Client Case: Unblocking & Tackling (Not a Football Strategy)

It might not look great on the gridiron, but unblocking and tackling your tasks might unlock reserves of productivity stuck behind fear and uncertainty!

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It’s case study day! Nikki has been working with a client struggling to get unstuck behind some big, challenging tasks. Those tasks are hiding behind other work making it tough to prioritize. After a few sessions with Coach Nikki, they settled on a pair of sessions they’re calling “Unblocking” and “Tackling” sessions. This week on the show, Nikki walks through the process with the aid of messages from the front lines in the form of client emails describing the challenges and successes that came from them!

Haven’t heard our trailer for the upcoming Placeholder podcast? Stick around to the very end to check it out!

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 TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright and I’m here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone and hello, Pete Wright. And I just heard-

Pete Wright: Was that too much energy for you?

Nikki Kinzer: No, I’m so excited for you because I just heard the trailer of the Placeholder. I just heard the trailer, let me say that again, of the Placeholder podcast with you, Pete Wright and I am so excited for you to share it with everyone. And I’m so happy for you. I was just so thrilled about this whole thing. And it’s so exciting. Are we going to share that trailer here on the show today? Or what do we do? How do we do this?

Pete Wright: It’s actually going, it’s like five minutes. And so it’s going in as a … I’ll put it at the end of this episode, how about?

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: So if you listen all the way to the end, I’ll put Placeholder in there and then it’ll also be a separate episode in the podcast feed. So, I mean, we want people to hear it, at least.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: So it’ll go into the podcast feed and it is, as you’ll hear in the trailer, it is dedicated to and exclusively for members of our Patreon community. And I’m just so excited to be able to do it. And that takes us right into our very own March Madness, which is our pledge drive. And it has been going … I guess we should say it’s been going really well and we’re very excited about just the way we’ve had new people embrace our membership. We’re so excited that you’re here and so excited that you used March to do it. It sends such an amazing signal to us that you’re here.

Pete Wright: And also those who have jumped into the new tier, the new platinum tier and those who have jumped in and upgraded. Like people who have been in here and want to just have more stuff and time with us. And so again, that new platinum tier adds all the stuff that you get, you get live streams of the show, you get early release special member episode of the podcast each week. And you also get-

Nikki Kinzer: Workshops, work sheets.

Pete Wright: You get the happy hour and workshops and worksheets and all of that stuff at the Supreme Level. And you also get, at the platinum level, Coffee with Pete. Which I have to say, was one of the most fun things I’ve done yet for this community, was being able to sit down with … I mean, I think we had 25 people, something like that who showed up live for Coffee with Pete to talk about technology and tools and … Oh my goodness, crises, life crises. We talked about so much. That was really, really fun. And then yours is coming up.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Coaching with Nikki is coming right up.

Nikki Kinzer: Coaching with Nikki is coming.

Pete Wright: This week or next week?

Nikki Kinzer: It is the last Tuesday of March. So it’s going to be March 29th. And that’s when it’s always going to be, is the last Tuesday of every month. And yeah, coaching with me. So we’re going to some fun doing some coaching stuff, talking about some topics that we’ve gone over in the last month. And I also want to be available to ask or to answer … Probably ask questions to you honestly, because that’s kind of how it goes. As a coach, you ask a lot of questions. So I probably will ask a lot of questions, but as a group, I have a feeling it will go where a lot of people will share and talk about their situations and hopefully get a lot of good stuff out of it.

Pete Wright: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s really exciting. I’m super excited that we’re able to do this and it’s all thanks to your membership everybody. So thank you so, so, so much for being a part of this and being a part of this community, you’re fantastic. We do have new platinum level channels in Discord. And so you’ll see those right now because it’s March pretty much everybody has access to everything. If you become a patron you get access to all of the channels and just explore and see what kinds of conversations are going on in there. Because as of April 1st, it’ll go back to just the member only rules. And so, hopefully you see something you like, you meet some people that you haven’t talked to before and be a part of the ADHD community ship sailing out into the vast sea.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s right.

Pete Wright: It’s beautiful. We’re in the Caribbean. Yeah, let me update that image. We’re in the Caribbean and we’ve all got drinks with umbrellas in them and there’s music. There’s definitely music.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Little Jimmy Buffett, maybe.

Pete Wright: So many coconuts.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: So many coconuts.

Nikki Kinzer: Love that.

Pete Wright: Anyway, very excited about that. Thank you. Shall we do the show?

Nikki Kinzer: Let’s do the show

Pete Wright: We’re talking about … We’ve got a client thing going on.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: You have brought unto us a client case.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. I’m really excited about talking about this.

Pete Wright: This is big.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, it’s very exciting because this is a client and I have full permission. So I’m really excited to talk about this. This is a client I’ve been working with for probably the last six months or so. And one of the issues that he has been dealing with is many that other people deal with and that’s getting unstuck. Having projects that he has to do but he’s been avoiding them. And so he’s been dealing with a lot of shame around not doing them, right? So here’s these lists of things he has to do but he’s avoiding them and very, very hard on himself.

Nikki Kinzer: And reached out to a coach to get some help and see how we can help him unblock. And it was interesting because I got this email from him and I’m going to share it with you guys, parts of the email, and go through the process of what he did and what some of his key learnings were and Pete and I can talk about it and see what you guys think.

Pete Wright: Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: And I just thought it was really inspiring so much so, that I was like, "Hey, can I talk about this on the podcast because it’s that good?"

Pete Wright: So we should do some … We’re going to read the email.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: And we should definitely have some Ken Burns style, sad Civil War violin music behind it. And we do we have Morgan Freeman? Is Morgan here? Morgan’s not here.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh dang.

Pete Wright: All right. So I’ll have to do it.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: Are you ready? You ready?

Nikki Kinzer: I am so ready.

Pete Wright: Ken, cue the music and the sad slideshow.

Speaker 3: "Hi Nikki. I wanted to capture a couple of things from this week that have got me quite excited. I had some very low moments at points during the week where I was overwhelmed and just feel completely stuck. But I finished the week completely unblocked and feeling able to get on with the things I need to do and even excited to do some of them." Say hi to mama and I’ll catch brother on the battlefield.

Pete Wright: There. That was not in there. That was not in the email but I wanted to stay in character.

Nikki Kinzer: That was not in the email. No. All right, so for context, just to let people know, one of the strategies that this client practices with me is body doubling, it’s extremely effective. So during our time together, what we’ve done is, we have some coaching time and then we have set aside other times where we work together and we just body double. So we’re both working on things as we’re on the computer, right? Study hall, right? That’s what it is.

Pete Wright: Sure.

Nikki Kinzer: And he uses our time together to work on some of the harder things that he’s been avoiding and he’s had two projects that he has needed to focus on. And the challenge is they both need his focus, they both need work. But one is a little easier than the other.

Pete Wright: I don’t know anything about that.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, yeah. And, of course, when one’s easier than the other but the other one is really more important, oh boy, that’s a dilemma, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s a dilemma. All right. So during our first body double session, he wanted to work on project one but he really didn’t believe that he could face it. I mean, he really was having a lot of resistance. So I could read this from him. I could tell this is what was going on. So I said, "Okay, let’s go ahead and switch the decision from making what’s the highest impact to, what’s easier," just to get him moving on something. So it was actually-

Pete Wright: Okay. You’ve just triggered an enormous amount of fear for me. I am now in terror mode and my inner child has locked himself in the closet.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay. Well we got to get you out of the closet because I know it’s weird because I just said, he uses the time for us to work on harder things. And now I’m saying, "Okay, let’s not look at the hard thing, do the easier thing."

Pete Wright: Do easier thing, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: It makes no sense, but stay with me. And this is, again, someone who felt really, really stuck. I’m pretty sure and I think he would be okay with me saying this, is that if we didn’t continue the body double session, I think he would’ve stayed stuck and not have done anything. So I knew I needed to get him to do something. I needed him to have some success and that’s why I said, "Let’s switch the question to what’s easier." So he says to me that this was definitely the right approach because he had lower energy at that moment. And he said, "I was able to break the easier, smaller blockage on project two and get moving." So he did it in that first body double session. He picked the easier project and got it going. And so that was a success, right?

Pete Wright: Yeah. We’ll call that a win, we’ll ring some bells. That’s right. But still was that enough? I guess this is the dramatic arc of this story.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Was that enough to get moving on the harder thing?

Nikki Kinzer: Ah, good question, Pete Wright. Good question. So-

Pete Wright: I’m just glad that occasionally I can reinforce my purpose for being on this show.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Just occasionally there’s a nugget.

Nikki Kinzer: There’s a nugget, there’s lots of nuggets but you nailed that one. You nailed that one. Okay, so second body double session happens and he says, "I fell back into the trap of knowing I needed to focus on project one, while only feeling able to do project two." And therefore, he did nothing. So easier project was two, he was able to do that. But he still is feeling like he can’t do anything with project one and didn’t do anything in between the time that we had been meeting.

Nikki Kinzer: So this is what he says. "I started working on project two and got into a flow with the work. I was able to do this at least because we had unblocked this project in the previous session," right? Because I said, "Hey, let’s switch it. Let’s do something easier." When we started on Friday’s session, I was feeling really good about my progress on project two and fully ready to carry on in my flow state. And it’s not unusual for me to end up in hyperfocus session on a Friday evening if I’m engaged in something.

Nikki Kinzer: So he says, "I was honest with you that I felt like I could easily keep going with project two and that’s what I wanted to do." But hinting that I should probably do project one. I mean, this is a conversation we have in our heads, right? He was just expressing it to me. So he knew going into this body doubling session that I really can keep doing project two but I know I need to be doing project one. This is where I pushed back a little bit. So I got him started but this is when I said, "Okay, you’re telling me that you should be doing this project one." And it was very clear, he was avoiding project one. That was no … Right?

Pete Wright: Okay.

Nikki Kinzer: And I let him-

Pete Wright: I’m getting a little bit tied up in ones and two. So once again, project one is project hard?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Project hard.

Pete Wright: And project two is project easy.

Nikki Kinzer: And he wanted to keep doing project two in our second body double session because it was easy.

Pete Wright: Oh, right. Okay. So that clears it up for me. So you had the first session and you said-

Nikki Kinzer: Do easy.

Pete Wright: The first session in body doubling, do project easy and get yourself going.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: And that was all successful. And then he comes back with his second letter from the battlefield and says, now I started working on project easy and I got into the flow and it was awesome. So now he comes back to your body double session and wants to keep working on project easy and you’re saying, "Ha, ha, no. You need to now start working on project hard."

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Does that catch us up? Is that basically my understanding of that?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. So I just pushed back a little bit. As a coach, I can do that. And I do it in a very nice way.

Pete Wright: Yeah. It’s on the license.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s on the license, yeah.

Pete Wright: Yes, you need to push back occasionally.

Nikki Kinzer: And it’s a very nice way of doing this, yes. And I said, I didn’t probably use the word push, I don’t remember what I said. I think I said, I want to talk to you about this a little bit more before we go into the session. And I explained to him that I could tell he was avoiding project hard, right? It was so obvious. I mean we knew and he knew, too. And I said, "My fear for you is that if we don’t try to get this started now …" Then the chances of him doing it on his own and going into the weekend, doing any of it were going to be really slim.

Nikki Kinzer: And my intention is I really wanted him to leave this session feeling that he made progress on all fronts, that he made progress on all projects. So it was really important to me that, "Hey, we’re here, try it. Let’s just try it. I’m here next to you, rooting you on. Let’s just get into project hard." So he says to me in his email … In fact, you can read this part if you’d like. Go ahead, pretend like you’re him. You’re right where he says, "I thought this was a good idea."

Speaker 3: "I thought this was a good idea because I was feeling much more resourced, felt able to finally tackle the project hard stuff. The really exciting thing is, I worked on it in a very effective way, even getting to the point that I was completing actions that weren’t even overdue yet, which I never, ever, ever do. Not only did I completely unblock that dreadful project, I reduced the size of it drastically and felt amazing about it afterwards. But the energy that I had previously built up for project two was still there, too. Billy says, have a great summer. Your son."

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. That wasn’t part of that. Okay.

Pete Wright: Nailing this.

Nikki Kinzer: Nailing this, yes.

Pete Wright: Nailing it.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay. So moving on, it worked. Okay. Now sometimes my thought processes don’t always work but this time it did. So we’re celebrating it. We are celebrating it. And these, he also wrote about what some of his key learnings are. So do you want to pretend that you’re him?

Pete Wright: Sure.

Speaker 3: "Again, number one, getting anything done is more important than nothing at all. Just get getting into some forward motion. Number two, sometimes it’s important to recognize that I do have the energy where I can tackle harder things. So I should take that opportunity to do them. This may be preceded by an unblocking session of doing just anything to get momentum going. Number three, increased activity level from work can spill over into the evening and help propel me to achieve my daily habits, too. The most impactful aspect of this was when you gently question, we do have questions in air quotes. My instincts on Friday-

Nikki Kinzer: And I just want to say that it was gently. So I didn’t just say something terrible. I did gently question him.

Pete Wright: Right. It doesn’t say on the license, may openly antagonize clients as a coach.

Nikki Kinzer: No.

Pete Wright: Now that is not provisioned by said license.

Speaker 3: "Gently questioned by instinct on Friday to continue my flow on project easy, taking the easy route. And I think you recognize that I had the capacity to instead tackle the thing I was avoiding. That was 100% correct. I think the biggest change to what I’d normally do without that slight course correction, I would easily have fallen into hyper focused on project easy and it would likely have consumed my weekend in an ultimately unhealthy way. I would’ve made a bit more progress but I also would’ve found myself unable to break free of it.

Speaker 3: And meanwhile, Monday morning would come around on project hard and it would be looming so large that I would likely feel totally overwhelmed again. Distilling this down a bit more, I’m calling our Thursday work session, an unblocking session. I was so stuck that I needed to get any forward motion. And the Friday session was a tackling session. I had some motion and energy. So I needed to use that consciously to tackle what I was avoiding.

Speaker 3: I suspect that using these concepts of unblocking and tackling will be key to making more progress, knowing when I need to use one versus the other in the right context. Overall, the things I’ve achieved in the last couple of days have got me totally motivated, excited and most importantly, optimistic. I haven’t felt much optimism recently. So that’s a big one."

Pete Wright: Unblocking and tackling. Nikki?

Nikki Kinzer: I know, isn’t it great?

Pete Wright: That’s so exciting.

Nikki Kinzer: It was. It was so exciting. And I love this email and what is so interesting is that I’m still working with this client and we just met last week and he was going through a very similar thing again. And I reminded him of this email and I said, "Hey, let’s take a look at this and see what can we take from what you learned here and put it into the situation that you’re in now, which is very similar?" And I think there’s a couple things I want to point out is … And I bring that up about this week because, I think, it’s important to know that this is always a work in progress and it’s really easy for someone with ADHD to forget where they’ve seen success and what they have reflected on before that worked.

Pete Wright: Oh, God. Oh my … Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes.

Pete Wright: Oh my God. Say that again. It’s easy for someone with ADHD to forget.

Nikki Kinzer: To forget what worked or when they have taken time to reflect on something and really because that’s what he did here. Is he really reflected like what happened here? Why was I able to do it in the second session? And so having that time to reflect on what’s working for you and then being reminded later when you need to be reminded. And for him, he had me to remind him because we’re still working together. And I just happened to be doing this podcast. And so it was perfect timing because I was like, "Hey, I’m writing the notes down for this podcast and you need to hear this again."

Nikki Kinzer: So I think that one of the things I would say to people is, when you find something that works for you and you do get this sense of excitement and optimism, write it down, document it and have a place where you can put these type of successes. Because then you can go back and look at them later when you’re feeling stuck and say, "Hey, this is the exact same situation I was in before and this is something that helped." The other thing that I love about what he said here and this is really initially why I wanted it to be on the show, is I love having an unblocking session and a tackling session.

Pete Wright: Are you a football person?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, yeah. I like watching football.

Pete Wright: I’m so not but isn’t this like, "Oh it’s blocking and tackling." Isn’t that like you got to go to blocking and tackling practice? It feels like a sports thing.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I’m blocking football.

Pete Wright: You don’t unblock football. That would make the game amazing, first of all.

Nikki Kinzer: Well, it would be really one sided.

Pete Wright: That’s what they said. I hear they said that football is a game of blocking and unblocking. Just again, crushing today.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, Pete.

Pete Wright: But look, so we’ve got this weird anti-football metaphor going on. But I have a question. May I ask a question before I forget it?

Nikki Kinzer: Of course, you may.

Pete Wright: It’s about to leave. My question is this. I think this is fantastic. Do you have recommendations for someone to build a system where they don’t have a ready body double? Let’s assume they can’t find a body double to gently coach them and guide them and not openly antagonize them into this. Because I can feel myself-

Nikki Kinzer: I gently questioned. I gently questioned.

Pete Wright: I can feel myself already projecting forward to, "Okay, I’m going to have an unblocking and tackling day." I’ve got a couple projects I need to work on and I can see myself immediately begin lying to myself. And in spite of that, what is the mindset that I need to accomplish or achieve so that I can move into unblocking and tackling mode as it is appropriate? Do you have guidance for that or is just-

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. I think that one of the things you do is, you don’t do it by yourself.

Pete Wright: I know but what if you have to? What if you’re just sitting there and you have to?

Nikki Kinzer: But you don’t have to. Limiting belief. You don’t have to do it by yourself.

Pete Wright: You just threw the limiting belief flag on the field. That’s what happens.

Nikki Kinzer: I did. I know I threw the flag.

Pete Wright: The flag on the field, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: And you’re being charged with a penalty.

Pete Wright: I just mean, what? Just what, a penalty? What if there is nobody around?

Nikki Kinzer: But really?

Pete Wright: What if all my people-

Nikki Kinzer: Really, really?

Pete Wright: What if there’s no people?

Nikki Kinzer: You don’t have anyone around at all-

Pete Wright: What if there’s no people?

Nikki Kinzer: … that could help you?

Pete Wright: I don’t know. It’s a hypothetical.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, but it’s not true.

Pete Wright: What if it’s a hypothetical and people are all at the store?

Nikki Kinzer: No. Unless you’re like the only person that has survived the Zombie attack.

Pete Wright: What if I’m the only person, stick with me, who survived the Zombie attack, then what do I do?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, then you don’t worry about any session and you run for your life. You run, Pete. I don’t know where but you go somewhere and you hide under a desk. No, but I just want to say-

Pete Wright: I Will Smith it.

Nikki Kinzer: … I just want to say, I get what you’re saying but I want to challenge that for people because you don’t have to have a coach to do this. You have people, there’s a lot of different people that can help you with this. And I’m going to say colleagues. If it’s a work environment, colleagues, coworkers, bosses, people that you connect with at a networking event. I don’t know. You can talk to people about this. Now, of course, you’re feeling stuck. So you want to pick people that you trust. So you’re not going to just go to Joe Schmo and say, "Hey, I have this problem. Can you help me unblock it?"

Nikki Kinzer: I realize that’s not the case but I do want you to look at your communities. The ADHD community, they get this. They understand how hard it is to get started on something that they feel stuck on. So go to the patreon, go to our Discord and say, "Hey, need some help." I know someone in that community is going to help you unblock this and give you a lot of encouragement to tackle it. Other ADHD communities, ADDA, a fabulous organization. You guys, seriously, check it out. It’s for adults and they have several different body double sessions that you can do.

Nikki Kinzer: And so you can find a body double through ADDA. Focusmate, you can find a complete stranger to work with at any time of the day to work with. Now, they aren’t going to necessarily give you the questions or the gently questioned questions that I gave. But they can help you get started because they’re there as a body double. And so, I think it’s not looking at what you can’t or don’t have, but what do you have? What can you create with other people who are going through the same thing? That’s what’s important. And to know that it’s there, it’s available.

Nikki Kinzer: And if you have an opportunity to join a coaching group. Or do you have a coach, that’s great, but I know it’s not for everyone. And it’s an investment that not everybody can afford but there are other ways to do it. There’s other ways to find this type of help. But when you try to do it by yourself, it’s hard. It makes it even harder because it’s really easy to say I don’t have anyone.

Pete Wright: Yeah. You just gave me an idea.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: I want to float this. I want to float this out for you. You have to be missing a little piece of your frontal lobe to make this work. So just bear with me.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: Now that the mask mandates are falling and people are feeling more comfortable going out … I haven’t done this yet. I haven’t worked at a coffee shop yet but I have this idea. Go to a coffee shop, settle down, settle in to get your latte, open your laptop and then find someone else in the coffee shop and make them your body double. Don’t even say anything.

Nikki Kinzer: Exactly.

Pete Wright: Just stare at them when you need a buddy and imagine what they would be saying if they were Nikki. And now you have a person with Nikki’s head on it in your head and they’re body doubling you. That easy.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: And don’t hold the gaze too long because then you get weird.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s true.

Pete Wright: It’s got to be just the perfect timing. Body double Nikki’s head on someone else in a coffee shop.

Nikki Kinzer: That is so creepy to me.

Pete Wright: You were right there with it before creepy hit you.

Nikki Kinzer: I know but then I’m thinking that my head is on somebody else’s body. That’s so weird. And yeah, but you get the point.

Pete Wright: So good.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright: Yeah. No, this is it. I think we’ve solved it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah.

Pete Wright: Well, we solved it. It’s done. Everybody go unblock and tackle but don’t play football-

Nikki Kinzer: … with unblocking because-

Pete Wright: This is not a football strategy.

Nikki Kinzer: … that is not what you do when you play football.

Pete Wright: That’s the title of the show, unblocking and tackling, not a football strategy.

Nikki Kinzer: But this is what I’m curious about, is I want to know what people think about this. This is a little bit different of a show that we’ve done because it’s a case study, this happened, I’m sharing with you, the success. I’m sharing with you that, "Hey, we had this same conversation last week. We had to go back to this." But I’m really curious about what people do think. And is it something that you can look at in your own life and say, "Okay, the first session is going to be me unblocking this. How can I just get started? What is the easiest way or easiest thing for me to do in the shortest amount of time, whatever?" Get that energy going, get that success, that confidence being built. And then going into another session later saying, "Okay, I’ve got it. I’m doing it." I’m just curious what people think?

Pete Wright: That’s what I was going for with the whole thing about what if I don’t have a body double and you threw the limiting belief flag and we had to go down that road. But this is my real point. I believe, since you started doing the GPS sessions with the Monday, Thursday, I have really had it in my head that separate days to do separate tasks on my calendar is incredibly useful to create a ritual around how you plan. And I’m already a time blocker, right? So I’m already accustomed to hyper scheduling. But I really love this, putting a session on the calendar. That’s like every Tuesday, I’m going to have a one-hour unblocking session where I build momentum for Thursdays-

Nikki Kinzer: It’s a great idea.

Pete Wright: … a tackling session and make it a practice. That was the sense of my leading question earlier. Was like, "Can you make it a practice?" And I believe you can. I think you actually could do this as long as you manage a system enough to document the work that you have to do clearly enough. I think it is really possible to make this a practice after you do it with a body double, occasionally, to get the habit going. I think you could do it.

Nikki Kinzer: I think so, too. Absolutely.

Pete Wright: Which is great because of the Zombie apocalypse.

Nikki Kinzer: Just in case.

Pete Wright: Like you’ve already established. At some point, you might need to do this on your own because of Zombies. So I’m pretty excited about it. That’s the end. We’ve done it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, that’s it. Right.

Pete Wright: We’ve done the whole thing.

Nikki Kinzer: I love it.

Pete Wright: Well, thank you everybody for downloading and listening to this show. We sure appreciate your time and your attention. Don’t forget, it is March pledge drive month. Head into patreon.com/the ADHD podcast to learn more. You’ll get access to all of the goodies that everybody gets this month, just right up until April 1st. And then like a bad, bad joke, it all vanishes into the mist. And Josie just wrote and said she’s recovered from the cholera. We’ll see you at home right there in the show talk channel in Discord. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright, and we’ll see you right back here next week on Taking Control, the ADHD podcast.

Pete Wright: I remember how my dad managed his work. He was a news director at a busy television station and he managed his day with a desktop blotter pad that had a giant tear-off monthly calendar on it. New tasks would come up. He would just pick up this gold pen that my mom had given him for Christmas and he would write in it, in the square, for each day on that big pad. And then he would get on with his work. He was never a big coffee drinker but for some reason, I have this memory of brown rings in the pad inscribed in his weekends on that big desk calendar. Dad didn’t need much to keep his life together, just a big pad of paper and a gold pen.

Pete Wright: I think it was out of a sense of inflated high school, self importance, that I felt I needed to level up dad’s system. I remember the first time I tried my day runner, pretty sure my mom bought it for me for Christmas, my freshman year high school. I would carry that thing everywhere, meticulously updating contact, phone numbers by hand and calendar dates with homework and school events. I had these five-inch pages, right? And so, I would buy those plastic inserts for all of my cards, membership cards, school ID, credit cards. I don’t know. Did I have a credit card in high school?

Pete Wright: Anyway, from there it was on to Franklin Quest, the single best paper based life management system I ever used. It was supposed to be the same system that Ben Franklin himself used. Honestly, I could never quite picture old Ben managing his bookshelf of prior year planners, like I did. Didn’t he have better stuff to do Anyway, it’s about this time that I realized I was a productivity nerd because I already knew I was a technology nerd. I spent my days playing the Bard’s Tale and dialing into the old community BBS for hints, really rocking the whole war games vibe.

Speaker 3: Shall we play a game?

Pete Wright: Windows 3.1, of course, offered a whole world of personal productivity that came in the form of Lotus organizer. It was incredible. ASCUE Morphic Digital Notebook on my screen, a complete digital replication of my paper planner. I quickly migrated from the Franklin Quest to ones and zeros and I never looked back, until I looked back. See, I still loved pen and paper. What was I going to do?

Pete Wright: I’m older, not that old, but a lot older than I was when I realized just how quickly I could become fixated with productivity and technology and processes and systems and all the things. I’ll be honest and I know a lot of you listening can relate to this, my ADHD has been a boat anchor, most of my life. Forcing me to hyper focus on keeping track of my work when I really should be getting busy, doing my work. This has been true since I first cracked the spine of my day runner and it is still true to this very day. And that’s the conflict. I don’t think I had a clear sense of it back then.

Pete Wright: But what I have come to realize over the years is that when our systems are really cranking, it’s when they’re made of the tools we love. Doesn’t matter if they’re pen and paper, ones and zeros, chisel and tablet. In those moments that I feel like I’m able to conjure the energy and attention to change the world, it’s when the tools I’ve picked as my outsourced brain have worked with me to unlock magic.

Pete Wright: I’m Pete Wright. Welcome to Placeholder. This is a show about the tech we use while we’re waiting for something better. We’re going to talk about tools and systems and apps and communication and all the things that we can accomplish when we let ourselves fall in love with them. Most important though, this is a show that is dedicated to and exclusively for members of the Taking Control ADHD podcast community on Patreon. Visit patreon.com/theADHD podcast and join us today. Placeholder launches in April, 2022.

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.