The Journal of Best Practices by David J. Finch

No not this David Finch
This one.


Forgive me for this one because there will be a lot of comic book puns.

David J. Finch is like me—a writer, a parent, and husband. At my age, he was diagnosed with Aspergers. But when he was a kid he was also diagnosed with ADD and got help and treatment for it when I did not. It’s because I wasn’t a behavioral problem. I don’t lose my cool. In fact, I’m pretty calm a lot of the time—very easy-going—until I’m not. I can rage, snap, and treat loved ones like the bad guys whenever I like. And will at least once a week. It’s horrible.

After my evaluation was complete it came with a bibliography for future reading and this book was one of them. The fact that it started with journal and best practices and with the subhead of: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband. I knew I had to read it.

My symptoms—my mental health was exacerbated by a life-altering move. It’s still affecting my personal life. This, obviously, is really hard to admit publicly, but I have to take accountability and I don’t want to use my condition as a stick to beat myself up and use my family as a barometer for expectations that I pile on top of myself and then fail to achieve my goals. Here’s something my wife said: “choose you; choose us.”  My symptoms, while not hyperactive, do manifest as tantrums from time to time so I do behave like a 40-year-old toddler. I make my familythe bad guy and I’m not managing myself, which is the key to this book, a journal of best practices. So I started my own journal of Best Actions. Here’s something that I took from this book, something my wife said: “choose you; choose us.” 

I’ve amended my root productivity document after reading this book to help me manage my symptoms:

1. Listen and give your undivided attention. 2. Perform action to what you’re paying attention to and either achieve the goal of what you’re acting on or receive the stimuli from the result. 3. Seek solutions by managing yourself and doing research and asking questions but don’t blame your mind, your body, or your family for how you’re feeling or falling into your victim pattern where you make excuses, blame others, complain, and turn people into the bad guy. 4. Recognize that your mind is unreliable and it is just doing what it’s used to and it is your responsibility to respond as a creator and change your Victim / Creator alternating pattern. So go back to the beginning until you achieve your goal and stay out of the Victim’s Woods, stay on the Creator’s Path and get to the Ideal Life Summit. Remember Aurelius: “You could leave life right now. Let that govern what you DO, say, and think.”

From my Routines document.

Here’s what that means: it’s me, not my wife or Squibbish, that is responsible for my symptoms. I was born this way and it means that I have things to say about it. And on today, our four-year-anniversary, the ultimate lesson of the Journal of Best Practices is to manage myself and let go of my hang-ups. They are a part of who I am, but I’m responsible for them–and so are you. So that means a better routine for managing myself–and it starts with the above. It’s also one that Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners has helped me explore.

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