Have You Hit Your Neglected Areas Today?

Over the past few weeks since I moved to Paris, I’ve taken advantage of the rare opportunity to build my life and schedule from scratch.  I’ve noticed that even with this liberty, I am neglecting some minor things with major impacts — calling friends back home, keeping up my yoga practice, etc.  In the interest of making my experience beneficial to others, I want to share what I’ve come up with to counter this problem.
Most people, with or without executive dysfunctionality, have a few seemingly small (but actually important) areas of their lives that they often neglect.  For many (myself included), these tend to be related to some aspect of self-care.  Mine, for example, are keeping up with social ties, exercise, home maintenance, spiritual practices (i.e., meditation) and reading for pleasure, all of which, in one way or several, affect my health, well-being, and overall stability in life.

According to one of my favorite ADD-management books, time-management experts have identified four areas of “high-priority activities” that are most neglected: socializing, doing paperwork, reading, and exercise.  These ring true with that “self-care” idea: socializing takes care of our crucial human need for social interaction and gives us an outlet for our joys and frustrations; doing paperwork on a regular basis, like it or not, keeps our administrative duties from snowballing into major stressors; reading (and other brain-stimulating recreational activities) gives us a break from daily stress, calms and nourishes our minds, and/or helps us process what’s going on in our lives; and exercise has too many benefits to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being that I can’t begin to list them in a paragraph.

In recognition of this all-too-human tendency to shoot oneself in the foot, I have added a new touchstone in my Daily Reviews (a practice I have yet to detail here, but to which I referred in my overview of the System).  In the morning as I look at the day ahead, I am naming one thing I can do in at least one of neglected areas.  At night, when I am checking out with my daily planner, I ask myself, “Have I hit my neglected areas today?  How?”  This is a new experiment, but I hypothesize that these additions to my daily routine will help me pay appropriate attention to these oft-overlooked, important but not urgent areas.

  • What are four areas of your life to which you want to give more attention?  
  • Do these things support your overall well-being and life balance?  How?
  • Name one thing you can do today to support these areas.

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