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Old 08-25-12, 07:00 PM
mADD mike mADD mike is offline
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Re: Haven't posted in years, maybe this will inspire someone.....

Hi BR549,

Good questions. I'll post some answers below, and address things.

1. Can you explain what you mean by harnessing the "all" side of how your brain works?

Well, seeing as how I'm a perfectionist as well, I often get into black or white, all or nothing thinking, and that sometimes results in all or nothing actions. Kind of like how some people talk about ADD and say that there is now, and not now. I often find myself trying to do too many things at once, because I am a fixer, and I spend time trying to get in shape, pay off debt, build businesses, all kinds of things, and all at once. Once my wife and I talked and decided that we'd focus on the debt, to the exclusion of most other things in life, and we worked on it pretty much exclusively (though I couldn't resist throwing in diversions occasionally like trying to eat better and such), the debt went down. For years I kind of think that we played around with it, and it wasn't until we got fed up and scared that it would eventually overwhelm us that we found the focus to push everything else aside and concentrate on this one issue of life. My only fear is that later we let down and swing the pendulum over to the nothing side, and kind of spend carelessly. I don't think we will, as we have some systems in place now, but it has always been hard to remain consistent with anything. But we paid a heavy price for this, and learned how to handle money better, so I really don't think it will swing so far the other way now that we're done.

2. When you say "scattered focus" you mean just go from one project to another in typical ADHD fashion? I guess I'm having trouble visualizing this, since when I get scattered, I don't finish anything.

I'm not scattered or have scattered focus when I take medication. Did you quit taking meds and/or find that you worked better without them?

Although I'm scattered, and bounce from project to project, I find that once I allowed myself the freedom to bounce, I actually do finish things with more regularity. For years I fought against that, but this time I allowed myself to throw in some new things in our cleaning business while working on a variety of marketing projects on the side. I worked with who I am, and it worked better for me. As far as projects go, cleaning jobs are just things that we do daily anyway according to our schedule. So, like anyone else, we went to work and worked hard there. Then I got to come home and work on other things, and if I didn't finish those projects, I found that I could regain interest in them the next night, primarily because marketing is multi-faceted and very interesting to me.

And I don't take meds, so there was no change there.

3. Do you find it hard to stay regimented, organized and on task? How do you deal with that? I mean, you've accomplished a lot, but were there times that you had difficulty in these areas?

The beautiful thing about what we do on a daily basis in cleaning houses is that we don't have to stay on task at all times. If we want, we can get on our phones and check a website and take a break for a minute. Or, the day can be broken up with various stimulation like an email coming in. I listen to my mp3 player pretty much all day while cleaning, and pick things that interest me like podcasts and books that are more stimulating to my brain than music.

The more that we filled our days with work, the more pressure we found that it put on us to get to our first job at a certain time so that we could end around the time we planned on ending the last job of the day. Obviously, we didn't always start on time. Heck, one of the local bridges was closed all of this summer, and another was closed last year, both for major repairs, and both are major highways. So, that added further problem as far as getting to work at the time we wanted to. But we found that if we aimed at the time we wanted to arrive, or maybe a bit before, we would usually arrive close to on time and not too late. It wasn't perfect, but adding more work put more pressure on, and that definitely helped.

So, being self-employed, I had the freedom to allow myself to be somewhat distracted and not 100% regimented and disciplined.

Oh, and yes, there were indeed times where I'd get really frustrated with us for not getting up on time or for getting wrapped up in a project at home and not getting out the door in time. Then we'd buckle down for a bit, and things would go better, and then the cycle started again. I wasn't frustrated so much by not getting out the door in time, it happens, and I understand. But I was frustrated in knowing that we were making the day harder on ourselves when that happened, and that we'd have to work faster or push harder to stay on task for the rest of the day to make up for lost time.

I know that some of the issues I face with focus aren't always as hard as the next person's, and are probably more severe than some. Not everyone has kind of an obsessive coping mechanism like perfectionism which comes with some advantages and a lot of disadvantages as well. We all have different circumstances, and your mileage may vary, but there are certainly ways to get things done, and if we all keep trying, eventually we'll have victories here and there. For us, this was a big one. There are still plenty of things to work on in life, but having that weight gone is really nice.
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