Synopsis: Getting things done and finding more success when you have ADHD comes down to how you manage expectations.
Are you exhausted by the myriad of things you do each day, but go to bed feeling disappointed that you didn’t accomplish quite enough?
ADDers have a hard time feeling satisfied with their achievements. We have a lot of interests and ideas we want to put into action, and we want to get them ALL DONE (even when it’s not realistic). And sometimes, we get so distracted by our voracious goal-appetites, we end up “grazing” all day – on this and that – but we don’t really do anything substantial.
Right now, I’m working on a few different projects. I am co-editing an online magazine for ADDers. I am developing on an online course for Adult ADHD, to be published on Udemy in February (fingers crossed). I am also halfway through writing a book, though I’m not sure I should even mention it in this lineup, as I’ve been “half-finished” since January of last year. Oh yeah, and then I’ve been writing for this blog, too.
Some days, I’m on fire – I get in a few uber-productive hours of work and make real headway on these projects. Other days (in fact, more days than not) – I get little to none done. It might even be weeks between bursts of super-powered productivity. It used to depress me. The term “long on will, short on skill” comes to mind. I do everything the productivity gurus prescribe – get up early, remove all distractions, work hard for defined periods of time.. How is it that I can be so motivated, yet still so inefficient at times?
I’ve come to realize that it all boils down to how we manage expectations.
I wish I could be more productive on my goals each day. It’s kind of disappointing that I can’t work as fast as my head imagines things getting done. But when I EXPECT myself to be more productive – to write 5 blog posts in a day, to publish an e-course within a month, or to write, edit and publish a book within 6 months of its conception – well, it’s downright devastating.
When it comes to being satisfied with your daily output, it’s crucial to distinguish between wishes and expectations.
Take these two examples from everyday living. Example A – When my Internet connection is poor and my search leads me to the dreaded “Internet Connection Timed Out”, I nearly explode in frustration at the sheer incompetence of my Internet service provider. I expect it to work after the first click. Fifteen years ago, I didn’t care that a webpage took 5 minutes to load while the modem dialed up – the Internet was such a marvelous novelty then.
Now take example B – I really wish that I could be a millionaire (who doesn’t?). I would spend half my time engaged in charitable occupations and the other half doing wonderful and exciting things with my family. But I get over it pretty quickly when the lotto fails to come up with my numbers.
Although I dream of winning the lottery, I don’t expect it. Yet taken at face value, surely the loss of millions of dollars (even if only just the potential) is far more devastating than the inconvenience of a timed-out Internet search! The difference lies in my personal appraisal of these two events: one is an expectation and the other a wish. I hate to imagine how I’d react if I expected to win the lottery.
Yet, for so many ADDers, what we expect from our daily accomplishments is about as realistic and likely as winning the lottery. We need to better manage expectations.
Here’s What Happens if You Don’t Manage Your Expectations:
You’ll never be satisfied by what you do get done
This feeling of disappointment lends to a “what’s-the-point” sense of futility
Feelings of futility make it less likely you’ll keep working at something (after all, what’s the point?)
Your work rate suffers – you’ll either give up easier or give up all together
Before, you weren’t getting as much done as you wanted to get done. Now, you’re getting nothing done at all. A lifetime of Facebook and Game of Thrones it is for you then!
Success breeds success. Dwelling on positives inspires more positive action in your life; the more satisfied, fulfilled and successful you feel in your efforts, the more likely you will be to continue applying more effort. Be warned, though – the opposite is also true.
Manage Your Expectations to BE and FEEL More Successful
1. Play a Game of Semantics
This tactic is the verbal equivalent of diazepam. Instead of saying “Ugh, I didn’t get anything done today!” say:
“I wish I would have got more done, but I guess it just didn’t happen. I’ll try again tomorrow.”
When that ping of frustration bubbles at the surface, check in with yourself, decode expectations and translate them to wishes. Unfulfilled wishes are disappointing but manageable, while unfulfilled expectations are devastating.
2. Set the Bar Lower and Surprise Yourself
We know ADDers have a lot of desire to bring ALL our diverse ideas to fruition. Often, it’s not physically possible to get everything done.
In a world that offers so freely a plethora of stresses, frustrations and even tragedies, why add coal to the fire by heaping on unrealistic and incalculable personal expectations? If you scrutinize and exam your expectations closely, you will likely find that many of them are not only unreasonable, but also unachievable.
Plan, intentionally, to do less than you think you are capable of doing. If you exceed expectations, you’ll feel all the better for it. If you simply meet those lowered targets, you’ll still feel satisfied because that’s what you set out to do.
3. Under-Promise, Over-Deliver
In the same spirit as #2, many ADHD Coaches (myself included) work with their clients to develop this principle. Commit to less than you are capable of. If you give more than what was expected, other people will be delighted. Over-committing and not following through – because you set the bar too high – disappoints everyone – including yourself.
4. Work towards a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
In the start-up industry, the MVP is a pivotal starting point in accelerating growth. In brief, an MVP is a “product with just enough features to gather validated learning about the product and its continued development.” (Wikipedia) In the ADD world, we refer to this as “good enoughness”. ADDers are prone to perfectionism, and we see things in black-and-white terms. Either something is done or it’s not. We see no in-between.
In reality, there are multiple steps between coming up with an idea and bringing it to life. Work towards achieving a minimum viable product or good-enough effort each day, knowing that continued application of these principles will lead to eventual completions.
I don’t propose that learning to manage expectations is the only way to be more successful with ADHD. There is no one-sure-path to success – it’s more like a system of interconnected highways, byways and even a few grid roads. But by becoming aware that expectations do not have to be fulfilled in order to be successful, and in fact can be limiting, takes you a small chunk of the journey closer to that destination.
If you want more strategies for productivity, success and bringing your ideas to life, make sure to sign up for free tools and updates in the box below, or contact me to find out how ADHD coaching can help you.
P.S. If you’d like a free year’s subscription to the online mag I co-edit, email “editor at everydayADDvice dot com” and mention that Andrea sent you!
Life can feel pretty empty at times. Yet I hate all the stale maxims about passion out there.
Follow your passion and … what???
It’s fine advice for retirees with nothing else to do. When you have mouths to feed and heads to put a roof over, passion is the last thing to worry about.
Besides, most of us don’t know what we’re passionate about. They don’t teach passion in school, unless you count teenage experimentation as extracurricular instruction.
Even if we were lucky enough to feel rapturous about something, who’s got the time to do anything about it?
Just stop wasting time, they say. Productivity experts propose cutting out TV or social media as if they are soul-sucking, passion-decoys. Give up these time wasters and you’ll have at least a couple of extra hours a day. Great advice, but it neglects the reason we rely on these crutches in the first place.
After a long day, your brain is numb and you have no energy for anything else. That’s why you flake out in front of a screen every night. A fatigued and dazed mind isn’t apt to feeling passionate about anything. Screen time asks nothing of you. Which is good because, most nights, you have nothing left to give.
Get up early, they say. Successful people start their day while everyone else is still in bed.
I don’t see the logic… passion is an entity awoken by an alarm clock?
Day in and out, we go through the motions, exhausted by the sheer irrelevance of the “to do” lists we serve. The lists that are, by the way, fertilized by pen ink and grow larger each time we strike an item off. We make a bed, it gets unmade. We wash a dish, it gets dirty again. We pay a bill… whammo! It comes around again the next month.
Not exactly the ideal life we imagine we’d have when we find our passion, is it? Yet beds will still get unmade and dishes will get dirty, even when you’re living out your dream.
There is one quote I do like, really like, about passion.
Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) writes:
“Naturally successful people want you to believe that success is a by-product of their awesomeness, but they also want to retain some humility. You can say passion was the key to your success because everyone can be passionate about something or other. Passion sounds more accessible. If you’re dumb there’s not much you can do about it, but passion is something we think anyone can generate in the right circumstances. Passion is very democratic. It’s the people’s talent, available to all. It’s also mostly bullshit.” (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big)
Thanks Scott, I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
Here’s the solution.
You were hoping I’d get to the part where I make you feel better about the problem by now, weren’t you?
Well, here goes.
I don’t think that the key to a happy life is to do what you’re passionate about. We do what we do to get by. And most of the time, what we do kind of sucks. But it pays the bills.
Some of us will be lucky enough to find passions that pay well. Others do what they’re passionate about only to find that making a career out of it actually kills their passion.
Most of us, however, will go through the daily grind feeling less than satiated. Perhaps we’ll even feel a bit numb. Or bored. Or empty.
What we can do, in these instances, is this:
We can learn to be more passionate about living.
Let me be clear: by this I don’t mean Nike-advert, just get out there and do it, carpe diem, seize-the-moment passionate.
I mean this kind of (real life, accessible to all) passion:
Holy crap, I’m alive! Of course, I’m dying every day (as each of us are) but for now, I am still alive. I get to work and live in a first world country, where I have access to food, clothing, shelter and health care. Every day I wake up, without fear of violence or violation, because my world is basically safe. So safe, in fact, that I actually have no bigger concerns than what might or might not happen in the future. I have responsibilities and people that need me, which culminate in endless to-do lists demonstrating how rich my life really is. And the fact that I feel empty, despite all the busy things I do in a day, means that I am the owner of a brain capable of higher level, self-analyzing and reflective thinking.
In essence, life is not about following your passion.
Being alive is something to be passionate about. You could very easily be dead, or at least – much, much worse off than you are now.
Look around. See the beauty in the world around you. Eat some chocolate. Listen to music. Talk to a friend. Hug a child. Dance with your partner. Take a long shower. Run down a beach. Wear fuzzy pajamas. Draw a picture. Try a new recipe. Drive a different route to work. Smile at a stranger. Pray to God. Meditate. Think. Cry. Laugh. Love.
If you feel empty, be passionate about finding meaning in the small things in life. That kind of passion is not bullshit.
See a doctor, get diagnosed, get treatment, get better. That’s how it goes for adults who find out they have ADHD, right?
Yes. Yes, it does. And afterwards, a pink elephant swings by the doctor’s office, scoops you up onto his flying, technicolor carpet and gives you a lift home to your mushroom mansion on cloud cuckoo land.
Here in the real world, it doesn’t work that way. Many places – especially rural areas, but even large urban centres – have few services for folks with ADHD, none the least adults. Getting diagnosed is often the easiest part, but even that can be tricky. What comes afterwards, though, can be logarithmic. As in – the problem can be solved, but few of us know how.
As October is International ADHD Awareness Month, I’d like to make help* more accessible for everyone. Surprisingly, some of the best help out there is location-independent – you can access it no matter where you live. If you have a telephone or internet connection, you’re golden.
To follow is a plethora of ADHD resources. I will explain what they’re about, who they are best suited to, and how you can access them and use them most effectively. It’s a pretty robust list, but don’t get overwhelmed. You don’t need to read this whole post. Skim the headings, find the sections that interest you, and come back to it later. And if you have a recommendation, please share it in the comments at the end. If suitable, I will revise this post and add it in.
Adult ADHD Coaching
I have a bias here. I am an Adult ADHD Coach, so of course it’s going to be the first resource I recommend. I became a coach because coaching changed my life. It gave me insight, awareness, and the power to make things different.
But what exactly is ADHD Coaching?
It is a unique relationship, like no other. You get to talk to someone who is intently interested in what you have to say, and whose entire aim is to help you move forward in life. Your coach has an adept sense of how to get the most out of you – to challenge limiting beliefs and help you design strategies for success. On top of this, he or she knows all about ADHD and what it’s like to struggle with it.
Where else could you get this kind of focused, strategic and supportive help?
The beauty of ADHD coaching is that you can access it from almost anywhere. You don’t need to find a coach in your community – most coaches work over the phone. Telephone coaching works brilliantly, sometimes better than face-to-face. My clients fit me around their busy lives. They call me on their lunch breaks, from the office, from a parking lot or the side of the road.
Telephone coaching works well for adults with ADHD because it minimizes hassle and maximizes time. You don’t have to drive to get it. You don’t have to find parking. You don’t even have to get dressed if you don’t want to. (Though if you decide to do Skype coaching, it is recommended you at least put on a housecoat.)
If you want to know more about coaching, feel free to email me. This isn’t a sales pitch – I give free advice all the time. There are also a few coaching directories I can recommend. They will help you pick a coach based on particular attributes.
Just a bit of advice as you do your search – shop around. A great coaching partnership is not just about a person’s credentials or their price. Coaching works best when the two of you gel. Whenever I get a call from a new client, I always encourage them to speak to a few other coaches as well. I want to make sure they find the coach that is the right fit for them.
There are many great videos that can help you understand your ADHD and teach you effective tools for managing it. These videos are stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking. And the beauty of them is that they take very little effort – just sit back, relax and enjoy.
I’m kidding about that last part. While the videos I am about to mention are completely enjoyable, you’ll only get as much out them as you put into them. Watch them attentively. Take notes. Do the exercises. Then watch them again and repeat. They are meant to change your life, so it’s only natural you take them more seriously than watching Netflix.
1. ADDcrusher.com – When Alan Brown says his videos (aimed at helping you CRUSH your ADHD) “kick the crap out of reading books”, he’s not kidding. Alan is just the kind of boot-camp-drill-sergeant I’d have on my team if I was embarking on siege to take my life back. It helps that he’s also a really great guy – entertaining, witty and very engaging. It’s his personal mission to help ADDers worldwide live up to their potential. I, for one, am glad he’s on our side.
Have a look at his Crusher video series or check out his newly launched Crusher TV series. They are like having a personal coach in your living room, on demand, whenever you need it. Here’s a little taster…
2. TotallyADD.com – No doubt, you’ve seen the PBS favourite “ADD & Loving It?!”. If you haven’t, you should check out the trailer.
Rick Green et al bring you solid information about ADHD – what it is and what it isn’t – as well as strategies for managing your life better, getting professional help, and just about any other ADHD-related topic you can think of. Bonus – they are funny. Like, spew-coffee-through-your-nose funny. You’ll be able to pay attention without much effort at all.
Check out the Totally ADD‘s online videos and their videosavailable for purchase. Also, have a look at their YouTube channel – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder why you haven’t watched these videos before now.
3. The CHADD National Resource on ADHD also has an array of webcasts in their “Ask the Expert Series”. Make sure to have a look around their website – they have a TON of other resources as well, including their Adult ADHD Toolkit.
Online/Distance Learning Classes
People don’t realize that effective help doesn’t have to come in the form of one-on-one conversations. Sometimes the first step to figuring out your challenges is to learn from others who have mastered their own.
1. ADDCA – The coaching academy I trained with offers two classes that are specifically designed to help you understand and manage your ADHD better: Simply ADHD and Personal Transformation. The classes are done via conference calls, and by participating you get a chance to connect with a skilled ADHD coach, as well as a cohort of people who “totally get it” when you say you feel like a light bulb has just switched on. Not sure if this is for you? Enroll for one of their free introductory teleclasses.
2. ADDclasses.com offers several web-based training opportunities specific to ADHD challenges. Check them out soon and you’ll still have time to register for their free online ADHD Expo (October 25 to October 31). ADHD Experts will share tips and strategies via video while you connect with other ADDers in the chat room.
3. ADDitude Magazine – ADDitude Online offers several webinars hosted by the field’s top experts, addressing your most common concerns.
4. ADHDMarriage.com – Offers two courses via telephone – both live and recorded – aimed at helping couple who experience the impact of ADHD on their marriage. The ADHD Effect In-Depth with Melissa Orlovnot only improves your understanding of how ADHD affects the marriage for both spouses, it will give you concrete strategies for moving your relationship forward. Recovering Intimacy in Your Relationship is a multi-week seminar that will provide you with tools and exercises to bring back “those lovin’ feelings.”
Podcasts are another great way to get more information and help for your ADHD. They don’t have the visually stimulating effect of videos, but sometimes that’s a bonus. You can listen to a podcast while you do other things. You know how we all love to multi-task. Now you can feel good about it, knowing you’re actually helping yourself while you play video games, put away your laundry, or pick your nose.
My recommended podcasts:
1. Attention Talk Radio – Hosted by Attention Coach Jeff Copper, Attention Talk Radio puts spotlight on how paying attention to your attention gets you unstuck. That’s a lot of attention.
2. ADDitude’s ADHD Experts Podcast – ADHD Experts answer questions posed by parents and adults with ADHD.
3. ADHD People – The Tom Nardone Show – An Enema of ADHD (Not necessarily aimed at tricks and tips, but the name says it all – you’re in for a cathartic experience. Have fun, you can thank me later.)
4. ADHD reWired – Hosted by therapist and coach Eric Tivers, reWired broadcasts interviews with real people living with ADHD, including entrepreneurs and professionals working within our tribe.
5. ADHD Support Talk Radio – Founder and Director of ADDClasses.com, Tara McGillicuddy, shares her expertise and interviews other experts in the field.
There is a lot to be gained from participating in a program with other people who understand what it’s like to have the challenges you do. I’ve often talked about how finding my tribe was one of the best things I ever did for my confidence. Since I’ve started talking to other people with ADHD, I’ve become a different person. I now belong to a tribe of incredible dreamers, visionaries, innovators and scatterbrains. We’re an awesome group, flaws and all, don’t you think?
1. Check out CHADD to see if there is a chapter local to you or have a look around your community for a support group. If you can’t find one, consider starting one. You’ll be surprized how many other adults like you will be glad you did. If you want to know how to start a support group, CHADD can be a great resource to get you started.
2. ADDforums.com – If you’d like some support from the comfort of your couch (as opposed to lying back on your shrink’s proverbial couch), check ADDforums. Post your question or concern and get feedback from other ADDers who have experienced the same dilemmas.
3. ADDconsults.com – Ladies only! A pioneer in the niche of women with ADHD, Terry Matlen’s ADDconsults.com hosts a forum area where women can connect with her and with other women living with ADHD.
Books on ADHD
Books are probably one of the most accessible yet underrated resources for ADHD. Books are great for helping you to get a new understanding of ADHD – not just its symptoms, but what it actually means to have ADHD and the skills necessary to thrive with it. They are also great because you can keep them to refer to later, as many of us will forget new tips and tricks.
They aren’t great for people who find it difficult to concentrate or have a hard time sitting still long enough to read them. If this is the case for you, you may want to check out my post How to Read Like a Pro and Enjoy It (Even if You Hate Reading). An even simpler tactic is to get an audio book that you can listen to while walking the dog, cleaning the house, or dance up a storm at Zumba. Okay, maybe not.
Here are my favourite ADHD books (these, of course, are just some of the many out there).
1. 10 Things I Hate about ADHD, Bryan Hutchinson – A great read to start with – especially if you’re not really looking to change things but just want to feel like someone else “gets it”. Reading it is like talking to a good friend about everything you’ve been through – the good, the bad, and the laugh-out-loud ugly. Bryan’s written a lot of other excellent books on ADHD and positive psychology related topics, check them out here.
2. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, Russell A. Barkley – From the world’s leading authority on ADHD, you will find step-by-step strategies for managing ADHD with exercises to build your skills.
5. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life, Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau – These ladies have compiled the best organization suggestions that are congruent with how an ADDer actually operates. (Audio Version Available)
8. ADD Stole My Car Keys, Rick Green and Umesh Jain – My psychiatrist gave me this book a few years ago, and it was probably the best book he ever gave me (it was the only book he gave me). The way it is set up is very cool and very novel (and hey – don’t we all love cool, new things?). It gives parallel perspectives from both an ADDer (Rick Green of ADD & Loving It?! fame) and his psychiatrist. So it’s kind of like seeing a shrink, but not footing the bill. And … each chapter is very short (great for quick minds).
10. The Adult ADHD Tool Kit: Using CBT to Facilitate Coping Inside and Out, J. Russell Ramsay and Anthony L. Rostain – I’m a firm believer in the power of CBT (so much so, I did a post-grad in it!) – not just for ADDers, but for everyone with a pulse. One of the biggest problems ADHD folks face is the fact that the symptoms of ADHD can actually interfere with your ability to get help for ADHD. This user-friendly book doesn’t just teach you skills, it offers you tactics to help you apply the skills in your everyday life. .
11. The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child Paperback, Thom Hartmann – This is one of my all-time favourite books. Ever. It explores how our traits as ADDers have been very necessary in the evolution of society. It won’t change your ADHD. But it will make you feel a heck of a lot better about having it. That, to me, is worth more than a thousand hours of therapy.
There are a gazillion great websites and blogs out there on ADHD and related topics – too many to add to this (already too-long) post. Each offers readers a unique take on what it takes to manage ADHD and thrive with it. Here are a dozen or so of my favourites (Apart from The Art of ADD of course!):
ADDerworld – Bryan Hutchinson’s positive take on ADHD
A Splintered Mind – Douglas Cootey tackles ADHD & Depression with “lots of humor and attitude”
ADHD and Marriage – Brought to you by ADHD Expert & Relationship Consultant Melissa Orlov in partnership with Dr. Ned Hallowell – this website offers information, connection & support for couples experiencing ADHD
Phew. That was exhausting, don’t you think? The ADHD in you probably thought this post would never end. The ADHD in me wants to quit right here – no conclusion, or wrap-up – it just wants me to bolt. But since I’m in control, not my ADHD, let me conclude this post saying one more thing:
You may feel alone in your search for self-assurance and a better life. You so aren’t. You may think you’ll never figure it out, never live your best life. You so will. You may think there’s no help out there for you to access. There so is!
I hope this list of ADHD resources has shown you that, at the very least, there is help for you – no matter where you live. Most of these resources have been created by the people, for the people – ADDers united. Reach out to these resources and reach out to each other.
This is ADHD Awareness Month but we need to be aware of ADHD every day of the year. I hope these resources will give you a good start. And again – if you have any more resources you’d like to add to this list, or great idea for a resource you’d like to see available – please share it in the comments below!
* (Caveat – For the purpose of this post, I’m referring to non-medicinal help. Whether or not you take it is a matter of personal choice. But I stand firm that medication alone is not an effective treatment regimen. It helps you reign your mind, but it doesn’t teach you how to use it.)
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:
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!