Friday, May 09, 2008

Week One in the Process: Project Creep in the Vacuum

In which Douglas discovers the wheel and wonders what to do with it.

Sprinklers on the night before snowI wrote a blog two weeks ago that struck terror into my heart. My favorite flaw had reared its ugly head again, like a perennial popping up out of the muck every Spring. I had Multi-Irons Syndrome (MIS). However, instead of just quitting a bunch of projects only to add more back over time as I usually do, I decided I would do something different. I'd tackle this MIS once and for all and chart my progress here.

My first step was to clear my schedule a bit so I could focus on the problem. I did this by quitting Irish whistle lessons and prewriting articles for the rest of the month and scheduling them for automagic publication. Then I picked two irons from the fire that I knew could be finished within a month and set about to accomplish them. One iron was a paid assignment. The other was a personal goal. This time, however, instead of letting my ADHD mess things up on me, I would take notes and see what obstacles I encountered and what solutions I needed get around them.

The first thing my wife and I noticed once I started pulling irons was that I was extremely adept at finding new irons to replace them. The whole point of pruning my schedule was to make more time for the projects and goals that were important to me, not make room for new projects. However, as anybody who has tried to simplify their life can tell you, life has a way of complicating things, especially if you have ADHD. Reader JeanJeanie succinctly stated it the other day:

"Problem is, every time I manage to kill an iron, there's two or three waiting in the wings to replace it. Some of them are voluntary and I can force myself to avoid them, but some of them are forced on me by life and I can't avoid them. And it's constantly Too Much On My Plate. "

This means that when we begin to prune our project list, we need to do more than just prune the list. We need a new mental approach to the problem or we will become overwhelmed by projects again. Only by retraining our minds can we hope to have any success. This will be something I will investigate further.

Second thing I noticed was that my distraction time was considerable. I'm going to have to analyze this one a bit deeper as well. This one aspect of ADHD is my greatest weakness and the source of most of my short-comings.

On an upside, by being focused on just two projects I am making greater progress in them. Benjamin Fudge is coming along, but better yet, I was able to zero in on my client's website and discover that I had underestimated the work load. I had a productive phone conference with the client and turned the one website job into a two website job. More work, but more money. In the end her site's brand and message will be better for it.

That's my week in review. I hope yours went well. Don't just lurk in the cyber shadows. Pick an aspect of ADHD or Depression that bothers you and chart your progress here as you work to overcome it.