You go through the process and it takes anywhere from 20 to 40 hours or however long to set up your system and populate your system with. And then you’re supposed to do the review once a week to keep upkeep on it or whatever but then it’s just assumed that you’re going to always check all of your inboxes and all of your emails and anywhere that people send you messages. It’s just assumed that that first part of the capture method, the methodology, the first part of it is called capture. And it’s about capturing not just the stuff in your head but also the Facebook DMs and the Twitter DMs and all the social media places where people will message you and expect responses, from email.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
And it’s so easy with ADHD, to just forget about that stuff for weeks or then to check on it and feel really overwhelmed because there’s way too many. And you’re just like, “I don’t know where to start.”

Kathleen:
And so one thing that I did that has been really helpful, is I’ve set as reminders into my system, little messages will pop up every couple of days. Sometimes it’ll pop up once a day. For example, my emails but I don’t get very many voicemails these days. Voicemail will show up twice a week as a reminder to, “Hey. Just remember, check your voicemail or check your email. Try to work on clarifying those, get those back.”

Kathleen:
The ultimate goal is to try to get all of your inboxes, places where stuff that might have your attention shows up, back to zero. Inbox zero concept, as often as possible. And so I’ll have … I have various filters within my email, even for different organizations that I’m a part of, that I volunteer with that have different threads going on. In my Todoist, every day there’ll be check general email filter. That’s every day. And clarify the emails. And then once every couple of days, it’ll be check the … I’m on a housing board and board of directors. And so it’s check the email that has that filter.

Kathleen:
Yeah. And so then it just basically is … It’s always reminding me to clear out my inboxes. I don’t necessarily always do it [crosstalk 00:21:25] but at least the reminder’s there and even things like …

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, right.

Kathleen:
… because I was finding for example, … And I’m always tweaking it, right.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Whenever something comes up, basically I’ve taken the simultaneous GTD and to Todoist systems and apps or whatever, I’ve taken them … They’ve helped me get away from the negative mindset of when something messes up … When my ADHD wins like, “I’ve missed an appointment or I’m late to something.”

Kathleen:
Or I don’t get back to someone on something in quick enough time. Whereas in the past, in 5, 10 years ago, I would have just … Someone would message me being like, “Oh, I invited you to this event and you didn’t come to it.”

Kathleen:
And then I would feel bad for days, I’d let it drag down my mood for days and get down on myself about, “Oh, I’m always disappointing people and blah, blah, blah.”

Kathleen:
And instead, this has helped me … Having both Todoist set up as the platform for working ADHD or working GTD in my life has helped me really take some negative comment and use it as information as, “Oh, okay. Yes, I’ll allow myself to feel bad for a couple of minutes and be like yeah, that sucks that I didn’t do that.”

Kathleen:
… but then I’ll be like, “Huh. What was it about that situation that fell through my cracks, fell through my organizational cracks?”

Kathleen:
And for example, when I first set up the Todoist with all the different inbox reminders to check, I had not a lot of them in there. I was basically email, Facebook, voicemail and then texts, text messages. Reminders would pop up for those four. And then over time, I would add more. For example, yeah, when that happened, someone was like, “I invited you to an event on Facebook but you didn’t come.”

Kathleen:
And that was because I forgot to check my Facebook invites. I forgot my Facebook notifications or got overwhelmed by my notifications. I can’t even handle that. Now, taking that information, I set up a filter in my Todoist so that I think it’s once a week or maybe once every two … Or twice a week, once or twice a week, a little reminder pops up with a link embedded in where just one click, it’ll say check Facebook event invites and it’ll just press it. And it just instantly brings me to see if anyone’s invited me to any events that I can just add to my calendar and stuff like that. Yeah. And so that issue has not come up as much anymore.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. And I love how you were curious about it, so you let yourself feel it. And then you were curious about it and then you did something different in your system so that it would be less. It wouldn’t come up again or at least not as often.

Kathleen:
Not as often, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
And same thing with the birthdays and stuff like that, for years … I’m in my mid 30s now and for at least the last 10, 15 years, since I moved out on my own at 20 or whatever, I’ve just had this … And I didn’t get diagnosed with ADHD until I was 30, first 10 years of being on my own were undiagnosed but basically the last 10, 15 years I’ve been just feeling every time I miss someone’s birthday, miss sending them a card. And especially around my immediate family, we live across the continent from each other and I’ve missed their birthdays. And sometimes they’ve mentioned it and I feel bad and just to have that guilt and shame. And so just this year as a way to incorporate that information into my Todoist, I set up … Basically, I did a brainstorm of every single person that I actually care about sending something to, a list of maybe 15 or 20 people.

Kathleen:
And then I went and made a template of basically how to set up, in an ADHD friendly way, how to get the process started or finished to send a card in the mail.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Literally four weeks or maybe even more than that, six weeks before the person’s birthday. And I just have it set on an annual thing. I only have to set it up once and then I just click the button and it goes to the next year where it’s basically six months before it’ll be like, “Buy a card for birthday.”

Kathleen:
And that’ll just be a repeating event until I do it. And then the next week, five weeks before, it says, “Put a stamp on the card and write the address and your return address.Address and stamp the card but don’t sign the card even, just address and the stamp.”

Kathleen:
And then four weeks before it’s now, “Sign it and get your partner to sign it.”

Kathleen:
And then it’s okay. Then three weeks it’s like, “Now, put it in the mail.”

Kathleen:
… but I give myself a lot of leeway because I know that maybe a couple of weeks will go by and I’ll forget.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right.

Kathleen:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
I love that because that is breaking that project down to the smallest piece so it’s not so overwhelming when you look at, “Oh, buy or send card.”

Nikki Kinzer:
You have it so broken down and with the reminders too, it’s awesome.

Kathleen:
Part of the GTD also that’s really good to state, is that a big component of it is making sure that you have … Distinguishing between actions that need … Tasks or to do items that are actionable, things that you can physically or visibly tangibly take action on and to do list items that are more reference, more, “I would like to have this around but there’s no action I need to take on it.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
That’s the big distinction. As a part of setting up the process, I set up a really nice reference file, both digitally in Evernote and physically in a little hanging file folder or whatever. And that’s a really good distinction to know that my Todoist is used for goals, projects, things that have actual tangible outcomes.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Evernote is reference, it’s stuff that’s maybe supportive of those projects or maybe it’s just random articles I found on the internet that I want to read later. It’s just a whole mishmash of everything. Whereas if it goes in my Todoist, it’s going to get done at some point eventually. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s a really good distinction, knowing your purpose for each each program. Yeah.

Kathleen:
Yeah, yeah. No, totally. It’s really helpful. And so the reason I bring this up is because in my physical reference file, I actually have a bunch of folders labeled birthday cards. And I do have some generic birthday cards and I have that as well, another one for thank you cards.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
And oh, one thing that I’ve started doing also is that again, because it’s like trying to remind myself how I have a glitchy memory. [inaudible 00:28:44] I think for so long I fought against it and was like, “Oh but maybe I can just … ”

Kathleen:
I was trying to use techniques or trying to look for … Even after I was diagnosed, the first maybe couple of years that I was diagnosed with ADHD, instead of accepting that my memory can sometimes be like Swiss cheese, it’s just got little holes in it, instead of actually accepting that and then looking for tools to help accommodate it or like to help manage it or cope with it or whatever, I was trying to find tools that would help me solve it. And so having acceptance of that has been really helpful because then I can just make the tools and make the shifts and the changes that need to be for my brains. It doesn’t have to be a one size fits all thing and yeah.

Kathleen:
I’ll just say also about one thing that really helped commit me to the Todoist and continue this process, is when I decided to do the upgrade because I used the free one for a while, maybe a few months or whatever, the free version. And then I upgraded to pay a monthly fee. It came out $6 or whatever, $4 every month. And that was just to explore it and be like, “Okay, what are the other options that come with it?”

Kathleen:
And still I felt a little bit not sure, doubting myself a little bit, whether I would actually continue with this. Blah, blah, blah. And then when I finally did decide, “Okay. No, I think this is the right program for me.”

Kathleen:
And made the purchase instead. Renewing every month, it renewed once a year or whatever. And so I had to invest, instead of just little $4 here every month, it was now $50 or whatever at once.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, yeah.

Kathleen:
That was a way of acknowledging myself, “Okay, I’m taking this seriously.”

Kathleen:
And there’s been challenges with it, both using the Todoist and Getting Things Done together. There’s been times … It’s been about a year now that I’ve been really committed to it. And there’s been times over that year where I’ve been like, “Oh, maybe I should try something else. And maybe I need to switch and try Stephen Covey thing instead or need to try some other technique or whatever.”

Kathleen:
What’s really helped me has been to just acknowledge that it’s as much about … It’s forming a habit around this stuff. And so habits take time to form and procedures take time to get into. And it makes way more sense to just keep trying to truck on with it, especially after I’ve made the investment …

Nikki Kinzer:
To start all over.

Kathleen:
… than trying to start all over.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, yeah.

Kathleen:
Yeah because starting all over is fun and exciting. And that’s what gives the brain the dopamine, “Oh, maybe I can transfer all the things I’ve already populated all my Todoist with … I can transfer them over to Trello or I can give up on this Getting Things Done thing and try the 7 Habits thing instead.”

Kathleen:
… but maybe I can try that in a couple of years.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, it doesn’t all have to happen right now.

Kathleen:
Yeah, give it some time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
One final thing I’ll say about this, is another … Clearly I’m very influenced by mindfulness and I meditate as often as possible. I was about to say daily meditation but I’m like, “No, I don’t really do that.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
As often as I can but one of my favorite quotes that comes from the Buddhist and meditation world that I’ve applied to a lot of different areas of my life, comes from the Dalai Lama where he was asked once by a cheesy talk show interviewer with like, “What’s one of the quickest ways to get to enlightenment?”

Kathleen:
Or whatever. And he was like, “Let’s see. If you believe in rebirth, I’m in my whatever, incarnation. And I’m also 70 and I still haven’t achieved it. It takes a long time.”

Kathleen:
And then the advice he gave was the thing that really stuck with me. He’s like, “How about this? How about you commit to a practice?”

Kathleen:
And he was talking about meditation in this case but it could be any other practice. He’s like, “How about you commit to a practice and try it out and try it daily as much as you can and blah, blah, blah. And then maybe once a decade, you can check in on yourself and ask yourself, is this practice still working for me? Is it making me happier? Am I being kinder to people? Blah, blah, blah. Is it making my life easier, smoother?”

Kathleen:
And so I’ve taken a bit of a similar … With a grain of salt, of course but similar approach where, “Okay. No, how about I just commit to this for a while and reassess?”

Kathleen:
Actually, in my Todoist, I have a thing that … I have a reminder that will pop up sometime in 2023 I think or something like that, that, “Hey, is this GTD and Todoist thing still working for you?”

Kathleen:
Maybe check in. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, that’s fantastic. Thank you so much Kathleen, for sharing your process, how you got to it, the good, the bad, the challenges and how you overcame them. And I love the curiosity mindset and the mindfulness and resilience, too.

Kathleen:
That’s right, yeah. That’s the word that I forgot to mention. Was curiosity. That’s a big component of mindfulness. It’s like curiosity …

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Kathleen:
Openness. Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Kathleen:
Cool.

Nikki Kinzer:
Pete, what do you think?

Pete Wright:
Well, I love it. And there’re a couple of things I was thinking about as we were listening to that and I think the first one that I love the most, is that this is a … The power of going all in. If you’re going to go in on a tool, go all in on the tool. And as somebody who dances across the surface of so many different tools, as I’m trying things, seeing what works, trying things, seeing what works, all in the service of helping others, I should add.

Nikki Kinzer:
Of course.

Pete Wright:
Right. Of course, it is not at all self-serving.

Nikki Kinzer:
Or a dopamine hit.

Pete Wright:
Or a dopamine hit. No, it is for the good of the people but as a result of doing that, sometimes I get lost a little bit in where all the data goes, right because it’s everywhere. It’s in all the places. And this is really the value of remembering to go all in. If you really want to figure out if it works, you have to stop playing. You have to get serious and get the work done. And there are a couple of tools in my life that I feel like I have done that. And a couple of them, I’m still flying about, getting there. I’m coming in for a landing but as somebody who just loves tools so much, that’s really hard.

Nikki Kinzer:
It is, it is. And I give her a lot of credit for being all in. And really, when she was talking about how she missed the Facebook invite and she felt bad about it for a little while and then just the change of mindset of, “How did it happen and what do I need to do to prevent it from happening?”

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s just such a healthy way of looking at it, right because you’re not blaming yourself. You’re not going down the shame spiral. And again, you’re all in the system, so you want to make it work. And I just really admire that she was willing to be able to do that and the breaking up the birthday cards project.

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Brilliant, brilliant.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, that’s great.

Nikki Kinzer:
I love it.

Pete Wright:
That’s great. I think that there is room for us to do … And maybe this is … I don’t know, maybe this is an episode of the new members only podcast you were talking about. I don’t know, maybe it’s a workshop that we do. I think there’s room to go deeper on some of these individual tools.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, for sure.

Pete Wright:
… because this is one that I think would be useful to actually talk about, not just what you do with it but how you do it.

Nikki Kinzer:
How you use it, right.

Pete Wright:
What do you actually type? What do you actually click to make the thing … To make in this case, Todoist a GTD receptacle? What do you actually do on these systems to do it? Not just what you use it for but how you enable it. I think there’s room for that.

Nikki Kinzer:
I agree.

Pete Wright:
If that would be an interest, let us know. Hit us up in Discord or Patreon and let us know.

Nikki Kinzer:
There you go.

Pete Wright:
Thanks everybody for hanging out with us. Thanks for hanging out with Kathleen. Thank you Kathleen, for hanging out with us. We sure appreciate all of your time and attention. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. We’ll catch you next week, right here on Taking Control: The ADHD podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.