Productivity

Time Is On My Side (No It’s Not)

hi

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

No, not the sound of a clock, but my head banging on the counter top. It’s a little hollow right now (my head) – hence the tick-tock rather than a bang-bang or thud-thud.

The elusive concept of time …. eludes me. I have always maintained that if days had more hours, my ADD would have half the challenges. You see, while I am a terrible organizer, haphazardly inattentive, and slow to get started on most things – I’m convinced that I would be none of these things if time simply waited for me. I can pay attention – but only after I get around to doing everything else on my list, so that a million things aren’t competing for my head space like an under-priced house in a seller’s market. I could also be more organized – if someone else’s deadlines didn’t dictate the time frame within which I must work. If this were the case, getting started would be a non-issue, because when I got started and how long it took – would be irrelevant.

The biggest problem with time is that it seems to be moving faster and faster. It could be a sign of the ages – too much to do and too little time. Or it could be a sign of my age. My dad always warned me that life is like a roll of toilet paper – the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. Funny guy my dad, he’s the Cliff Claven of sayings involving bodily functions.

But I don’t think it’s really going faster (quantum physicist’s post your arguments below). We are  going faster and time simply matches our pace. Every night before I go to bed, I review the day’s events in comparison to the next day’s itinerary and think:

“It’s too much”.

See, twenty-four hours in a day really isn’t enough, but since it is all we get, we need to pace ourselves accordingly rather than cramming more into each second. But with ADD, there are two huge barriers to doing this.

1. We have no concept of time.

We don’t know how long something should take or how much time we need to complete it. We have no idea how we spend most of our time, simply because we often aren’t “there” while we are spending it. But most of all – our biggest challenge with time is that we are overly optimistic. Most authorities on managing ADD will advise you to project how much time you think a task will take and double it, in order to get a more accurate figure of the time it will actually take. I am fully aware of that fact. However, when I look at how much I can get done in a day (realistically) and compare it to what I want to get done, there is a gross mismatch between the figures. Deep down I really believe I should and could get those things done, if I only I could find the focus.

2. We frequently take on too much.

Everybody takes on too much these days; busy-ness is not segregated to ADDers but seems to be a global dilemma. Next time you see a friend and ask her how she is doing, I will bet you a million bucks (the ones roaming the Boreal Forest, not the ones sitting in Bill Gates’ bank account) that she says “Oh, I am soooooo busy!” We ADDers don’t necessarily take on more than any other group of people, but we certainly do take on more than is good for us. Again, because of our optimism (I should and could) and because of this simple phenomenon:

When the going gets tough, ADDers … up the ante. (Click to tweet)

 

Yep. That’s what we do. For example, I started coaching last year and have been busily growing my business. Apart from my family, coaching is my priority numero uno because – it’s the thing I really love to do. Then, I started this blog, which has become priority numero dos because (as it turns out) – it’s the other thing I really love to do. So I do these two things joyfully, while coasting along with the “day job” and making time for my family and  friends. I could also pretend that I make time for housework to try and look good, but the amount of time I spend doing that is an inconsequential drop in the bucket.

The week that this blog went live was a crazy-busy, but totally exciting time. It seems a long time ago now but was less than a month (thanks to you again, elusive Father Time). The day after the blog was first published, I did the only rational and normal thing a woman in my position would do – I decided to relocate. Not next door or across town, but 840 km (522 miles) west of here. Wrapped up in the excitement and enthralled with the sense of completion the blog gave me, I was inspired to finally make the decision I had been postponing for nearly a year. Because that’s how my brain works.

When ADDers get busy, we have a tendency to take on even more. Being busy, harried, and hanging on by the skin of our teeth activates our adrenaline, aka mother nature’s Ritalin. However, adrenaline has serious side effects if we rely on it long-term, and while it gives us a boost in the short-term, it doesn’t really increase productivity. But its not just the adrenaline we crave. While other people can get their noses to the grind when they really need to, ADDers need to get into the right mental state to get focused and productively active. When that state hits us, we don’t want to lose our momentum. So we decide to take it all on. And that’s the reason we believe we should and could do it all : because when we’re in hyper-focus, we can and do. At times, we “can” and “do” do more than anyone else “could” or “would”. The problem is, the momentum doesn’t last forever. Yet we seem to think that because we can get a lot done in hyperfocus, we can get that much done at other times. It’s a faulty principle. Hyper-focus is the exception, not the norm. If it was, your life would be very one-dimensional and devoid of enjoyment and rest. In short, you’d burn out.

So yes, we need to project a realistic view of how long things will actually take. And yes, we should learn to take on only what we can feasibly do in normal times, not hyper-focus times. But more importantly – we need to learn to appreciate what we are doing, when we are doing it. And we need to appreciate why we are doing all that we are. Because without meaning and purpose, all busy-ness is wasted effort. Thinking about the purpose behind our actions can put more joy into the time we do have. It can even slow time down.  Being fulfilled and full of joy transcends the ticking of the clock and nullifies the relevance of the passing seconds. It is time well-spent, not time maxed out.

Being busy or pushed for time doesn’t matter when you make each minute an important part of your day.

In the next post, we will explore time more and try to harness it like a cowboy halts a bucking bronco. But for now, please leave me your comments and share your experience of time and its challenges. I want to know that I am not the only one who can’t get a firm grip on the clock!

(Visited 183 time, 1 visit today)
Opt In Image
Do you know how to Make ADHD Work For You?
If not, now's the time to learn how to:
  • Use your innate creativity to overcome challenges
  • Accentuate your assets & grow confidence
  • Get focused: bring your ideas to life & get things done!

Enter your email for Free Tools and make ADHD work FOR YOU.

3 comments on “Time Is On My Side (No It’s Not)

  1. Dear The Art of ADD,

    I have to laugh, “the only one who can’t get a firm grip on the clock.” Oh my goodness. I used to frequently express that I wished there were 48 hours in a day. I stopped saying it. I still wish there was however, I have come to terms with accepting that there are 24 hours in a day. However, it hasn’t stopped me from taking on more than I know how to balance. I find that there is this huge wonderful world to experience and I want to be able to experience much of it. It is making the constant minute to minute decisions that I find challenging. My ADD brain forgets in the decision moments to think it all the way through. I might think it halfway through but inevitable there will be at least something of consequence that I forgot to take into consideration, sometimes a number of things that eluded me at the moment. I have made progress in being able to forgive myself for these mental lapses however it does impact those that I love and care about. I think the good news is that even though I may be a slow learner, I am teachable. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing the best I can at any given time. Some days it looks better and works better than others. I am experimenting with a number of new things that seem to be effective with some other aspects of ADD symptoms. I am doing some EFT(Effective Freedom Technique), doing some meditation, some visualization and trying some hypnosis. They each are helping me in various ways, especially with anxiety and more peacefulness. Of course it is a challenge to fit them each into the balance of TIME. Most people that I know with ADD are challenged with balancing time. Thank you for the reminder of allowing double the amount of time I think something will take. I know it and yet I still forget. Sometimes I remind myself that some people who don’t have ADD are challenged with time management. One saving grace is that we only have to do it, “One Day At A Time,” one hour at a time and sometimes just one minute at a time. The good news is that a new day always dawns and we get to try again to do it better, to forgive ourselves for being imperfect, and to love ourselves for staying in the game doing the best we can. Thank you for your website and your posts. They truly resonate with me!

    1. Hi Suzanne – Thanks for your comments and for highlighting how the time challenge works for you. Good point – we should never forget that even people without ADHD have problems managing their time. I really like how you put it “the good news is…we get to try again to do it better”. Its kind of like that, every day is game we get to try over and over again until we get it right (what’s right for us). All the best Suzanne!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge