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Just Do It By Crashing Forward

Posted from Just Do It By Crashing Forward

My last post here was 12 days ago. That’s not unusual here, or for other blogs. However, my goal (one of my New Year’s Resolutions, actually) was to write here (and on my other blogs) daily.

Now, in all fairness, that’s a tall order, but 12 days between posts isn’t even in the ballpark. As Jules from Pulp Fiction might say, “That’s not even the same damn sport.”

The issue, as is so often the case for us with adult ADD and ADHD, is a combination of getting started, and keeping going. Depending upon the way your personal ADD manifests, one of those two things might be harder for you. For me, it’s the former, although, at any point if some external event causes a break in the flow, it’s just as likely as not that I will not get restarted. (One might argue that this is still the issue of getting started, just from a new, unexpected, starting place.) For example, just now, I remembered that my coffee should be ready. I know that if I leave to get that coffee, this article will likely sit in an open tab in Chrome for DAYS, and that’s if I ever get back to it at all.

On the other hand, when I do get going, the results are often really good. It’s just that I can’t necessarily make myself get going. That’s really more of the whole depression/anxiety side of things, than a pure ADD trait, but it doesn’t matter where it comes from. The fact is, that it holds me up from achieving everything I am capable of achieving, and therefore, it must be dealt with.

Actually Getting Something Done

For nearly four years, we debated what to do with the little patch of land beside the sidewalk to the front of our house. It was once nicely landscaped by the previous owners, but had been let go by us. But, we made a decision to do something… four years ago. There was a plan. To execute the plan we had to go to Home Depot. Then, it turns out that plan was pretty expensive, so we put the project on hold, you know, to do some research and stuff. Then we came up with another plan. Another reason to put it on hold.

Finally, earlier this summer after literally FOUR SUMMERS of plans and no action, my daughter and I dug it up, laid down landscape fabric, covered it with wood chips, and planted three lilac bushes. It looks pretty good. It took less than half a day. Boom! Done.

add project done
Yes, I need to pull those weeds, but if I stopped to do that after taking the picture, I wouldn’t have come back to write this article.

What happened?

It came down to the fact that after all of the years of failed plans, my wife officially gave up. (I’m not blaming her, but she has the design skills and planning skills. I just copy what I see someone else do.) The other critical factor was we bought the lilac bushes and put them in big pots, but it turns out, you can’t grow lilac bushes in a pot like that, so they were dying. It was, do something now, or throw away the plants, and the $100 we spent on them. Now, I may be ADD lazy, but I’m also a former financial planner, and a world class tightwad. The reality is that I could have thrown them away and not cared, but I knew in the back of my mind that I would have to buy something else to replace them, and when it comes to spending money, I always want to spend it on Hawaii, not house stuff.

Editors note: I just went and got the coffee. That was a foolish decision, but I really wanted it. And, having mocked myself earlier in the article, I made a deal with myself that I would, for sure, come back to writing. I usually weasel out of these kinds of deals with myself (they aren’t REAL deals), but having just talked about it, I was able to see the problem coming and avoid it by rushing up, and back down before I could move my brain onto something else. — This is the point of this article, if you can see it coming, you can avoid it (sometimes).

The problem is that motivation is fleeting. So, I did two things that ended up ensuring the project would actually go. (I didn’t do either of these things intentionally. I realized after the fact, when I was trying to figure out why I can do some things –like this project– but end up not doing other things.) First, I offered my daughter allowance money for helping out. This is important. I never let my kids down. I let myself down all the time, but never my kids. Backing out of the project now, meant taking away an opportunity that I had promised her. Not going to happen if I can help it. Second, I didn’t plan. I didn’t figure it out. We measured quickly, and we went straight to home depot. We bought that red cedar mulch (it’s what they use at the Botanic Gardens), and came straight home, unloaded the bags, and started digging. Once we had part of it ready, we stopped digging and moved onto laying down the landscape fabric and wood chips. (It’s disheartening to work hard and then still have a long way to go, so “completing” parts is a good strategy if you can make it work.) Before you know it we were done.

Go! Go! Go!

Total time from initial motivation to DOING SOMETHING: Less than 10 minutes. — This is critical.

Total time from start to finish of project: Less than a day. — Not always practical, but super helpful.

Basking in my success, I announced that on Monday I would go get sod and fix the backyard. No plan, just sod the whole thing. Plus, I would figure out how to glue down the loose bricks on the back patio.

Boom! Nice yard, no more weeds, stable bricks.

Except…..

My wife gave me that look that says, not only do I not really approve of what you are doing, you should already know why I don’t approve of it.

So, I stopped. We talked… for 45 minutes. Have we really decided to keep the brick patio? Do we really want the whole thing to be grass? Do we want a deck, a platform, a pergola?

You can probably guess what happened from there.

We planned. We agreed. NEXT WEEKEND, we went to Home Depot. It would take $1000+ to execute the plan, and not just a weekend, but WEEKENDS… several actually.

Was that really the way we wanted to spend our summer?

The result?

my add backyard
Sigh.

My yard is still full of weeds and loose bricks.

Crashing Forward

The key to living successfully with ADD / ADHD, is knowing what it is and how it affects you. I don’t mean the fancy descriptions in all those ADD Books you probably already read, or about executive function, and serotonin levels. I mean, what trips you up. When does it happen, and can you see it coming, and if so, can you head it off at the pass?

Like many people with ADD, I have some level (relatively low I think) of depression and anxiety that makes forcing myself to so something very difficult. If I can just harness any motivation that does pop up, that really helps. It’s not the whole ballgame, but it helps a lot. Unfortunately, some things that need to be done I’m never motivated to do. But, for those other things, the key is to catch that momentum, get it going, and keep it going.

I’m calling this idea crashing forward. For me (and I bet for a lot of others) the main issue is letting all of those “other” things that are in the way stop us. Nike used to say, Just Do It, and that’s right, just doing something is great, but just do what? Therein lies the rub. If just doing it, means setup, prep, thinking, designing, planning, scheduling, and so on, then it’s game over. What I need is to crash through those steps and just get going. Will I make mistakes? Yes. Will things go wrong? Yes. Will I maybe do it the wrong way and have to do it over? Again, yes.

But…

I will DO IT!

This is the key. Imagine if for the backyard, I hadn’t said anything. Imagine I had just gone out and sodded the whole thing and glued down the bricks. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t have planned out something better. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t have done it the following weekend. But, if, in the very likely circumstance, it took a little while to execute, we would have a nice yard in the meantime. Now, it’s fall, and I don’t really have time, and… here we go again.

It comes down to the difference between the long-game and the short-game. I win the long game by playing the short game. I’ll never finish a full curriculum on my own, but you bet I can finish a crash course when my energy and enthusiasm is high. That’s what I need, a way to turn everything into the crash course version. Not just any crash course, but the crashiest possible course.

That’s my new project: Crashiest.

It’s a time management, organization, to-do list, motivation, all natural ADD treatment, planning, task management, completion system. — I bought the domain name a year ago. There is still no website. Why? I’ve been looking at whether to make it a blog or a regular website, researching frameworks, looking at templates, picking fonts, deciding on how to code the site, figuring out linking and design and….

You get the picture. Obviously I have work to do, both on myself, and on that website / system / program.

I’m headed there next to build it. I made a mistake coming here and blogging about it first, but I still have some motivation, so… wish me luck.

If it worked this time (09/20/2016), by the end of the day you should see something at crashiest.com when you click. I’m going to crash forward right here, right now.

I’m going to make it a regular website. I’ll add a blog. I’m going to use the Zurb Foundation framework/template thing, but I’m going to leave off all the extras. I can add them in later if I choose.

It should be ugly to start. It should have a lame design, and need some work. It should not be ready for me to use as a project sample for my web development career. Not yet.

But, what it should be is THERE, because I did something, instead of “working on it.”

 

Original content from among the many ADD tips and tricks at ADDessories.com

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Motivation vs Momentum and Distraction

Posted from Motivation vs Momentum and Distraction

For people with ADD (ADHD), motivation can be hard to come by. Or, at least that’s what I have thought until just recently. You see, the trick with lacking motivation due to ADHD, is that ADD is not so much about willpower and the ability to start things, as it is about distraction, and difficult to control executive function. In a way, ADD and procrastination shouldn’t necessarily go together, but they do. It’s just about momentum, more than it is about motivation.

ADD and Motivation

If you have ADD, chances are you have difficulty with time management and organization. But, in order to improve your ADHD skills in this area, you have to really understand what is happening.

Consider this, probably all to familiar scenario.

It’s morning. You just grabbed a cup of coffee. In your mind, you’ve been thinking about lots of things (naturally) but, as you exit the break room, you have an idea for a project you are working on. It’s a good idea, and you are excited about getting back to your desk and implementing the idea right away. Let’s say, you’re lucky this morning, and no one intercepts you along the way to distract you by asking about your weekend, or if you saw something on TV last night.

You sit down. You are ready and raring to go. So, you sit down, set your coffee where it goes, and log on. Then, you want music, of course, so you open Spotify, or whatever, and you look for a playlist. Not that one. Maybe that one. OK.

You have music now. You open the program that will let you do your idea, and it has a popup notification that there is an update. So, you click the update button. You listen to your music. You take a sip of coffee. You restart the program now that the update is finished, and…

momentum motivation procrastination add adhd

Now, you don’t really feel like doing the thing that you were so excited about just a minute ago.

Now, you start thinking of other things that are still work, but not this thing. Not the thing that would have actually pushed you forward. You answer emails. You check your voicemail. You notice that you are supposed to be on a conference call in 45 minutes, so there is no sense in getting into anything big since you’ll just need to switch tasks in 45 minutes. (If you didn’t have ADD, and this wasn’t your life, you might laugh hysterically, at the thought of someone with ADHD being unable to handle switching tasks after 45 minutes, as if you would make it that long in the first place.)

Momentum vs. Motivation in ADHD

So, what happened?

It’s easy to say that you were procrastinating, but what really happened was that you got distracted. But, it is a little harder to see here, because the distractions weren’t the kind that take you off task, so much, as they were the kind that slowed you down. They sapped the forward motion you had, acting like a brake at each step until you stopped. Just like any other object. Once your mind comes to rest, it takes more effort to get it moving again than it takes to keep it moving in the first place.

Using Momentum to Beat Procrastination

So, what can you do?

The key, as with many things ADD, is to be able to recognize what is truly happening. All too often, we just generically blame our ADD, as the reason why something didn’t get done. That may be true, but it won’t help you succeed.

In this case the key is to understand all of the little things that slow you down and keep you from getting started. If you are like many of us with ADHD, the reality is that once you get going on something, you are able to make progress. Depending upon the something (say, like writing this post, for example), you may be able to punch all the way through to completion before the distraction goblins come to show you a new app, or make you suddenly very curious about what company is directly above your office (it would only take a real quick elevator trip to find out…)

But, in order to finish, you have to get going first, and the key to that is to recognize the brakes and get past them as quickly as possible. The examples above are not pulled out of thin air. They are real things that happened to me earlier today, when I sat down motivated to write, but found myself picking music, updating software, and then ultimately, checking Twitter.

The key to getting this post done was that I realized earlier that I lost all my momentum, not by becoming distracted, per se, but by having my motivation nickel and dimed to death by little mini-tasks along the way. Armed with that knowledge I sat down, did not bother putting on music, ignored the update icon, and started writing. And, voila! Here we are, at 840 words in a blog post.

Now, I need to find some clip art, hit publish, and then throw out some links. If I’m lucky, I’ll make it all the way to the end. If I’m really lucky, I’ll only spend minimal time before moving on to the next thing I need to do. And, when I do, I’ll ignore as many speed bumps along the way as I can.

Original content from among the many ADD tips and tricks at ADDessories.com

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