Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Useful Systems

Yesterday my neuropsychologist said,

"You seem to have some strategies for doing things. I am wondering how successful they are."

My response, "Is that your way of asking me if they work or are you just thinking out loud," while mildly amusing at the time sent me off on a tangent.

I had just completed the cognitive testing following the completion of the exercise study in which I participated. One of the tests is to listen to a list of 12 words and repeat back as many of them as you can remember. (SPOILER ALERT: If you ever have to take a nueropsych evaluation test and you are afraid you might come across as smarter than you really are do not read the rest of this paragraph.) I find and have always found this an incredibly easy test because the words always fall into exactly 3 categories each of which has exactly 4 words. For example, there could be 4 vegetables, 4 gardening tools, and 4 jungle animals. Apparently, most people taking the test don't see this and just try to memorize a list of 12 random words. 

Later during the session after a few other sub-tests, the tester says, "Do you remember that list of words I gave you? How many do you think you can remember?" Well, to me, the obvious response is "12," or "All of them." If they want me to list the words why not say, "Please list as many of the words as you can remember?"

So, off we went on a tangent, that led to another tangent and Dr. T's query was never addressed. At least not that I can recall. When I reflected on the session during my walk home, I felt embarrassed that instead of taking advantage of my therapist's training and wisdom to learn something new, I was paying a rapt audience of 1 to practice my stand-up routine. Oops.

It left me thinking about my strategies. I am a creative problem solver and do generate many excellent strategies but do I use them enough to make them habit? No, probably not. I like to think it is the curse of the creative mind that the ability to generate many solutions is linked to the inability to execute them successfully, thoroughly, or repeatedly. A never-ending loop is developed because as one strategy is forgotten a problem is created generating the opportunity for yet another solution. Often in my infinite wisdom, I pat myself on the back for coming up with a great "new" idea, and then the mocking disorganized mess of my computer's Documents file reveals that there exists a file last modified on February 15, 2009 with evidence of that same novel concept. Yes, another BIM. That is my new acronym for brain injury moments. Without the sisyphean battle trying to hold on to my job as a teacher occupying all of my energy, I am finally able to notice, reflect on, and even laugh at some of my BIMs.

Today when my husband left for work, he said take care of what you need to do. Of course, he was referring to my effort to create a packing list for my upcoming trip. Here I am blogging. Earlier this morning I decided to try a new strategy and was so excited by how successful it was, I came up with another strategy to help me use it again. Blog about it.

Here it is:

Okay I just wasted 15 minutes (maybe more) trying to figure out why bluetooth sharing will not allow me to turn it on so I can send the photo of the awesome new system I created to my computer. I am off to use the new system to re-photograph it with a digital camera. Timer set for 5 minutes.

Well, the best laid plans... blah blah blah. My battery was dead and I got involved in a street incident and so now the police are on the way.

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