Am I the only one who can put off what needs to be done by thinking of something else that needs to be done? Am I the only one that has a hard time cleaning up a desk because everything I touch grabs my attention? I have read entire books while cleaning my desk. Please let me know I am not the only one that walks into a room and wonders why I am there? If I open my computer I am dead. There they are. All those enticing icons calling for my attention, making me forget why I opened my computer in the first place.
I was diagnosed with DADH a long time ago. Not everybody has this fun, challenging disorder, but everybody seems to have at least some of the symptoms….. I call it PNRTAC Pretty Normal Response To American Culture.
People who are plugged in 24 hours a day seven days a week, who never rest and often tackle far more than it is possible to handle will certainly find it difficult to concentrate.
Now where was I? Oh, yes. Here are five helpful hints that have helped me survive and even thrive as a ADDH practitioner!
1. Write stuff down
Lists are an amazing way to keep on track. Carry a single note book with you at all times and capture those stray thoughts, leaving your mind free to focus on the present task.
2. Set a time to work on a specific task
Don’t juggle tasks in your head, on paper, or even on the computer. As a certified airhead I can tell you that it will not get done until it is assigned a day and time on the calendar.
3. Gather what you need ahead of time
Nothing can be more frustrating than not having the tools available to complete a task. Gather them ahead of time. If I plan to run or bike in the morning I put all the clothes together the night before. Otherwise while hunting for my running shoes I will decide to organize my closet, and won’t get out the front door.
4. Take a break between tasks
Do not try to work all day long without several little breaks. A cup of coffee, a brisk walk, even a cat nap can restore your energy and keep your mind clear.
5. Only put a doable amount of tasks on your daily to do list
It is better to run out of tasks during a day, and feel like you have really accomplished something, than to accomplish 30 tasks, have 10 remaining and feel like you left your work unfinished.
There ya go. Five hints that I hope will make your day more fun, less confusing, and more productive.
What have you found helpful to keep you focused! I would love to hear your comments…… Wait! I see a squirrel!
#5 is my favorite. I am a task completer, and cannot rest until all my tasks are complete. I’d rather under commit and over perform, than the opposite.
Great list. Looking forward to meeting you at SCORRE in May.
You are not the only one with this problem I sometimes forget what I’m typing in the middle of,where was I, oh yeah a sentence. I’ve tried #1 write stuff down, but then I loose the list. when I ask my wife if she’s seen my “to do list” first she laughs hysterically at the thought of me having a list then she usually says, ” have you looked in your left hand?”
For # 3 on your list. I have no problem gathering all the tools ahead of time. My problem is I loose them while working on a project. Again the first thing Cindy tells me to do is look in my left hand. to combat loosing my tools while working with them I have deligated my son to keep track of where I put the tools. his job is not to hold them or put them in a central location, his job is simply that when I ask, “where is….?” he says, “Dad you’re sitting on it.” or “have you looked in your pocket?”
As far as set a time to work on a project I actually try to jump into a project as soon as I remember what the project is that I want to do.
Now if I could only remember to get dressed before I try to put tools into my pockets. I got Cindy working on that problem also.
Just brilliant! I was in the middle (i think) of doing something (not sure what) when I came across your incisive insights of our situation on a daily basis. Thanks, you gave me a reason to have a good laugh at myself (and yours I’m afraid)
I have a hard time focusing on something that is not an “imminent threat”. My secretary goes crazy trying to get me to focus on next year’s calendar!! HAHA!
I have found that lists do help. Still, if it is something I am not interested in, it is very hard to focus. I feel like that episode of Gomer Pyle USMC when Gomer could not focus on his PFC test because he was just not interested in moving up! He said, “I’ll try, but I know how I am. If I ain’t interested I just can’t concentrate.”
Ken, do you ever feel like that?
lots of laughs,
Nothing works for me except to trust God and muddle through. That notebook idea? Day 1, very, very helpful. Day 2- now where did I put that blasted thing????
I was in fact checking something when I saw your email and of course was distracted and had to read it and forgot what I was checking in the first place! I put online postups or sticky notes of the tasks to remind me of things when I am working and if I get off task, it’s always on my desktop to remind me (the actual paper ones get used for phone numbers or doodling or I misplace them or…wait…what was I talking about?)
An idea for helping tackle taking care of a house, is to subscribe , by email to FLYLADY. She uses many of your 5 ideas to help people like us! Her ideas help me to focus!
I LOVE Flylady — she has saved my bacon many times. My grandmother used to bleach water her walls. That gene skipped me and I’d rather paint, write, socialize, play outside or whatever else comes floating across my brain. She has great organizational tips for people like me. I can do anything for 15 minutes.
I have another one to add Ken. Start your task list early. If I procrastinate when I get up in the morning and start doing everything else except what’s on the list, I find myself way behind in getting anything done. Then I feel pressure and get stressed out trying to rush and get my list completed. If I start early on the list, I find I have time at the end of the day to relax and feel proud of myself that I’ve checked everything off the list! I love your list though. I’ve followed those steps for a long time and they make a huge difference.
Ken, I love your hilarious list. I’m 70 years old and have tried them all. Nothing helps. I’m amazed I’m able to finish this reply! By the way, how do I order a copy of FULLY ALIVE? I clicked on the name several times (it was underlined like a link, you know; and nothing happened! The excerpt you had in the Bill Gaither Homecoming magazine about your little granddaughter made me weep.) Okay; my mind is leaving me again so I will sign off for now! You are indeed a blessing!
Ken, I totally identify with you. My husband is ADHD and does the things you recommend to keep him on track. Some days we both look at each other and say “What was I going to do?”. Thanks for your insane madness that helps us cope.
Ken, You just described to a tee what a SHE is! (Sidetracked Home Executive) What has worked for me is following the principles you have described, but more in depth. I am not sure I can advertise here, but check out http://www.flylady.net That is what works for me! Thanks again for the reminder to not bog myself down too much or “beat myself up” when I take on too much and cant finish. (oh, speaking of sidetracked, I see someone else is a “flybaby” too!)
I’ve never been diagnosed, but I COMPLETELY relate to distractions pulling me away from what I set out to do…
Thanks for the hints … now if I can just find a notebook and pencil to make a list… Hey! I was wondering where I put that yo yo… I wonder if I can “walk the dog”…
Yeah, I talk to myself outloud, “I’m going to the
garage to dump the recyclables, I’m going to the
garage to dump the recyclables.” or “I was
putting clothes in the washer…”
Know what I mean?
May I call you Ken? What can you do since I already did? Saw your movie last night. A great combination of humor and seriousness. 2 points of constructive criticism. Oh, oh, don’t you hate when people say that? For people who are auditorally challenged, the volume fluctuated quite a bit and was hard to hear at times. Secondly, the lighting made it quite hard to see the pictures of your grandchildren (they were quite dark). Perhaps if the camera zoomed in on them a bit they would have shone up more brightly. Great show, though. The message came through loud and clear. Allow me to leave you with a bit of humor. My wife and daughter have a tendency towards OCD. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). They may even have CDO. Which is the same thing, except in alphabetical order. Well, can’t get distracted by all the other tantalizing blog posts, or I may be late for work. TTFN
Good Morning, Mr. Davis! I love your list, even though I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD, ADDH, DADH, or HDAD! It’s a sensible for list for ANYONE – especially those over the age of 50! And, being that I’m well past that, the list makes perfect sense. I saw your movie last night, with my husband and one of my grandsons. Thoroughly enjoyable for all ages! I’ve never attended a “premier”, or even a limited showing of ANY movie, and I’m so glad I chose this one to be the first. We got to the theater in plenty of time, to secure our snacks, and the best seats in the house. However, the sound in our theater never wavered. It was extremely LOUD! Even for an old geezer like me! But I didn’t miss a word. My husband and I will enjoy 43 years of marriage come this June. And we can laugh with all your marital experiences. Been there, done that.
As always, I pray God will bless you and yours now and until His return.
PS. Why do I get a sad face on my icon?
I’ve always been good at organizing my things to do schedule, but since I retired 3 years ago, I notice I’m beginning to wander through the days. In retirement this isn’t always bad, but I’m somewhat concerned about what I was supposed to be doing instead of writing this e-mail to you!
The last line of #3 screams out my name. I can get called off task faster than anyone I know. At the end of the day, I know I have been so busy, but none of my original tasks are completed. So frustrating!!!!
1. Write stuff down:
I’m very good about writing stuff down to help jog my memory…but I usually either forget where I wrote it or that I wrote something down. If I remember to tell the wife when I write something down, she will remind me. But…I forget to tell her.
2. Set a time to work on a specific task:
I always set times for specific tasks. Unfortunately, I get distracted with other tasks because I forget about the specific ones.
3. Gather what you need ahead of time:
I have 5 hammers, 6 pry bars, 5 tape measures, 7 crescent wrenches, etc…think I can find one when I need it? Gone to the hardware store to buy more.
4. Take a break between tasks:
Get too involved in the task at hand. Blast right through any planned breaks!
5. Only put a doable amount of tasks on your daily to do list:
Starts out that way, but holy cow…there goes a chicken!
Ken this is great. I can really relate. I’m also happy to see so many comments about Flylady. Marla is a lifeline for me. My son is ADHD and according to his pediatrician so am I. I tried meds and they didn’t work for me. Blocking out time to exercise really helps. I’m an avid list maker but can get lost in the process of even that. If it’s not in my calender it doesn’t happen. now my trick is to stop losing my calenders. 😉 Of course I married a level headed engineer/musician who marvels at me some days. He likes to remind me that SMART goals are my friend.
ps. halfway through reading this I googled DADH and wondered why you thought you were the Deputy Assistant Director of Hygiene. true.
Love this post! I have the same problem – in fact, my husband accuses of me of starting huge projects the day before we go on a trip just so I can avoid packing.
I think your hints were really helpful. I especially like #4. I think I’ll go have a cup of coffee now!
I have no idea what DADH or ADDH are… in Australia we have ADD and ADHD. Are these similar disorders in the same vein?
I know that I had Bipolar Disorder and when I am in a hypermanic state its just like what you have described but amplified by exponentials!
Your list is great… Very similiar to how I manage to slow my mind down to a crawl so that I can actually achieve something!
One other thing I find that helps as I sit in front of the computer is to chew some gum or nuts, because in multi-tasking with a sensory stimulus we need to actually ENGAGE the brain that little bit more and it tends to slow us down just that little bit further 😉
Fi I also have a touch of dislexia. DADH and ADDH are what I might be tempted to write when I am thinking ADHD. My friends know that this was an attempt to look with a smile at my wonderful life. I am so grateful for all of what I am. BTW I loved your hint for helping our restless minds Thank you for being a part of the conversation.
Hilarious…that is sooo ME! I just love your humorous way of relating such enlightening thoughts. Keep it coming!
I enjoy your work so much as a mother of a son currently struggling with ADHD and anxiety disorder I love to find adults he can look up to and get comfort that God has made him for great things. Thank you for reminding me to lighten up.