Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Overcommitting or Committing Oneself: Organization Dilemmas for the Chronically ADD

Having ADD is kind of like being an out-of-control magician: you never know what you're going to pull out of the brain.  Most days, I can wake and know immediately if I am going to accomplish items on my to-do list or not, but every morning is a surprise.  I can definitely count on days closest to my period being a catastrophic mess - there is definitely a link between hormonal shifts and focus.  I talk more about that here.

But what do you do if you have a massive number of projects to finish and you're in the midst of a full-on ADD brain fog?  Seriously, that's a question.  What do you do?

I've been trying to keep my calendar in front of me at all times, along with two pens, a notebook, a scratch pad, my phone, a glass of water (because organization is dehydrating) and any notes that are necessary to keep me in task.  Right now, I am helping organize an annual fundraiser for my children's school that requires a lot of coordinating with my co-chair and various teachers.  It involves a lot of dates, paperwork, and announcements.  I am also writing a bio for my father-in-law for an awards banquet, arranging to teach a community writing workshop, defending my graduate thesis and reading a friend's thesis for her defense, planning a major trip for the summer, writing articles for the freelance gig, submitting essays to contests, revising work for my last graduate packet, dealing with a medical issue, and just about losing what is left of my crumbling mind.

I've had multiple requests to meet for coffee, meet for tea, scheme a business plan, give blogging advice, help with a community project, and volunteer at school and ballet.  Some of those meetings I even instigated!  With March a week away, I also have to start planning for spring break and summer camps.

Last week I told my husband I needed a raise . . . from his paycheck.

This week, I think I just need to hire a personal assistant and give him or her my raise . . . from my husband's paycheck.

With March right around the corner, at least I have spring on the horizon.  Here's how I know for certain: I heard birds singing yesterday, all of the snow and ice outside my front windows has melted, I saw young athletes convening in the park last night, it's just a teensy bit light at 6 PM, and my spring headaches are beginning to ring behind my eyes.

I think my first step at clearing the brain cobwebs will be to take a short walk down the street, breath in the clean air, and look for bulbs beginning to sprout.

We're all so busy and over-committed, even those of us lucky enough to "work" from home.  How do you juggle it all?


  1. Great post, Amy. I'm sorry that you feel overwhelmed, but it is a comfort to know that others struggle, too. (Chaos loves company?) I really struggle with organization and taking on too many tasks and then feeling overwhelmed because I can't get organized and complete them. It's one of the reasons why I took a mindfulness seminar this weekend--to help me learn to focus better. And, wow, has society and technology become a huge distraction....everywhere and everything is so, so busy. Anyway, I know you have enough on your plate already, but I just wanted you to know, I feel your pain, and I hope that makes you feel a little better. :) Also, check out last month's issue of Time. It talked about mindfulness and meditation. You may have seen it already

    1. Thanks, Debbie. I know that meditation would help, but (surprise!) it's incredible hard for me to let my brain relax. I don't mind being busy. I just need to remember to breathe and prioritize and that no one will die if I don't check off everything on my list. Thank you for commiserating. It does help.

  2. I'm with you, Amy. Spent. Depleted. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. I quite honestly can't give a specific way or method of juggling I use. (And judging from my exhaustion I may need to think my whole strategy altogether.) But for me it's just one day at a time, sometimes one task at a time, sometimes one hour at a time. I tend to look ahead at the Everest of things to tackle and I feel myself start to crumble. So I ignore Everest and focus on what needs done right now. And, of course, I live with my planner/calendar glued to my eyes so I stay mildly and precariously on track. Hang in there, Amy! You're not alone!

    1. Oh Anna, you're too good to me. Thank you for sharing your own frustrations. This tends to happen every February/March because both of my kids have February birthdays (i.e. planning parties and gifts and thank yous) and then all hell breaks loose in March with annual projects and performances. This year we have even more going on. I think I'm a glutton for panic. I have had so many meetings this week -- and I don't "work"! Okay, I'm going to practice my "No!" response and not take on anything else. After all, I have a thesis to defend in 2 weeks!

      You hang in there, too, Anna.

  3. at this very moment i am paralyzed with fear and indecision. i want to open my etsy shop. i want to post on my new craft blog but i am so afraid. afraid i'll fail, i fear people will not like my wares. even fear that my wares might injure someone. "a septic paper cut" i worry that i'm not organized enough to promptly respond to orders if i should get any. i live in a house with hundreds of projects that are almost completed. ideas and plans that remain in the planning stage. the spare room upstairs looks like it could be on a show of hoarders. i chase and chase that elusive women - who is organized, on time, who never arrives with her ass on fire just before the lights dim.

    my name is bev and i'm a slight mess!!

    1. Apparently, Bev, I'm in worse shape than you having just discovered your comment A MONTH LATER! Just put your awesome stuff out there. If it sells - great! If not, you had fun making it, right? I have started a shop, too, but have only produced 2 pieces. Ha! Once I get up to 10, I'll make more of a fuss about it and promote. Hugs to you!


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