Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Attention!

I've been going over, in my mind for quite a while, how is the best way for me to present this.
I have gone through different scenarios in my head about the reaction from folks that I know and even the reaction from folks I don't know.  The more I go over this the more certain I am that I must share my experience. 

This year I learned I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD.  

(This is a something I have, not what I am!)

The very instant I found out I was overcome with great sadness followed by extreme fear.  When I allowed the feelings to sit with me I was taken over by relief.  The last 30 years of my life became vividly clear and now I could consciously put systems into play to help me manage effectively.  It's truly a blessing to have this awareness, as I have beat myself for so long for so many things that have been affected by the ADHD. As an adult I have already organically implemented various coping skills.  Now that I am clear of my situation I have the ability to make choices that help me prosper and be in harmony with myself and the universe.  Almost immediately I began incorporating practices that help me function without the stress of ADHD and without the use of medication.

One huge thing I realized once I got this knowledge was my last job, outside of the home, was very challenging for me because of the small work space and the monotony of being at a desk all day, every day. It was torture.  I blamed myself so much and lacked great compassion for myself.  I cried quite often, as the discomfort I felt on a daily basis was unbearable.  Had I known then perhaps I could have worked out systems with my supervisor and colleague to circumvent the frustration not only for myself but for all parties included.  

The position I had prior was one where I was able to flourish as I used every single one of my talents and weaknesses innately and was extremely effective and successful; all the while I was happy and completely enjoying myself. The variety of situations kept me positively engaged.  I will give you a few examples so you can get a clearer picture.

Waking up early to respond to work emails while I ate breakfast in my pjs allowed me to multitask in a comfort zone.  I would create my daily "to do" lists and move about my day.  Once my lists were created, my reports submitted and emails answered, I could dress up begin my Field Work.  First thing I would maybe shoot on over to a meeting in Jackson Heights with the Assistant Principal of a middle school who had the After School program under control, and was proud of what it is and what he created there.  Shortly after being there I would head off to the next school right down the road where my contact was like, "ok, I do not want this, it was just handed to me, can you hire someone to be in charge here at the school, I have way too much on my plate."  Some days the energy would be a bit draining so before going off to meet with the Principal Players at the schools in Far Rockaway to help in anyway possible with the challenges the schools were facing, I would have to stop and pick up a sandwich for lunch or just a tall latte with a raspberry scone, most days I would just wait to get to the office and order a salad from Nolita House or something from the deli to hold me over.  I worked with phasing out schools, high functioning "A" schools, Middle Schools, High Schools, it was a plethora of situations and events, every single day.  Never, ever a dull moment!

After being at all these diverse educational facilities and meeting with all these wonderful folks who are truly just doing a:what they know and b:their best, I would head into the office to do paperwork and/or meet with the folks who I shared a common passion with, emboldening lives. At any given point during the course of the day I was engaged in supervising and working with several of the amazing and the few sometimes not-so-amazing Trainers.  You know the latter being those who 'were good but that's what stopped them from being great,' trainers.  There was never a schedule for trainer interaction only for trainer observation and sometimes for trainer visits.  At one point I was supervising 33 schools which translated into about 45 trainers.  I can proudly say that only one negative incident went down on the record because I had too many schools and just confided and trusted the folks I supervised to be consummate professionals. 

I so loved my job.  I was GREAT at it.  The interaction with these multiple personalities was a blessing to me and worked so harmoniously with my ADHD.  The energy in each of the schools is extremely diverse and the contact with the people was as well.  This is a great reason why at the time I was such an amazing field supervisor.  The shift from the outgoing and engaged position to a position which limited my interaction with diversity was a challenge.  

(If per chance the folks I worked with in the last position are reading this, I apologize wholeheartedly for any unnecessary stress I brought to the table, I wish I knew then what I know now).




RESOURCES/INFORMATION/FEEDBACK:



Tackling To-Do Lists with ADHD
by Judith Kolberg


People with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) experience time and time management differently than non-ADDers.
Rather than a series of discrete moments following one another in predictable fashion, ADDers sense time as one long NOW. That’s great when it comes to solving problems and handling crises — and it certainly makes the day go faster. But the ADD way of experiencing and managing time complicates things if you’re trying to complete the items on your to-do list.
My client Julia explained her time-sense this way: “Each day goes along like a rudderless boat, lurching through rapids, bashing up against rocks, and then finally landing on shore. I wind up completing only one or two to-dos from my list. It’s very frustrating.”
To accomplish everything you need to do each day with maximum efficiency and minimum hassle, you need more than a calendar or a to-do list. I’ve had clients who were meticulous about maintaining their calendars — and yet were habitually late to meetings and events, if they showed up at all. And I’ve had clients with to-do lists so long it would take them two lifetimes to get everything done.
What you need is my simple, three-step “system with a rhythm.” Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Create your master to-do list.
A master to-do list should capture everything that’s currently on your plate. I’m talking about big things, like planning a wedding or moving, all the way down to simple tasks, like hanging a picture.
To create the master list, gather all the reminders you’ve written yourself in recent days — the scraps of paper, sticky notes, napkins, envelopes, and so on—and compile them into a single list. Transcribe the list into a single word-processing document; a computerized master list is much easier to update than a master list on paper.
Each task added to your master list should be a simple one. By that, I mean something that takes only a single step — making a phone call, buying a hammer, or sending an R.S.V.P. This means you’ll have to break large - scale projects into smaller units. Instead of “buy new car,” for instance, create separate entries, such as “research options,” “calculate how much to spend,” “determine trade-in value of old car,” and so on.
Your master list might contain scores of tasks and events. Obviously, you won’t be able to do everything; you’ll have to set priorities. I recommend the “A-B-C” system: Mark high-priority items (things you absolutely must attend to) with an “A.” Lower-priority items get marked with a “B” (if I have the time) or “C” (fat chance).
Of course, you can use numbers (1-2-3), symbols (3 stars, 2 stars, 1 star), or colors (red-yellow-blue). One of my clients prioritizes her master list using the terms “Now,” “Later,” and “Parking Lot.”

Step 2: Prep your planner.
What you’re able to accomplish depends on how much time is available to you. Sounds simple, right? Yet many ADDers overestimate the amount of time they have — because they fail to recognize how many hours of each day are already “booked” with regular obligations, appointments, events, and tasks.
Sit down with your calendar, personal digital assistant (PDA), or daily planner, and enter all the time- and date-specific items, such as events, birthdays, anniversaries, due dates, meetings, or appointments, one week at a time. Schedule in all the daily and weekly chores you routinely do, as well — shopping for groceries, exercising, balancing your checkbook, and so on.
Once you’ve entered all your time-sensitive and everyday tasks in your calendar, you’ll be able to see, at a glance, how much time you really have to work with.
Step 3: Put it all together.
Now you have two things: a master list of everything you need to do AND a calendar that tells you how much time is available to you each day.
ADDers often have unrealistic expectations of what they can accomplish in a single day. But biting off more than you can chew sets you up for failure. To figure out your daily action plan, look at today’s page in your calendar or planner and then review the A- and B-priorities on your master list.
Estimate how many high-priority master-list items you can fit around your scheduled tasks. Ask yourself, “Given the things I already have scheduled today, is my plan practical?” Consider these points:
  • Plan to do less than you think you might be able to accomplish. That way, you’ll have a “cushion” in case you’re waylaid by heavy traffic, a sick child, or some other unforeseeable problem.
  • Remember to leave enough time for meals, as well as travel to and from appointments and errands.
  • Be sure that each day includes a mix of “high-brain” and “low-brain” tasks; if your day is taken up solely by things that are hard to do or that require lots of decision-making, you’ll be exhausted.
  • Each day should include time outdoors; “green time” has been shown to improve focus and mood.
Once the high-priority items and your scheduled activities are put together, you have that day’s action plan. You can write this list right onto your calendar or planner, enter it into your PDA, or write your list on a separate piece of paper.
As you go about your day, keep your day-planner or PDA handy so you can “capture” new to-do items as they occur to you. When you get home, transfer these to your computerized master list. Once a week or so, re-prioritize the items on your updated master list, and start the entire process anew.
With this system, you’ll be able to accomplish all of your A-priorities, and quite a few of your Bs. What about your Cs? Every once in a while, review your master list. You’ll probably decide that many of the Cs aren’t worth bothering with. That’s a good thing. After all, life isn’t entirely reducible to to-do lists.


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Respectfully & Sincerely yours,
JeWeLs


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing and providing new thoughts to consider.

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    1. You are absolutely welcome. You know me fairly well and this one was a difficult one to share. I initially felt too vulnerable to do it and the more I wrote and journaled the more I realized that I HAD to share. The sharing gives me strength and helps me to continue growing. It makes me happy to know that you find value in the information shared.
      Love you!

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