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PandaPrincess

Setting Goals and Getting Things Done

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PandaPrincess

I want to draw more and actually write a manga, and I want to crochet more and I want to learn Japanese, but I'm not getting anywhere with my goals.  I'm just completely overwhelmed and haven't done anything, and I hate trying to do one of the goals at a time because then I feel like I'm neglecting some of the other things I want to do.  I'm on spring break now, and all I've been doing is sitting around in my room and watching tv and playing video games.  Which I like to do, but I feel guilty because I'm not getting anything done.  It feels impossible to do anything besides eat, sleep, play games, watch tv.  I don't really understand how anyone does it.

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Peridot

I can only do one thing at a time. It's hard for me to switch between different artistic endeavours. Right now I'm focussing on one thing and then when I'm done I'm going to go work on something else again. Any project just demands my total attention and laser like focus.

If I was to constantly switch I don't think I'd really get anywhere… I think it would result in me giving less than 100% whenever I work on any of the things.

But that's just the way it goes for me. Maybe it's different for different people.

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Sanctuary

I feel much the same. I don't really have any answers other than trying to do one thing at a time which as you said can feel like the other aims are being neglected. I think we need to recognise how difficult it is to do many different things outside of those we have to such as work - it's hard for anyone but even more so for someone with ASD. There are some people who do seem able to do so but they are a small minority and we need to avoid - however tempting it is - to compare ourselves to them. We should remember that there are many people who don't have any of these aims to better themselves and should commend ourselves for at least wanting to broaden our skills, knowledge and experience, even if we find it difficult to do so.

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Max000
9 hours ago, PandaPrincess said:

I want to draw more and actually write a manga, and I want to crochet more and I want to learn Japanese, but I'm not getting anywhere with my goals.  I'm just completely overwhelmed and haven't done anything, and I hate trying to do one of the goals at a time because then I feel like I'm neglecting some of the other things I want to do.  I'm on spring break now, and all I've been doing is sitting around in my room and watching tv and playing video games.  Which I like to do, but I feel guilty because I'm not getting anything done.  It feels impossible to do anything besides eat, sleep, play games, watch tv.  I don't really understand how anyone does it.

I think you have too many goals. Pick one and focus on it. 

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PandaPrincess

Thanks, guys.  I think I have a better plan on how to tackle my goals now.  I started to draw some splatoon fanart a while back to get better at drawing.  All I need to do is finish the umbrella and draw the background and I'll be done with that, so that's what I'm going to focus on first.  There are these dragon stitch gloves I want to crochet, so when I'm finished with the drawing, I'll work on those.  Then I can finish the dragon stitch hood.  Those things don't take too much time to do, so when I'm finished, I can work more on my manga.  I can learn a little Japanese on the side, like maybe a few words here and there.  Sounds like a good plan!

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Alice
On 4/2/2019 at 3:31 PM, PandaPrincess said:

I want to draw more and actually write a manga, and I want to crochet more and I want to learn Japanese, but I'm not getting anywhere with my goals.  I'm just completely overwhelmed and haven't done anything, and I hate trying to do one of the goals at a time because then I feel like I'm neglecting some of the other things I want to do.  I'm on spring break now, and all I've been doing is sitting around in my room and watching tv and playing video games.  Which I like to do, but I feel guilty because I'm not getting anything done.  It feels impossible to do anything besides eat, sleep, play games, watch tv.  I don't really understand how anyone does it.

Write a list of why you genuinely love this task - so when you feel frustration, boredom etc.. you can reconnect with why

For me, if I "have" to do something, it sucks the creative joy out of it - it doesnt feel like play, doesnt feel explorative, light and my own. If I place my self-worth at risk based on my productivity, or put myself under pressure for approval - it kills it, and I hate what I produce like this. Its inauthentic.

Brene Brown has a quote I remind myself of daily something like "no matter what gets done today, or how much is left undone, I am unconditionally worthy and enough" 
Here is the actual quote:
“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

Also you still need the computer games, or things to tune out recharge etc.. Give yourself complete permission to enjoy them when you choose to without guilt or shame. If you always have a safe space to come back to thats completely okay to do, it feels safer and easier to explore new things and do things that contain more uncertainty, and you feel less like you need it 24-7 (but you may still need it a lil more than NTs/or "normal")

Lastly - maybe this answer I wrote on Quora might help for the question "Do people with Autism give up easily?". Only if you want to read it, its kind of relevant I think - to not push yourself to burnout, to recognise inertia etc..- you have to figure out a way that works for you and your unique learning and creative needs. Best of luck

"Its not as simple as that.

On one hand autistic people can be extremely focused and driven when able to pursue a passion or interest that is important to them. They are very unlikely to give up here.

Autistic people learn differently - it has to be by interest, for the motivation to occur and they will often want to pursue it exclusively. This means that if they forced to pursue other things they do not enjoy - such as in schools, universities, jobs, other expectations or commitment, their momentum dries up. Or if they have to pursue a wide range of tasks and are not able to pursue they interest enough, again motivation and internal momentum will dry up and the autistic individual will appear to ‘give up’ or ‘not be trying’.

This is also partly due to autistic inertia. Autistic people are like a heavy boulder - they can take a bit to warm up and get into a task, once they get going they can stick to it well - even focus better than most people for longer periods (hyperfocus), but it makes task-switching difficult, because there is momentum behind the current task. They may need space, a break to unwind from the previous task, and time to warm up into the new one to effectively task switch. A standard education on one hour subject changes is not appropriate for an autistic person. They may seem to do well on the first task, but be unable to engage with further, different tasks or subjects, but this is not due to giving up or not trying - its just how their neurological system functions.

There is also autistic burnout - this is more for autistic people who can mask in order to pass as neurotypical. They have studied their peers, perhaps through TV, books and observation and mimic neurotypical voice inflection, conversation patterns, copied speech, body language - all the things that neurotypicals do intuitively and fairly naturally, autistic people are orchestrating - and juggling with intense effort, all while holding in their coping mechanisms like stimming and difficult reactions to sensory and social information. This can lead to a complete burnout - on smaller and larger scales.

This often occurs in higher-functioning individuals and those who have gone undiagnosed into adulthood and had to learn to appear normal to survive. Autism is a completely invisible disability, so those who can pass as normal often dont recieve the support they need, them trying to continuously compensate for their disability alone - and meet expectations unsuited to them as a person, can lead to complete exhaustion, burnout and a reduction in level of functioning. A person may find they are no longer able to handle a work or school environment, when previously they seemed to be coping just fine from the outside, they may need to withdraw completely to recharge their batteries deeply, and adjust to a different way of doing things that doesnt lead to the same result of burnout. Iit is not the same as a meltdown which is just sensory overload and the individual may need decomprension time alone, without sensory input or with a particular stim to soothe them. Burnout can last weeks, months, or even years depending on its severity. It is not for lack of trying - it is from too much trying in a world that doesnt fit or acknowledge them."

Edited by Alice

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Sanctuary

Very good points and advice Alice. I agree that personal interests or hobbies should not be turned into chores - they should be things we want to do, not have to do. There are plenty of things in life we have to do without making what should be our free time into - in effect - work time as well. I must stress this isn't often a conscious process. It's certainly happened many times to me and it's frustrating when what started off as satisfying and enjoyable turns into an obligation. Perhaps autistic people are more prone to this as they have a greater desire for learning - learning can be fun but we can have a tendency to burden it with rules and requirements of various kinds. We need to be more sensitive to our mood and motivation and only do things when we feel the motivation is there - however if it is there we should also feel free to pursue it as long as we feel appropriate (allowing of course for not neglecting the things we genuinely have to do). I also agree that no-one should feel guilty for doing things that are purely for enjoyment. Not everything in life has to be about "bettering ourselves" and we all need our indulgences. 

Your ideas on inertia and autism are very perceptive, particularly the boulder analogy. Boulders can move - sometimes extremely well - but they need a big push to get going and then can take a lot of stopping; also they are not so good at sudden changes of direction. However boulders and other heavy objects / vehicles can start, stop and change direction very effectively when used in the right way. This means we should not be so hard on ourselves when we find it hard to start activities, to switch between them or even stopping something on which we have momentum. Equally we need others to recognise that we can do the same things as neurotypical people but may need more time, support and consideration to do so, especially in terms of dealing with change. 

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