When my Attention Deficit Disorder goes into hyper drive, my organizational skills are launched into outer space, unless I take steps to impose organization on the chaos. When days are lazy, I tend to drift along. I have always done better, and been more productive, if I am forced to plan. This usually happens when I am so busy that I can barely think. With my ADD, intensive planning does not come naturally for me. It is an intellectual, rather than instinctual, exercise. I have to sit down and plan every detail.
One of the most productive times of my life was my last year of college. As an official late bloomer, I was forty-one-years-old. It was time to finish that degree! In the spring, I took eighteen hours in school and did well. Summer school found me taking eleven hours. Emboldened, in the fall, I signed up for twenty-two hours. That was divided into nine classes. Explicit planning and organization saved me. I had two backpacks. One was for the Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes. The other held materials for the Tuesday-Thursday classes. With my ADD, the key to success was the planning that I did.
My days were mapped out. I made a planner where I could pencil in activities from the time that I got up until bedtime. Class times were mapped in first. Then, our children’s activities went into the mix. Study time, shopping, laundry, and house work fit into the gaps. I even scheduled our special family time. This experience showed that I thrive from the forced planning that a busy schedule dictates. I discovered that forced planning keeps me on track.
Recently, I found a perfect storm of circumstances to make my life hectic, and I could barely force myself to do the minimum of planning and work. Without ADD, I might have been able to break the impasse sooner. With my ADD going into fast forward, I had to analyze what was going on.
All of the work that I tried to avoid was computer work. This was strange, since I love working on the computer. I can go for hours, until I get computer neck, and have to quit staring at the screen. What in the world was going on? Why wasn’t I able to motivate myself to do what needed to be done? Analysis showed that I did not like being alone in the office and working. Isolation was not my friend!
I would rather be in the living room watching the parrots’ antics. The wing flipping, creative chirping and cheeping, and acrobatics using their toys, is endlessly stimulating! When I would have to be in the office for extended periods of time planning classes, writing IEPs, or writing articles, my ADD would kick in and my motivation would clock out. What could I do?
My simple, yet effective, plan involved moving my computer into the living room. It doesn’t look great, but it works for my family and me. Moving the computer energized me. I got busy on my work that I needed to do. There have been times that I have been at the computer for hours at a time. Would I have forced myself to do that if the computer was in the office? I doubt it. Work is a pleasure now. Doing activities that I find fulfilling, while in the company of my family is just lovely!
Here is my question for you. What is it that triggers your ADD? When do you have trouble forcing yourself to do an activity? Take some quiet time and reflect on what is stopping you. How can you change it? Planning helps! Make your plan and work your plan.
Sometimes making one small life change can make a world of difference in your life. You just have to find the key, unlock the door, and step through to greater productivity.
A short article can only scratch the surface of a subject. Edward Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. have been studying Attention Deficit for years. Both doctors have ADD, so they can write from personal and professional perspectives. This book is a wonderful resource.
Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder
Sometimes tips on living with ADD/ADHD can be helpful. This book is highly recommended as a very practical book for adults.
10 Simple Solutions to Adult ADD: How to Overcome Chronic Distraction & Accomplish Your Goals