The Queen of Distraction

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.


I'm the tired one on the left. Look at those bags.
I’m the tired one on the left. Look at those bags.

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!


Crazy is as crazy does.


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?

14 thoughts on “The Queen of Distraction

  1. Oh Raina, I am with you in this diagnosis. At work, I can barely get anything done UNLESS I am doing 2-3 other things at once. Good luck with your experiment!

    1. Just one more thing hinting at the idea that we should be friends in the real world. We still need to celebrate your dream job. We can talk about our shared ADD struggles over a burger and whiskey.

  2. If and when I find a way to get my shit together, I will be sure to share! Until then I just keep swimming.. Although I do admit I find satisfaction in crossing items off a to do list, so that gives me some motivation.

    1. Oh my God, Emily, I know the feeling. SO WELL. And there seems to be a lot of us. I’m actually currently collecting (read: compulsively hoarding) all of the articles I can find on time management and productivity hacks. I plan to share them in the very near future. And then I will cross that task of one of 37,000 “To Do” lists. And it will feel glorious.

  3. Ugh, my life to a T! Even down to the tired sloth part hehe. It’s a big reason why striking out on my own has never worked out for me. As you said, the more time I have the less I do. I’m on a mission to change all that, ‘get my shit together’ and kick this shiny object syndrome’s (as I like to call it) ass. So cheers to us and anyone one else out there trying to take some control over their mental state!

    PS Although I won’t be shutting off my internet anytime soon props to you for taking a stand. This reminds me, there are a couple apps out there that will block the time distracting sites of your choosing. Some will even make you pay (like $5 or something) if you try and surf FB when you should be working.

    1. Mariana, where have you been all my life? You may be my writing-friend soulmate.

      Dude, you get it. Man alive, it is HARD when all of your time is yours to manage. Even under the best of circumstances. You throw in the shiny object syndrome (we’re calling it that now) and big helping of anxiety and I feel like I’m constantly spinning my wheels and going no where. Yeah man, for me, the situation was dire so extreme measures were warranted. Going internet-free is not for the faint of heart; it’s a monster pain in the ass. BUT. It is forcing me to learn how to really block out my time and prioritize like a pro (or a like normal person, maybe? hard to say).

      Yes, cheers to us for making it happen! I am reading all I can on how to help myself be better at this part of life. I will most definitely share what I find in upcoming posts. And great tip on the apps! I found one that has timers you can set up to alert you when it’s time to shift gears on a task so that you don’t get lost working one thing. I get lost a lot so I really like the alerts. I’ll check out one of the ones that makes you pay if you’re wasting time when you should be working. That’s a great idea!

      Thank you so much for stopping by to read and chat. Don’t be a stranger!

  4. It seems like you are a carbon copy of me. Lol
    I chastised myself many times for putting important things off or forgetting all together. I am required to provide documentation of my work as part of my evaluation process and I am consistently late. I am not motivated. It is their fault. Maybe.
    I can always rationalize that it is up to God’s time. How important is this stuff? Will it really change my life significantly? Opportunities are like opinions, they will continue whether I want them to or not.

  5. I know that I have ADD. I need to figure out a way to get my crap together …until then I don’t know..i will continue putting off getting my crap together…eesh.

    1. I am reading the blogs today because I don’t want to do my work..this is much more productive for me. 🙂

      1. Haha, yeah, sounds good! One book I have found inspiring and I got the HR team to read together at work last year is “Work Simply” by Carson Tate. Much more “find what works for me” than more prescriptive things like Laura Stack books.

  6. I was diagnosed with ADD and take a drug called Strattera. I definitely think a little clearer but I’m still forgetting stuff and easily distracted. Thanks for inviting me to your page. I really like the format of your page what program do you use? Are used blogger and I write a daily blog. I managed to write about every single day no matter how Monday. It makes life more interesting. It’s also interesting to look what I was doing exactly a year ago up to eight years ago. It’s a fun hobby. Thanks for listening Mark

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