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I should call this post ADD and Me as it has been more than part of my shadow for all of my life. It affects my work, relationships, and friendships in good and challenging ways. For the record, when we forget to do something, it’s not intentional and it generally bothers us even more than we may convey. We have a blind spot due to our ADD and sometimes it causes us to collide with familiar issues. These issues tend to be sore spots for us. One example for me would be running late. I really dislike running late but it’s challenging for people with ADD as time is grasped by our brain in a different way. There isn’t the typical countdown clock that other people have that includes travel time associated with events. For us it tends to fall into the categories of: “before we need to be somewhere” and “crap, I am late!” This often causes us a ton of anxiety but our brains truly see time in a different way. I am sure that research is out there which shows it has something to do with the executive function part of our brain and a deficiency in the lobe that manages time awareness.
Over the years I have developed some strategies that help. I will list a few of them below.
- Exercise helps with focus: This has been one of the most helpful things in my adult life. When I was in college I started working out and running regularly. I can’t tell you how much this helps to unclutter my mind and focus.
- Time slices: Things like the pomodoro technique are vital with helping an ADD person focus. Pick a task, set a timer and only focus on that one task. If you use a mac, you can use Vitamin R as well.
- To Do: Start each week with a to do list and then assign the tasks to available time slots with reminders. I know this sounds simple, but it took me years to implement.
- Color Coding: If you use a filing system, color code it by category. This may be tricky for the ADD person to setup, so maybe have someone help you with it. I would also recommend using a mail sorter that helps to begin the categorization system.
- Launch Pad: Create a launch pad for yourself. In the mornings, I have my lunch, jacket, packed bag, etcetera all ready to go sitting by the door. It helps me a lot.
- Mindfulness: Disclaimer – I don’t do this one as often as I should although I am a big believer in it. Using methods like Headspace, meditation videos on Youtube, or just spending a few minutes every day in a quiet space trying to empty your mind is very helpful. All of this will help to declutter your mind and make you more focused and calm.
- Medication: We will have an upcoming post on medication and technology that can help manage ADD. My suggestion would be to find a doctor that has a view on medication that is complimentary to your perspective on medicine. More holistic psychiatrists will focus on the broader spectrum assessing things like exercise and diet. Some doctors may use machines that can assess a baseline of functioning and then reassess to see if the medication is doing what it is supposed to. Others may quickly prescribe what they think may work best. There are a number of medications out there and it is important to understand why your doctor is picking them, what to look for if it is working, and options if they don’t work.