2 Things Right, 1 Thing to Improve

Written by Lacey Cottingham

“I’m just too lazy”

“I just don’t care enough to do it”

“If I deserved (this) I’d do (that).”

Have you said these things to yourself?

Maybe you hear this from other people:

“I just don’t understand why it’s so easy for you to do the dishes, but you can’t check the mail on your way in the door.” 

“You just need to get a routine, and do it even when you don’t want to. Stop being lazy!”

While that last comment may be trying to be helpful, I want to suggest a different angle. Instead of making you match the routine, let’s analyze why certain parts of your routine are working, and put that onto the things that aren’t.

I offer to you, the “2 things right, 1 thing to improve” technique* as a way of making your routine work for you.

How it’s done:

Let’s pick a thing you want to do, and it’s just not happening.

Now, pick 2 things you have no problem doing at all.

We are going to analyze these situations in fine detail. Go back to your who, what, when, and where. Put those together and you’ll get some good ideas as to the why.

These are questions to ask yourself as you analyze the tasks:

  • Who is there with you? (or not!)
  • What is going on around you? What are you wearing? What had you just been doing? What emotion were you feeling? What can you smell? (Hear, Taste, and Touch as well!).
  • When: Hour, Day of the Week, during work, after work?
  • Where: Home or out of the home? What room in the home?

Do this with both activities that are going well or getting done. Look for any commonalities. If there are no commonalities, what is it about each activity that gives you energy to do them? Focus on that thought. If you do not have an answer, look at what is absent from these activities that may be present in the activity that is not being completed.

Finally, take the common thing and try to add it to what isn’t working.

For example:

I’ve taken these questions and answered them as if I had a session with “Jane”.

Washing the dogs: Happens every Friday at 2pm, wearing favorite shirt while doing it, water is warm, shampoo is mint scented, happy music is playing, no one is home except “Jane” and the dogs.

Laundry: Happens at 9:30pm every Friday. Not wearing anything in particular. Fresh clothes smell like mint. Favorite Netflix show is playing in the background. Other people are usually not home but sometimes they are.

Washing the dishes: Not happening.

So the common or potential things are: Smell of mint and audio stimuli in the background.

It’s possible the people are a factor, but test the smell and audio first. If your core intuition starts screaming it’s the people, that’s fine! The whole point of this exercise is to observe what’s working for you and listen to your intuition/body.

If Jane were my client I would suggest they get mint smelling dish soap OR they turn on their favorite netflix show/youtuber/music while trying to do dishes.

Note/Disclaimer: * I found this exercise through my involvement with pockets of the neurodivergent community online. I have tried my hardest to find if someone else published this idea first (via any social media platform) and I can’t find it. If you came up with this idea first, please send me proof and I will edit this post to give you the credit you deserve.