I Need to Declutter & Here’s a Glimmer of Hope

Admission: I have spent several months with one foot in my business project, and one foot in being a stay-at-home mom (that was my full-time gig up until this year when my youngest daughter started preschool – now it’s only most of time!) I find myself not really being able to give my heart to either very effectively in the moments that I need to. Over the years I’ve become anxious of taking the plunge into ADD-hyperfocus mode, which has kept me just short of finishing some fabulous ideas which are sitting at about 90% done. I want to do more.

Today I started a Skillshare class, and it is REALLY good, you guys! It’s by motivational speaker and life coach TJ Walker, and he calls it How to Organize your Home Effectively. I knew I would get more motivated to tackle the house if I watched it listened to something on the subject. One of the important questions he asked is for us to define our “why?”

My why: I want to feel unburdened so I can start my blog/business without all the guilt. I’ve heard that clutter is a result of indecision, and I’m finding clutter also creates MORE indecision, since I can’t decide whether to work on the clutter or something more meaningful to me.

So now as I approach decluttering, I’m thinking it’s actually best for me to cultivate a mindset, not motivation and willpower and focus, or determination and endurance. I need to just get in the mindset of being decisive. I don’t even need to feel “inspired”. I don’t even need to do it for very long at once.

Being decisive doesn’t mean I know I’m making “the right choice”. It means I’m able and willing to handle the consequences of whatever choice I make. It’s kind of like being… Confident.

There you go, a little motivation for both of us and a blog post written in only 30 minutes! Write YOUR “why” in the comments; in other words, the reason you want to do this hard thing, whatever is staring you in the face, then go do it! šŸ„°

Update: Important realization – I still had to get myself used to the idea of doing it even once I made the decision. Once I started, I gradually gained momentum. Nowhere near where I want to be, but I can’t expect to do it all in a day (maybe that’s why I keep hesitating? Is that my unrealistic expectation?) I am glad to have the advice from any geniuses out there with suggestions for keeping up on papers!

What’s Next? (Don’t put it off!)

I’m going to walk you through my mental process of creative problem solving. Of course all the mental dialogue took place in seconds, but I’ll slow down the pace a bit to keep it comprehensible. šŸ˜‰ Here we go…

Problem (aka circumstance): Last night I really wanted to start in on my latest recording project *but* I knew that I should get back into doing my evening routine, since my routines had been neglected for the past several days. All week I had the driving thought, “How much can I get done with this little piece of time?” “Ooh, here’s a dull moment, let me escape into this, my latest obsession…” (Classic ADHD thing)

Realization: I stopped a momentĀ and recognized that everything I wanted to do was part of a rather endless project. (How many times have I told myself? “Don’t start projects at bedtime!”)

Resolution: Endless projects cannot be allowed to fill all available time.

Initial Solution: So, I turned my internal dial to “slightly more responsible”, and instead asked myself,Ā “What is it I’m supposed to be doing right now?”Ā 

Setback: That’s a complicated question, actually. I often get stuck in a hamster wheel of what am I supposed to do now? What am I supposed to do now? (Classic anxiety response to an ADHD thing)

Better approach: I found it to be more helpful to ask myself, “What’s coming up next?”

I used to think people only said, “What’s next?” when they had accomplished everything they needed to and were ready to move on, but I’ve observed that “what’s next?” is a question that organized people regularly ask themselves, even when they’re NOT finished yet and NOT quite ready to wrap things up or move on. Hmm, curious…

Good advice: They check in frequently just so they can be ready for what’s coming.

Solution: I can do that. Since the thing that was coming up next for me was bedtime (a couple hours hence) I thought, “What do I need to do before I can start getting ready for bed?” I went through a mentalĀ checklist;

  • Drink lots of water
  • Set out medications and breakfast dishes for tomorrow
  • Be sure there are clean dishes for breakfast
  • Be sure there is no wet laundry waiting for me
  • Lock exterior doors
  • Check THE TO-DO LIST

Setback: UGHHH… My natural instinct is to feel overwhelmed at facing whatever is coming up next, even small things such as calling the doctor, emailing a teacher, setting up that darn voicemail (again!?) Sometimes I feel totally lost, unsure what’s expected of me, but other times, like tonight, I know what I need to do next and I inwardly groan, because I know I’m behind, so I don’t even want to think about it.Ā 

**Dangerous thought! Quarantine it when found!**

Better approach: Thinking about a problem is the first step to solving it – don’t avoid that first step! What is it exactly our brains are protecting us from by steering is away from thinking about what’s uncomfortable? Be willing to ask yourself hard questions even when you’re NOT feeling “ready”.Ā Seriously, just thinking about something can initiate the stress of being in the middle of the situation, and our brains seem to think everything will be catastrophic. (Classic anxiety thing)

**Getting into a habit of ignoring problems exacerbates the problem.**

Solution: With that thought in mind, I knew it was crucial for me to really face my upcoming responsibilities tonight, not just go on in blissful ignorance until I’m slapped upside the head by the panic monster after they become due.

Action: I sat down and began planning the next day, and eventually planned for the whole upcoming week (for the first time in a while!) I hadn’t felt very much like “adulting” when I started, but I accepted some temporary discomfort, and motivation showed up as I got into the groove. I reminded myself not to be afraid to merely think about something. I coached myself as I might coach a client:

  • Some of these to-do’s are more urgent than others, focus there.
  • Some things are already past due (oh THAT’S what I had been avoiding) but that does not mean I am a failure. No shame in imperfection.
  • Some things do seem daunting, but that doesn’t mean I’m required to feel overwhelmed. I have a choice.
  • Affirmation: I’m experienced enough – with breaking tasks down into smaller, bite-sized pieces – that I can really have faith in the process.

Result: When I was done planning I felt so much better! I knew that I had made a map that I could follow, and all was not lost.

Bonus: It’s a more wholesome pleasure to spend a few minutes outlining a blog post now with my responsibilities behind me, rather than having them looming large ahead of me.

Moral of the story: This is one of the most critical things for people with ADHD (or for anyone, really) to learn: When we are facing a potential conflict, like needing to decide what’s for dinner, or have a delicate conversation,Ā or plan an event, our brain is wired to protect us from whatever it is that we fear, whether it is worth fearing or not. Have you ever noticed that?

Avoidance is so stressful! Living in the  moment is not what “being present” really means. Ease and instant gratification are only fleeting illusions. Living without regard to the future is a recipe for stress, disappointment, anxiety, and continued avoidance.

Better approach: We all can learn to recognize that not every fear crossing our mind is valid. When we live mindfully, we can notice those feelings that pop up, and we can scrutinize them. I would encourage you to get into the habit of cross-examining yourself when you feel like escaping.

Embrace those fears, look at your calendar for tomorrow, see what is coming up next week and beyond, and make a habit of actually doing it! (That’s a subject for another post!)

Tell me, what is it that you are avoiding right now? Is it something that’s coming up, or something that’s been building up?

Is This Blog for Me? (I Don’t Have ADHD…)

A person with ADHD is, first and foremost, a person. If you are also a person, you might enjoy the content of this blog. šŸ˜‰

This is particularlyĀ true if you have ever experienced any of the following “symptoms”:

  • You have procrastinated
  • You’ve gotten distracted
  • You’ve been forgetful
  • You’ve struggled to get organized
  • You’ve struggled to prioritize
  • You’ve felt overwhelmed or “scattered”
  • You’ve been disappointed in how little you accomplished

Also if you:

  • Care about someone with ADHD and want to understand how to better relate to or assist them (good for you!)
  • Have imagination and can apply wisdom from someone else’s life to your own life, even though you don’t have exactly the same life! šŸ˜€

What if I don’t even believe ADHD is real?

  • That’s nothing we needĀ to quarrel about. Consider any mention of ADHD to be shorthand for regular people who struggle sometimes with executive functioning skills (see list ofĀ “symptoms”, above). I believe the struggle is more or less universal, especially now that we have devices thatĀ can soothe and distract us at any time of day or night.
  • I don’t plan to promote any specific dietary or pharmaceutical intervention, or even natural remedies. I will leave that part of the discussion to the professionals.
  • I do encourage people to do some things for their general well being (such as regular sleep, exercise, developing confidence, nurturing healthy relationships, etc.)
I’ve lived it! I’ve been gradually learning how to turn my ADHD from a liability to an asset.

So, if you are someone who has a general fascination with the human brain and behavior and would enjoy reading a unique perspective on the subject, or better yet if you want real-life strategies to apply what you’ve learned, then WELCOME! This blog is for you

My aim is to share habits, strategies and coping skills that can help shape positive mindset and behavior. I feel that focus on these areas is a necessary part of any person overcoming any obstacle, whatever their struggle may be.

Morning Motivation

Waking up early is well known as a habit adopted by many successful people. Getting a jump on the day helps us avoid that feeling of being rushed and constantly behind. It’s also well established that people develop habits best when we have positive motivation, or better yet, a little instant gratification! Do you know what has ended up being the force behind my drive to get up early recently? Getting the chance to see a beautiful sunrise šŸ˜šŸ˜šŸ˜!

I’m slightly obsessed with clouds from an artistic standpoint, and I yearn to unlock the mystery of how to properly paint them.

Being bathed in a warm glow as pops of pink travel across the sky is a bit more real and powerful than checking boxes on a list or making an “unbroken chain” on an app. I do recommended using those mechanical methods when you need to, but find yourself a little joy whenever you are able. Learn to crave it!*

Today I was that crazy lady walking outside on the culdesac in her bathrobe (not a practice I recommend in most places) taking pictures of the sky, because life is BEAUTIFUL! (Can you tell yet that it put me in a good mood?) When I get eccentric I remind myself of my maternal grandmother, and then that only encourages me. šŸ˜„

I dragged my junior high kids out to join me (they are the reason I have to get up by 6:00, after all…) One rolled her eyes and went back in the house, the other got excited right along with me, and waved to the neighbors who were getting ready for their morning commute, calling out, “Look at the sky!”

“Oh! Hey there bud,” I whispered, “let’s not actually draw attention to ourselves!” (Sometimes that child is more Grandmamom than I am!) I ducked inside. For a minute. Then I couldn’t resist going back out one last time!

The glorious thing about the sky is that it’s available for any of us who seek it. Our view may be limited, but we can make the choice to either cast our eyes upward, or just continue about our day, perhaps complaining about the glare that makes it difficult to drive. Take a look around you, what do you have that you might have overlooked that can help pull you toward your goals? If you need help with some perspective here, schedule a Creative Consultation with me and we can talk about how to apply this concept to areas you may need motivation in your life.

*Developing a craving for a habit is a concept I learned from The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. Purchasing a copy through my affiliate link helps support this blog https://amzn.to/33BY4mP Or create an Amazon list of books to check out at your local library, and save this there!

Have we met?

Have you ever had an “Ah-ha!” moment so big, you just wanted to share it with the whole world!? Maybe it’s a book you loved, or a truth you discovered, or a hack that someone else shared with you. I feel like I’ve recently had about two years worth of Ah-ha’s, and it’s time that I start to share them! I am thrilled to begin publishing ideas and inspiration in the form of artistic visuals and perhaps videos, but I can’t wait for every detail to be perfected in order for me to be ready to share. I’m ready to share now!


My name is Janina Glass, and I am the mother of some awesome kiddos who have come to my husband and I through birth as well as through the blessing of adoption. I am an artist, a writer, a performer, and a lifelong learner. I also have ADHD, which is kind of like always having shoelaces untied as I wander about my brain trying to remember where I set my toast. (If that made any sense to you at all, I deeply apologize. Welcome to the club!) It can be pretty comical, though often frustrating, depending how I choose to look at it that day.

I remember at about age 15 having the first of many ah-hah moments. I read a book that changed my outlook on life. It was <a href="http://<iframe style="width:120px;height:240px;" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=janinadawn-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0312144776&asins=0312144776&linkId=0668e13be36a810821cb69e82ab900d7&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=false&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff"> How to Argue and Win Every Time,Ā by Gerry Spence. It’s been while, so I don’t remember all the details, though I do recall my motherĀ seeing it in my handsĀ and suddenly looking very concerned that her argumentative teenage daughter may be holding a lethal weapon! It really was a good thing; it opened up my mindĀ to the world of personal growth, andĀ I was hooked!

There were two profound truths in it for me:

  1. My definition of “winning” was all wrong. It wasn’t about proving my point, or the other party admitting I was right. Sometimes winning was choosing not to pursue the argument, sometimes it was deciding that the relationship was more valuable than the conflict. That can be winning too, to just walk away.
  2. We are the most persuasive when we are simply revealing the honest, vulnerable truth.

I believe the most valuable thing I can bring to you will be delivered from my own place of vulnerability, which will hopefully lead you, dear reader, to a place of greater strength. My goal is to keep each post readably brief and readily actionable. So for today I will simply leave you with those thoughts I gleaned from Gerry Spence, summarized in my own words:
Be honest in all you say, be brave as you reveal your true self, and be willing to let go of what does not ultimately matter most.

honest brave willing to let go infographic