Some people are just perfect at everything. From a practical standpoint- the baking, wrapping, card giving season just doesn’t fit us. So here’s a list for us to survive and still come out looking normal.
- Send “Epiphany Cards” Remember it took the Wise Men 3 years to get to baby Jesus.
- Decorate your tree with stars and snowflakes then you can leave it up until the Spring equinox.
- Do not attempt a new recipe! Forget the the 8-layer torte. It won’t happen. IT. WILL. NOT. HAPPEN. Repeat . Instead buy cookies that say “homemade style.” Or “made with love by the Amish.”
- If you must give your pet a gift, wrap up one of their favorite toys. I mean really…do you think they paid attention when they watched Miracle on 34th Street? No.
- Uncomfortable get-togethers? Don’t go. Work in a soup kitchen. This will make you look like a hero.
- If you can’t avoid #5 wear something lightweight so you won’t sweat. Go to the bathroom a lot so you can play Wheelie or Minecraft.
- Enjoy the sugar and starches. Remember these meals when you forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner next week.
- Every year you think you can make a gift. Like a braided bowl made from homemade bread, or mantle from pallets. No! No! No! These will only validate your procrastination. Then if you buy gift cards, this will only demonstrate your procrastination. Buy them a how-to magazine with the idea that you can make it with them together when the weather improves. Chances are you will both forget. Win-win.
- If you must have company to your house. Hide stuff you didn’t have time to organize into bins marked “Christmas.” Do NOT hide perishables. Buy a pre-cooked chicken have others provide the side dishes. Refer to #3. Spray the room with something pine scented in case you don’t have time to clean. If you do nothing else, clean the toilet.
Why do I avoid certain tasks? Because they are challenging, because they are boring, and because…I’m scared. Yes, scared. Like spider-in-your-bed-kinda-scared. But the spider is in my head cobwebs and all. People who are not ADHD view avoidance as laziness or stupidity. Far from it as most ADHD’er’s are much above average intelligence. So, mail lays unopened for fear of a bill that cannot be paid, voice messages go unheard for fear of confronting mistakes and dreams go undreamed for fear of failure.
I suppose I am not only attention deficit, I am also motivation-ally deficit. ADHD kids are motivated by stickers, tokens and gadgets. These however, are merely tangible representations of what we all need; the feeling of success. I would often say, “I wish I could do just ONE thing right!!” It’s because I avoid opportunities for success.
Consider this. Often ADHD sufferers avoid jobs and tasks that stretch us and allow us to use our full potential. Therefore we settle for “comfortable” jobs and then find ourselves bored and without purpose. Or, we choose jobs that stimulate our intellect but require many tasks we love to avoid. This creates a perpetual cycle of being successful at one thing- failing.
Also, how many relationships fail because of avoidance? This will have to be another blog.
There are days when I literally want to run away. I mean, put on my Nike’s and run. Run like there’s no tomorrow without looking back. Simply to avoid things that scare me. Why can’t I just feel the fear? Because fear immobilizes me. Why? Partly circumstance, but mostly because I haven’t carved a path for myself to be successful. Why didn’t the world do this for me? Why isn’t the world designed for me to fit in it? I’ve been so busy looking at the sparkly shoelacesthat I forgot the purpose of the running shoes. I’ve been used to looking down at my feet rather than a yard ahead.
As always I am preaching to myself. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Work in short bursts. My daughter and I use the “BA15” method. (bust ass for 15 minutes)
- Turn off external distractions (internet, tv, phone or whatever it is that’s more fulfilling)
- Log and record your successes. Oh yeah. Use the dreaded to do list.
Even when the path gets rocky, keep going (they make shoes for this, I researched it when I should have been doing laundry). Reach out for that dixie cup of water and head for the finish line. If there are no cheering crowds go anyway. Be your own cheerleader and if you have to, make your own sticker chart.
I’ve never been a list maker. I’ve heard that list makers are more successful. Great job you people! Way to go Bill Clinton and Madonna and Ray Bradbury and Santa! The aforementioned have added to the entertainment world in their own special way. Santa, what can I say? You even check yours twice. Thanks for raising the bar.
So for us ADD folk, a list takes attention. Attention requires payment and often I am in the red. Neuroscientists tell us that the brain must exert effort to be engaged in a purposeful task. Duh. List making for me is like swimming through Jell-O. It’s exhausting. More times than not when my list isn’t checked off I feel like more of a failure because things go unfinished. Also, a long list of tasks can also be daunting and seem unattainable. Shhhh!! There have been times I’ve added things to my list like; cleaning the bathroom mirror and putting away the bread just so I can cross it off.
It has to be individualized just for me, but finding that has yielded even more frustration. Should I put little squares to check off or little lines? Do I organize it by priority or alphabetically? Do I do sub-lists? Do I use paper or my Smartphone or PC? My paper lists often disappear. I’ve made so many grocery lists and then left them behind or lost them in the parking lot or the coffee isle. By zooming out, maybe that was just my little gift to someone else.
Attending to making a list, will free up my overactive mind so I can finish things and my mind isn’t constantly trying to remember to complete enjoyable things like going to the DMV. According to Daniel Levitin, Neuroscientist and musician, maintaining a sense of Zen when attending to a task helps us remember in detail the joy of the moment. Okay, two birds with one stone just by making a list. I’m going to write it and enjoy it! Let’s try together. Let me know how list making works for you. Let’s be more like Bill and Santa!
I’m currently reading The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin. For my list-making I’m using http://www.workflowy.com
For those of you who suffer from the condition known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) you will certainly understand the title. People with ADD do not transition well! Moving from one task to another requires very focused mental effort. Like the kind of effort you would exert if you were pouring hot lead into teeny tiny molds while wearing flip-flops. Seems like a reasonable comparison.
So, moving from 2014 to 2015 should not be a four-way stop in a busy thoroughfare in which you have to sit and ponder who actually has the right-of-way. This is when ADD people let their minds wander and could easily end up in the ghetto of Baltimore if not careful.
To make this transition, without becoming overwhelmed, I had to remember a few key things. That although the year has changed I am still going to be writing 2014 on checks and papers until about June. That it is still freakin’ winter and I have to chip ice and shovel snow. That I weigh about as much as I did December 31. Keeping these things in mind helped me make the oh-so-gentle transition into 2015.
Seriously folks, we ADD people really have no sense of time anyway. My calendar on my desk actually serves more as a place mat than a scheduler. For some reason my clock always speeds up 15 minutes before work and “early” is just a term that the “other” folks with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) use.
As we continue through the winter months into a new year, I hope you will meander, stride, gallop or whatever mode of pace you like, with me and enjoy the ride through 2015 watching for squirrels and other shiny things. It might not be a straight path, but it will sure as heck be the scenic route.
If my grammar is improper, forgive me because my mind is faster than my typing skills. If I offend, then that is your problem because it’s meant to be funny.