Welcome to my brain.
I'm constantly spinning...in my own head, in the things that I'm doing, around the house...
I want to do EVERYTHING. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT THIS SECOND.
And then I feel overwhelmed. I shut down. I *forcequit* myself by distracting myself with social media until I feel calm.
OR: I begin said task and attempt to do everything, all at once, that very second.
I'll have 37 tabs open because I'll have every aspect of what I need to do, know, learn, etc. I'll start 3 or 4 projects within the same project and make folders for everything. I'll start a boilerplate template for one thing. I'll have Udemy/YouTube open with a whole course on learning a skill that is needed to do the task up on another screen. I'll feel very antsy, can't sit still, pace around the room, heart rate is elevated, and I'll be twitching my foot. Everything feels and looks very chaotic, because it is.
And then I hit a bump in the road. This is particularly true if I'm trying to program something. I get errors, something goes wrong. I get super frustrated and try to troubleshoot and can't figure it out. I lose steam VERY quickly. And then it's over. I table the project. I go through stages of grief. And then I forget about it because I'll move on to the next things that I'm excited about, that I want to learn how to do and make a project from right then, right now, right this second, because un/fortunately, I have many, many interests and hobbies.
It is exhausting. Imagine being motivated to do something, but constantly fighting the urge of motivation to do a dozen other things at that moment. And then accomplishing nothing because you couldn't concentrate on a single thing all the way through.
This describes my entire undergrad, but I didn't know what it was. I was motivated to do my schoolwork, I'd have my textbooks open, I'd be re-reading something a dozen times and not comprehending any of it because I kept thinking about the dozens of other things I needed to get done because *music major life* and then I'd not get as much done or the assignment complete and feel like a colossal failure. Sprinkle that in with newly diagnosed major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and you have a whole. ass. disastrous. mess.
What came first, the chicken or the egg? Maybe my depression was influenced by my ADD of not being able to get work done, and then being anxious about it not being done, and then being depressed about the result of doing poorly. Or maybe I was depressed, and then that made it harder to concentrate because there was no motivation, and then I was anxious about not getting what I needed to get done finished. Who knows. I didn't understand it back then.
I'm thankful that years later, many therapy and psychiatry sessions later, I better know who I am and what my quirks are and how to work with the hand that I was given.
How am I getting anything done? How am I a functional being?
I have a few tips & tricks when I get into a rut. None of them are 100% effective, but I try to use one that I think will work the best for the given situation.
- Pomodoro Technique. It's working on things in intervals and GREAT for getting small amounts of serotonin and feeling like you're getting shit done, but still able to indulge in other things like checking social media, etc for a small amount of time. How it works is you work for a set amount of time, get a break, work again for a set amount of time, another break, and then you work again and get a longer break. So you could set it up to where you work for 20 minutes, break for 5minutes, work again for 20 minutes, break for 5 minutes, work again for 20 minutes, and then break for 15 minutes. You get an hour of work done on said task and still got to indulge a bit. Days that I'm really struggling I'll work for 10 minutes, break for 10 minutes, etc. You can customize it based on your needs and you set your timers for longer or shorter work times. It really is a terrific way to just start a task vs putting it off forever and gets the fear of starting the task over with. Here's a site I like to use.
- Lockdown apps. I'm talking about apps that limit your access to the internet, websites, etc when you lack the self-control. The one I use is called Freedom. It prevents you from opening apps, emails, websites, etc. You can make it as strict as you want. And it works like the pomodoro technique. You can set a timer for it to go as long as you want, and it is impossible to disable once you click start. But can't I just pull out my phone? Another device? Not exactly - you can register all of your devices with it and they sync together. There are many other awesome features, so I recommend checking it out.
- Just Indulge. This is normally my very last resort. Sometimes, I'm just not functional until I get it out of my system and do it, and if it's something that's not going to be insanely time consuming, it's more time-effective for me to do it and get it over with vs trying to fight it.
If you are reading this - do you have techniques that you use or recommend? How do you get things done and stay on track?
This is part 1 of my ADD rabbit hole. I'm very much a person that you start a discussion on one thing and end up in an entirely different world and topic 3 hours later.
And yes, this of course is another side project I felt like I needed to do right here, right now, right this very second. 🤪