Working WITH my ADHD. Working smarter, not just harder.

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Working WITH my ADHD. Working smarter, not just harder. 2012-02-14T09:46:04+00:00

The Forums Forums Tools, Techniques & Treatments Time Management Working WITH my ADHD. Working smarter, not just harder.

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  • #90519
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    Tiddler
    Member
    Post count: 802

    A breakthrough, perhaps. It’s make or break time and if this works it could make all the difference to my life.

    I’m doing an MA. My degree was a very stressful affair, done in my 20s. I’m now 40 and it’s even harder now as I can’t pull all nighters like I did in my 20s. Among other problems during my degree, I got blackouts from over work, spent weeks in bed with consecutive migraines, lost my dissertation for a while, overdid the caffeine and drank too much. My relationship disintegrated and I was fired from 2 jobs.

    And I’m doing it all again – this time with 2 children to look after and half the energy I used to have. It’s part time so that helps – a 3 year course instead of one.

    I’ve asked for help from the GP and she didn’t do the referral properly and I’m not even on the waiting list for help yet despite waiting 6 months to hear about an appointment. :( So no drugs or counselling or anything.

    I’ve asked for help from the learning mentor at uni. They didn’t know who was going to deal with me and I suspect that’s because they don’t get to work with people with ADHD very often because we aren’t usually lucky enough for our hard work to pay off in this way. Their advice was to stick up colour coded to do lists. (Yeah, right. I didn’t think of that one – my life is all better now!)

    So I’m on my own and I’ve lost ALL my work and having to start the whole year again and cram it into 2 months. I’m half way through that now and I’ve stalled big time. I just sit there for hours not doing what I really want to do the panicking and finally throwing together something at the last minute – just as I have ALWAYS done.

    So, here’s the thing. This is how I work. I can’t do it any other way. I’ve tried working harder. It doesn’t work. So what about working smarter?

    So, what if I don’t worry about it for now and wait till the last few days before the first deadline and power through when the adrenaline and panic kick in?

    Is this a dangerous strategy? This course will change my life – there’s no doubt about it. If I’m declaring my adhd and I can demonstrate that I can complete something of this level, they just MIGHT see past my disability and look at the proof of my strengths.

    So actually deciding to use my last minute panic to get it done instead of trying and trying and trying and doing it at the last minute anyway?

    What do you think?

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    #112380
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Only you know what works for you. Personally, I feel the last minute panic is my enemy as I cannot calmly analyze what’s working and what isn’t.

    And don’t forget Murphy’s law (technically, Murphy was talking about lab animals, but go with it). There is nothing worse than watching things not going according to plan and discovering you have run out of options. At least, it is for me.

    Again, you know what works for you. You also can best predict what’s coming your way and can adjust for it. So give it a try and see what happens. Take stock and see what can be fixed for the next time.

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    #112381
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    Saffron
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    Post count: 140

    Sounds like you could sure use those meds, Tiddler. Such a drag that you have to do this without them.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve proposed something similar to myself time and time again since having to go off stimulant meds. And something better has emerged as an alternative—kind of a micro-version of what you describe.

    Every morning, I make a list of the next tasks to do, reflecting where I should be in my work. As I then go through the torturous, unproductive hours, the clock shows how much time I have left until my kids come from school. Eventually, the pressure of their impending arrival gets me focused just enough to complete the next task on my list.

    Every day there’s some progress. Would this work for you? You could add in the variable of having someone (an adult) check in with you at the end of every day to hear what you accomplished.

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    #112382
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Tiddler,

    I would suggest going to student health services at the college/university where you are doing your MA

    The clinic would students with ADD/ADHD every day. They will be able to make a referral for you.

    I did my graduate studies in the mid 80″s and it was a herculean effort to complete.

    Just diagnosed three months ago and I have already thought …..if only I knew then what i know now

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    #112383
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    Tiddler
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    Post count: 802

    I really do need the meds, for sure. It’s getting harder and harder and I feel they would really help.

    I never thought of looking at the student health services at uni. That makes sense.

    Herculean effort – yes. I’m glad you got through it, Robert.

    I don’t know what’s best. What I do know is that I spent the day having decided not to do any uni work and lo and behold I got a load of other stuff done that I’ve been putting off for the uni stuff that hasn’t been getting done! My kitchen cupboards are clean for the first time in a year.

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    #112384
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Tiddler,

    Here is a short video clip i found on youtube,com

    Please note: A psychiatrist with good clinical experience in Adult ADHD/ADD will be able to diagnose without

    the battery of tests shown in the video. The psych should ask for a sold history since childhood and

    ask about learning difficulties, etc. The the psych will be able to evaluate your current issues.

    The battery of tests are helpful if there is evidence of other learning disorders or mental health issues.

    In adults it is usually not necessary.

    The young guy that narrates and tells his story has done a great job of capturing living with ADHD/ADD

    It has a strong message of hope and optimism

    Things will get better!

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    #112385
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Tiddler-

    I have resigned myself to living with this, even though I hate it.

    It sounds like you can make it work for you.

    I have been on meds for a long time. And I still work best under stress at the last minute. When I try to start early, I sit there staring into space, with no ideas. When I have very little time, the ideas come quickly and successfully.

    I sometimes work as an artist.. My best creative moments come when I have production deadlines, with money on the line, and don’t really have time for creativity. I set aside months of “creative time” and get no inspiration until I have no more time.

    I am also a lawyer. If I sit down to write my closing argument the night before, which is plenty of time…..nothing. The next morning in the shower, the ideas come thick and fast. I am usually still writing when the judge is instructing the jury. That is scarily last minute,but it usually works.

    A therapist once explained that the reason ADD’ers are like this is that the deadlines provide non negotiable structure for our lives.

    I regularly went through hell with this, until I realized that it always gets done, and nobody notices the little details I obsess over because I am afraid that someone will catch me “not paying attention, ” or “working sloppily.”

    Now, like I said, I still hate it, but I am going through much less hell, and I am learning to use it.

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    #112386
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    Anonymous
    Post count: 14412

    Scattrd,

    That was a great post.

    I think what you have written provides a good example of how to manag your ADD.

    It starts with acceptance of your condition.

    I am just starting to learn to manage my ADD (3 1/2 months in) it has been an emotional ride.

    Over the past week I am feeling a sense of great loss and it is causing me pain. I am referring

    to the many years of living undiagnosed and the problems it created in many aspects of my life.

    I want that balance in my life… which for me is a better balance between work and my personal life

    Thanks again for sharing your experience

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    #112387
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    munchkin
    Member
    Post count: 285

    Tiddler – I know exactly what you mean! I made a decision like that and it was a breakthrough for me. You have to look it in the “it’s all relative” way of thinking. Or… the lesser of evils? I’ve been deliberately working like what Scattrd describes for years, and getting a better quality of work from it. (However, I have suffered from multiple stress related ailments as well)

    Also, I think that learning to work with your ADD traits and not against them is like – going with the flow. Why swim against the current when you can go with it?

    I think that by letting go of how other people say you should do things or what is “the responsible” way of doing things and just doing what works – it’s a positive mindset – one that honors you and nurtures you! You are your own fairy godmother! (That might be stolen from Fly lady LOL)

    I also think that when I finally was able to get on medication that worked, it was that same attitude of positivity, independent thinking and figuring out what works for ME, not someone else that has made me able to make better use of the medication experience! I already had a toolbelt in which to hang the new tools. metaphorically speaking…

    Keep working smarter :)

    -munch

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    #112388
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    kc5jck
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    Post count: 846

    Tiddler – when I was about 38, I had a wild hare and decided to become a CPA. Looking into it, I found that I had to have a degree and a minimum of, I think, 20 hours in accounting or accounting related subjects. I had a degree . . . in computer science/math. So all I needed was the hours in accounting.

    I went to the local junior college and started with beginning bookkeeping. I took classes part time for several semesters prior to sitting for the Uniform Certified Public Accounting exam, I think 19 hours over two and a half days. This was before I knew I had ADHD, before medication to help me focus, and with blood lead levels at around 40 micrograms/dL (it messes with your memory and IQ). To say that the cards were not stacked in my favor would be an understatement, I had not finished my first semester of intermediate accounting.

    My scores on the four parts, practice, theory, business law, and auditing were not stellar. But I did pass. All four parts, the first time.

    So take heart, what you are undertaking can be done. I’m not sure I would recommend the last minute approach you are contemplating for doing assignments, but hey, whatever works. Work off your strengths, develop coping skills, and “get ‘er done.”

    Best of luck.

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    #112389
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    Tiddler
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    Post count: 802

    I love you guys. Thank you all.

    I had a few days off feeling like I didn’t have to do it, freed my mind for a while and lo and behold I’ve been working my socks off last night and this morning.

    It reminded me the toll the ‘procrastination’ really takes on us – to look inactive but to have the mind whirring with what I want to get done isn’t anywhere close to restful!

    So I RESTED! It was awesome!

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    #112390
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    Tiddler
    Member
    Post count: 802

    Doh. SO busy today and i really thought I was on the ball but I actually repeated some work I’d already done and forgotten about.

    Still, onward and upward, eh? I can do it!

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    #112391
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    kc5jck
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    Post count: 846

    Tiddler – while studying for the aforementioned test, I would sometimes have a bottle of single malt scotch handy to … um … shall we say to keep the injectors clean and things running smoothly. (One of my coping mechanisms.) Perhaps it helped to relieve stress which as you know can be a real distraction.

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    #112392
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    Tiddler
    Member
    Post count: 802

    I’ve noticed that I am sharper after a glass of wine, but I have to drive a lot and have the kids to look after so it’s something I can only consider in the evenings, when I’m just too wiped out to work most nights.

    Talking of which, I’, going to start another thread about the sleep thing!

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