Do You Suffer From OAD? Obsessive Avoidance Disorder?

Do You Suffer From OAD? Obsessive Avoidance Disorder?

Obsessive Avoidance Disorder

I do not want to be doing half the things that I have on my list. I love coaching and leading corporate training but could leave the rest. So, I do what I can to avoid them. You too?

I am feeling OAD big time. The sun is shining, and I wish I was outside and not sitting at my desk with some admin tasks that feel tedious and daunting.

I am trying to get curious as to what works for me by conducting my own science experiment on my self. I am my own grade 6 (ok maybe more like grade 2, some days) science fair.

I am constantly experimenting with things like what time of the day I’m more creative, more energized, more intuitive, and more productive.

Which habits support me, and which don’t?

My reasons for the experiments?

Without the awareness of what works and what doesn’t, I have no idea how to run my life or my businesses or help my clients run theirs. When we aren’t aware, we are run by our unconscious mind and that’s not always the best. We end up fighting with ourselves and what comes naturally. We are rolling a huge rock uphill. Blech.

There’s no one size fits all approach. Thus, the experimental nature of this.

We all long for the simple answer. Thinking things like if I do this then I will get this result.

Perfect, all sorted!

Our brains even reward us with a hit of dopamine, think a spark of joy, when we think we have found a pattern that works. Sometimes we need a multi system approach to being effective.

Lately I have tonnes on my plate and some of it terrifies me a bit. My calendar is quite full and on top of that I am lacking instructors for my First Aid company which leaves me having to pick up the slack.

Many days I do corporate training and coaching all day and then head off to teach a CPR class ( I know-so not glamourous) and truth be told I’ve been feeling anxious and am not as engaged as I need to be to keep things moving.

This part of the science fair project is called “Leona has OAD” Obsessive Avoidance Disorder. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my particular form of pathology.

Of course, this goes against my uber-disciplined side so while my gremlins beat me up for not accomplishing what I should be doing, I sometimes am not as effective as I need to be right now and am frankly even losing some sleep. Please tell me I’m not alone.

So, I’ve set aside the shoulds and get down to the brass tacks of productivity.

More on Love at Lunch.


Here’s what helps. Mix these up and try some out. Be your own science fair. It might even be fun while you get a lot done 😉.

Set an intention. What’s a word that defines what you want the next week to look like?

Mine is Ease, this week. The week looks less than easy, but it will remind me of the shifts that I can focus on to keep that the goal.

Perhaps you need a brain dump and the 4 D’s of productivity – get this tool here

Find your focus time. Is there a time of day that you tend to be able to work best? Pay attention to when you are naturally more engaged.

Set time aside for priorities (put this in your calendar)

Turn off all the buzzers, dingers, and notifications. It takes 12 minutes for your brain to get reengaged after you’ve been distracted. All those notifiers are very hard on your brain and frankly giving many of us symptoms of ADHD, I am sadly not joking . Be nice to your brain and it will be nice to you ;).

Take care of yourself first – exercise, eat and sleep and important relationships-not negotiable. If we haven’t had good rest (take a nap if needed-actually take one anyways) eating when we need it, getting lots of good water or moving regularly. and loving those that matter, your focus is going to be off.

Butt in Chair time – set a nonnegotiable time that you will sit and get to some part of your list. Make it happen.

Prioritize – top 2-3 items for that day/week

Chunk like items – have to answer a million emails? Make 5 phone calls? Batch those like items and do them.

Eat the big frog first – have something that feels the most daunting? Do that or at least part of that first. Momentum builds momentum (thank you Dopamine-the molecule of ‘more’-the more we do, the more we want to do)

Pomodoros – what? Our brain can only concentrate effectively for 25 min at a time. Set a timer for 25 min and get to what ever you have been avoiding. Then take a 5 min break. You can repeat again and after 4 Pomodoros take a 30 min break. This trains your brain to concentrate (feel the new neural pathways forming to become a focused Jedi? AND you’re tapping into the way your brain naturally works best. More info:

Do the opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing have to get work done? Be a rebel. Do some tidying or organizing, unrelated to work. You’ll get a wee dopamine hit and you can take advantage of that neurochemical release to get back to the task that you may have been avoiding. Even 5 min in the ‘wrong’ direction can help.

Celebrate – reward yourself for getting some of what you have been avoiding done! Call a friend after, go for a wee walk, take a break-so something that feels good.

Take some oils – Really? Yes, increase your fish oil intake – 1000mg of EPA a day increases attention and focus.

Decrease your carb intake to avoid feeling sluggish – They may taste delightful, but our brain is sharper when we eat more vegetables and protein. If you have an afternoon that requires more focus, ditch the bread or pasta, and focus on the vegetables and protein. (You can lettuce wrap almost anything ;))

Conduct your own saucy science experiment and see what gets you moving.

Some things to think about, or even better journal about this week. 🙂

Where are you struggling with OAD – Obsessive Avoidance Disorder?

What are you avoiding?

What behaviours do you engage in when you are avoiding something?

What would you feel like if you started on that task?

My beloved friends-we may overcome OAD together! Let me know what you try and how it helps! I will be free basing fish oils over here and setting my timer for 25 minutes at a time


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