Dear ADHD…

Posted: June 15, 2011 in ADHD
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve had a lot of free time the last couple of months, and I’m starting to sort you out, you rascal!

I’ll post more about this in the months to come. This is just a start. I’ve ranted about all the ways you get in my way before, but I definitely don’t want you to think that I’ve somehow resigned myself to failure. Quite the contrary, my dear man! (Imagine me saying that sporting a ridiculous mustache and wearing a monocle and a top hat, please.)

I blogged a short while ago about how I’ve fine-tuned a method to get past one of your nasty habits. That’s great and all, but now that I’m self-employed and having to create my own work schedule, things are getting even more complicated. You see, if I’m going to be doing things when I want to do them, I have to be disciplined about not only starting them, but also about finishing them. And because there are so many things I’m working on right now (I mean, besides all the writing projects and the consulting thing, there are new blogs on the horizon, a couple of web comics, and I’m even starting to produce some music) on top of all my favorite distractions (Facebook, emails, blog feeds, silly sites, etc.)… Well, yeah, it’s hard enough getting started, but staying on track is becoming a bigger pain in the ass than a chili juice enema.

Obviously, I need to plan out my days carefully. And I’m doing that. Thanks, Tips. Good one. Little obvious, maybe, but I’ll let it slide.

I need more than the obvious here. I need to analyze this shit and come up with strategies to blow your fucking MIND. (Would that mean I’m blowing my own mind? Wait…) I need to put Bezuidenthustra Labs on the case.

And I did exactly that. A bunch of goofs in lab coats have been running around behind my eyes all month, and they’re starting to publish their reports. You may be interested in what they have to say, ADHD. It’s likely going to relegate you to the playpen for large chunks of the day. Or, if you’re lucky, it’ll just let you play outside the pen in a much more controlled way. You know, kind of like teaching chimps how to kick a ball, then putting them all in a room with goals at each end and a ref in the middle. You’re a ball-kicking chimp, ADHD.

Bezuidenthustra Labs presents: ADHD Self-Employment Tips

Tip 1 – Embrace Short Bursts

Hyperfocus. It’s a thing. Really. Believe us. We’re scientists.

The problem with hyperfocus is that it’s very difficult to harness and control. However, if it can be artificially induced and managed, it is a great way to control ADHD (read: turn ADHD into a ball-kicking chimp).

And because we’re scientists, we’ve figured out how to induce hyperfocus. Sort of. (We’re not the best scientists around.)

The trick? SHORT BURSTS.

Let’s explain. If you limit the period during which attention is required to a short time (say, 60-90 minutes), chances are much greater that attention won’t wane. Additionally, if you place a category on that time frame, your results improve. “Category” is different from “task” —  a “task” involves a specific item that must be accomplished (e.g., “Finish sewing those green socks!”) while a “category” is just a general filter for pursuits that may or may not involve several tasks (e.g., “Do research on green socks!”). Of course, you can’t be too general about your categories. For example, you’d want to tell someone to “do social media marketing for your blogs” for 60 minutes, not “marketing for 60 minutes”. A little guidance is needed.

So the rough formula, then, is this:

  • 60-90 minute time frames
  • A (fairly specific) category to pursue
  • The places where this category should be pursued (e.g., for social media marketing, places like Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • A cookie

Why is this helpful?

First, it allows a frenetic pace during the set time frame. The idea is to put on blinders and just go, go, GO! That’s pretty much how hyperfocusing works, too. It lets the subject look up after shit’s done and be all, like, “Huh? What?”

Second, it allows a number of important functions to be done in a day. And it’s a long day. If you’re self-employed, you may end up working 12-14 hours of any given day. If you break those into 12-14 separate sessions and manage to turn them into something fun and focused, not only do you look like a mega-kindergartener, but you also help stave off mental fatigue.

And third, it allows for a sense of completion and fulfilment, even if very little was completed or fulfilled. Success here is about finishing off the short burst, not about ticking off tasks completed. It’s about learning that being productive often involves lots of effort that feels like it’s disappearing into the ether. It isn’t. It just can’t be ticked off a concrete to-do list. But “60 minutes of social media marketing for blogs” is something that can be ticked off a to-do list.

And finally, cookies have magical properties similar to those of very tiny wizards.

When done right, these short bursts should replicate the same sort of blind intensity people experience when they hyperfocus. Once we at Bezuidenthustra Labs have perfected the formula, we will probably can it and sell the rights to Nestle. Just a heads up.

So there you have it, ADHD. Some extra-science-y writing from the folks at Bezuidenthustra Labs. Are you willing to learn to play along? Come on, think about it. Being a ball-kicking chimp is way cooler than sitting all by your lonesome in a playpen with no toys.

Now don’t make me come after you with some very tiny wizards.

Hyperfocusingly yours,
Bezuidenthustra

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