Productive Procrastinator

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

– Chinese Proverb

I’ve always wondered how people got stuff done. I mean, really.

If you have a full-time job, how is one supposed to get to the bank, pick up groceries, pay bills, go to the dentist, tend the garden, clean the house, cook meals and return that overdue library book — not to mention having time left over to get some exercise and have a social life?

This is NOT my office ... just sayin'.

This is NOT my office … just sayin’.

And for me, that’s WITHOUT kids. Single parents who work AND attend school simultaneously, well, I just can’t fathom it.

Since learning I have this “disorder” called ADD, I realize that most people are more efficient than me, don’t lose track of time and have the ability to stay organized and focused. These are all things I’ve lacked my entire life.

Now I’m in sort of brain-training mode and consider myself a productive procrastinator.

There are myriad ways to overcome ADD without drugs. Tools like alarms, reminders, calendars, task lists are all available apps that can be synced between computer and mobile devices (see more about learning to live with Adult ADD in a previous post: Where is … uh, what was I looking for again?).

It’s true, I’m becoming more productive, less distracted, more organized and overall I’m happier.

I’m even watching football as I write this. I must admit, however, if someone asked me what just happened in the game — unless it was something spectacular — I wouldn’t be able to tell them. I guess I’m just half-watching.

Anyway, here’s a list of some of what I’ve accomplished in the last few days:

  • Finished a 700-word magazine story.
  • Applied for a job.
  • Paid some bills.
  • Researched wetsuits (have I mentioned that I’m addicted to triathlons?).
  • Went grocery shopping (several times — I know, not exactly efficient).
  • Cooked several dinners.
  • Tended the gardens — multiple, yes.
  • Went on a 25+ mile bike ride (woo hoo).
  • Went to the farmers market and ordered iris rhizomes.
  • Cycled into town from the farmers market, attended a local arts festival, drank beer with friends (way fun day).
  • Picked about a pound of sour cherries.
  • Wrote a couple of blog posts.
  • Invoiced a consulting client.
  • Sent a birthday gift to my sister-in-law.
  • Baked a cheesecake.
  • Cleaned the bathroom.
  • Made a mess of the kitchen several times and cleaned it up again.

All of this in just three days. Maybe this isn’t a lot, I don’t know.

So I’m curious what you think?

Exercising the Distraction Devil

I’m just back from a lovely 25+ mile bike ride and it’s clear how exercise helps with ADD. I feel energized and happy and ready to get to work.

Experts say (and I know from experience) that ADDers required to sit in one place for long periods of time can get quite fidgety and distracted. Any sort of exercise, even getting up and taking a short walk, can help redirect an unfocused mind.

“Think of exercise as medication,” Dr. John Ratey told ADDitude magazine.

Associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-author of “Driven to Distraction” (which I highly recommend, by the way), Ratey continued:

“For a very small handful of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ADD), it may actually be a replacement for stimulants, but, for most, it’s complementary — something they should absolutely do, along with taking meds, to help increase attention and improve mood.”

I know for me, the task of sitting still to write anything longer than a tweet can be excruciating.

This week, I was working on a short magazine story. After conducting four interviews, I was ready to sit down at my computer and punch out about 700 words.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t stay focused on the story for more than an hour or so at a time. I washed dishes then wrote a little. Poured more coffee, wrote some more. Ate lunch, read the newspaper and played a computer game before typing up a few more paragraphs. Then I watered the garden.

At least the gardens weren’t dry, the kitchen was clean and my stomach was full.

People with ADD, myself included, are not only apt to daydream or lose concentration, but they can also become hyperfocused. When I’m in hyperfocus mode, it’s generally a good thing because it means I’m being productive. There are downsides, however.

When I’m in the zone, I tend to lose track of time.

Yesterday, for example, I had about an hour to pay a few bills online before taking the orange monster cat to the vet at 10 a.m. Before I knew it, it was 10 minutes to 10 and the feline was still out roaming! Fortunately we were able to wrangle him up, get him packed in his crate and I was only a few minutes late for his appointment.

When hyperfocused I also tend to shut out the world. Someone can speak to me and I hear his voice, but the meaning of his words don’t register. This infuriates my significant other. And I can’t say I blame him. But I’m working on it … really I am.

For now, I guess I can be content that the story has been submitted and I can get back to blogging since I started this post around noon. And now it’s past time for bed.

Um, what was I writing about again?

 

 

 

Despite the Quietude

“You may delay, but time will not.” Benjamin Franklin

It’s just too easy to procrastinate when this is one’s “office.”

Photo on 7-30-14 at 11.42 AM

The Office

Just sayin’.

But as Ford and Chrysler’s Lee Iacocca once said:

“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”

And as my oh-so-witty cousin once profoundly said, “I want to come back in my next life as the cat of a very busy person.”

My writing buddy ...

My writing buddy …

But, of course, there’s this …

“If you ask me, reincarnation is just another way to procrastinate.” Chuck Palahniuk, “Lullaby”

OK, so I’m getting to it now … but first I need more coffee.