In recent years, it may or may not have been suggested by a mental health professional that I have ADD (it totally was). I know what you’re thinking: But Raina, you’re about as hyper as a sloth on Vicodin. Very true. Don’t confuse my condition with ADHD. I have the inattentive (rather than hyperactive) variety. Which, much like it sounds, means my mind is constantly drifting away from what is happening. That, paired with my kickin’ anxiety, makes trying to focus exhausting. I constantly have to remind myself to pay attention. If I’m not being distracted by something shiny, then it’s my never-ending list of things to worry about that is preventing me from paying full attention to the task at hand. It very literally sucks the life out of me. It’s probably why I’ve so looked tired all my life.
Truth be told, it’s been a bit of a struggle since retiring from Corporate America and striking out on my own. Turns out, when I have all the time in the world, I don’t get much done. I feel like I can’t stop wasting time. My hand to God, if I hear myself tell my therapist, “I just need to get my shit together” one more time, I’m pretty sure we’ll both try to strangle me.
So I’ve been reading a number of books on ADD and time management. And the big take away for me is something I’ve always known about myself: I have to put a fence around it. Without structure, I can’t function efficiently (if at all).
While cubicles may be where dreams go to die, there is something to be said about the structure and accountability of a 9 to 5 (please, it’s more like 8 to 7 without a lunch break, but whatever). I need to find a way to create structure for myself where there is none. But how?
I’ve decided to try something a little radical by today’s standards. I’m taking it back to the old school: I have turned off my cable and internet for the summer. My thinking is that without the internet at home, I will be forced to:
Leave my apartment.
Because I have such trouble concentrating, especially when it’s something I’m not particularly in the mood to do or work on, I tend to procrastinate like a mother chucker. Knowing full well the mental struggle that lies ahead of me when I actually sit down to work, I will find 9,000 things that I have to do first (no, Raina, you don’t need to organize your closet for the 14th time right this minute, and who are you kidding? It’s not like you’ll ever part with those 60 sweaters).
Not to mention, it’s summertime. I should be outside doing stuff. I have no business being inside watching TV, binging on Netflix and Hulu. That’s what the winter is for.
Schedule blocks of time when I’d do my work.
With the internet at home, I have all day and all night to get things done. Which often means, they don’t get done (or I put if off until the 11th hour and then rush like a mad woman to get it done). Starbucks and the library are only open for so long which has forced me to plan ahead on when I’m going to work on what. I know, what a novel idea.
Organize and prioritize my work tasks.
With love from my ADD, I have a bitch of a time prioritizing. And I have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees. As a result, I often feel overwhelmed. Which as you can imagine, makes concentrating that much more difficult.
I have found that without the internet at home, my tasks automatically get divided into two categories: “I need the internet for this” and “I don’t need the internet for this”. From there, I can start to sort through the huge mental pile of things I have to do and schedule accordingly. Let the list making and color coding begin!
It’s definitely going to a challenge. But you know I like a challenge. So here we go.
Let’s talk about it. What kinds of tips/tricks/hacks do you use to get your shit together and get things done?