My brain in hyper drive.
Everywhere I go – my office, my house, my car, my computer desktop – there is evidence of a brain moving so fast that the physical world can’t keep up. A jacket tossed hurriedly over a chair; mail ready to be sorted on the kitchen island; file folders in disarray on the desk, floor, conference table.
Perhaps most telling are the blue-and-white copies of a list entitled “50 Things to Love About ADD.” There are several scattered on the carpet, former members of a neatly stacked pile. After three weeks on the floor, two oblivious dogs and my occasional attempt at straightening, they now stick out at odd angles to and from each other.
I glimpse another bright blue copy peeking out from the middle of miscellaneous clutter on my desk. And in a distant drawer, in my well-labeled but underutilized file cabinet, an entire folder of those craft little copies repose in smug harmony.
Every time I walk past the out-of-place copies, they silently plead with me: I’m still here! Put me away, OK? I want to live with my fellow, matching papers in a neat little file in a neat little drawer. Please, please, please put me away!
I ignore the plea (inevitable, because I have something more important to do right now), but a tiny bit of unwanted guilt drills into my brain. How hard is it to pick up those copies and put them in the folder? It won’t take 60 seconds. Just do it!
But I know myself. If I pick up those copies, I will also start sorting the pile in which they live. And then the pile next to it. Soon I will have neat piles all over the floor – 30 of them. And instead of 60 seconds, it will be 60 minutes later. Chances are good that the original intention – to file the blue copies – will be lost to me. I will look at my watch, realize I am now late for an appointment and run from the room, leaving the thinner, neater piles on the floor. Just waiting to be scattered again.
Don’t psychologists say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again expecting a different result? I’m not insane. I stopped pretending I could stop at 60 seconds. And the piles collect dust. I am not proud of that. So….
How can I be positive about this? In recent years. I have learned to approach life with an incredibly positive attitude. Negative energy has no permanent foothold, but it’s a fairly new state of mind for me. So when I am in the midst of my self-inflicted chaos, I have to continually fight my way back to a mental state of Upbeat and Enthusiastic.
This week, I wonder if I am in denial about the effects of my ADD or whether I am subconsciously using my ADD as an excuse (oh, it’s hard to write those words) for the mess I have created and can’t seem to correct. Am I real Linda who is racing from one major project to another and literally too busy to declutter or am I Memorex Linda, always filtered through the cassette tape of my ADD which causes the clutter? Either way, the effect is identical: I can’t find anything efficiently. I try very hard to look past the surface disorganization (the fluff) to the core of my work (the meat). Lotsa questions, not so many answers
So WHY DON’T YOU JUST CLEAN IT UP? screams the linear wanna-be part of Linda. The answer is: darned if I know.
I talk to women all the time who are hopelessly mired in their household chores, their office load, their gardens. We work through a solution that involves accountability, small steps, gradual improvement. Yet what happens when I don’t have time for small steps? I want it done NOW. And there are 57 projects that are ALL pleading for my attention and my time. Whew, this post isn’t my most uplifting effort, I’ll admit. So what will I DO about all this? I don’t want to use ADD as an excuse. And yet, it is a big part of why the world has caved in on me once again – why I have so darned much trouble making forward progress? It’s kinda like being tied to a telephone pole and then asked to get out there and climb that mountain, plow that field, move on down the highway (OK, enough cliches for one post).
First things first. I have to be Real Linda AND Memorex Linda. That means the ADD gets put back into my awareness, not as an excuse but as another ‘thing’ to embrace, understand and include as I set goals for myself. The truth is that is takes me longer to do things than I realize. I am a speed demon in my brain, but when I start implementing some of the fabulous ideas that come up, I have some false starts. I blast out the door and then need to fall back a bit to recoup from my frenzied activity. Slow and steady will never be me. I will work in short bursts. I will not allow myself to get discouraged by the enormity of sorting through the piles and the clothes and … all of it.
So, I’ll start with the desk. I’ll spend one hour (timer set, I promise) clearing the papers, the notebooks, the software and the Post-its. I’ll even take pictures – again. It helps to have someone else doing this too. Why don’t you do it too? Send me a picture of your “before” messy desktop, then set the timer for an hour and do NOTHING ELSE except clear your desk. Then send an “after” picture. I’ll post them here in the ADDiva blog. Along with mine. Yikes!