Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's Been That Kinda Day

(cc) Douglas Cootey - Bad Day

I'm not going to complain. It was a productive day considering the chaos that went on in my kitchen.

The problem is the toll it had on me. Let me explain.

I'm not a creature of habit as much as I wish, but I have trained myself to write at the kitchen table. When I sit there to work, I don't wander off to watch TV or traipse into the living room to find a good book. I work.

I write blogs, articles, and novels on my MacBook at the kitchen table. I do design and coding on my Mac mini in the studio. I even have different apps installed on each machine. It works for me.

Sometimes I succumb to the siren call of HTML and click on certain links. You know the kind. Hot, steamy, sticky news links. The more revealing & controversial the better. As entertaining as that can be, it doesn't help me get anything done. So I got all geeky on my hosts file last night and locked myself out of my favorite news sites for today's writing session.

I was going to pounce on that ADDaboy! article like a cat on a mouse and make short work of it. I woke up, read news on my iPhone (yeah, pathetic), then entered the kitchen. Just as I finished eating, the landlord dropped by. I had already missed him earlier this morning when he replaced our garbage disposal. Now he was back to replace the dish washer.

I'm not complaining. Who would complain about getting new kitchen appliances? Not, me. But I was colossally unproductive. First, I took hours to get going on the article, and then as I began to build up a psuedo-momentum the kids came home. It was an early-out day.

So my afternoon became: feed the kids, ignore the installation noises, deal with the kids, ignore the installation noises, deal with the kids, help the landlord, discipline the kids, ignore the installation noises, troubleshoot Photoshop CS3 & OS10.6.3 for an hour, troubleshoot the kids, etc. The landlord was in and out. My kids were in and out. My focus was in and out.

When I finally posted the article for publication in the morn, 3½ hours had passed and that didn't count the "getting started" time. When I think of my hourly rate on that article, I cry a little.

I know what's at fault. It's ADHD as usual, but there's a part of me mad at myself. Why didn't I lift up the MacBook and move into the living room? Couldn't I have done that? Was that so difficult? Apparently, it was. I was so focused on focusing that I didn't think creatively. I fought with myself throughout the entire day, forcing myself to focus under the present conditions. That is both the strength and weakness of ADHD's hyperfocus ability. We accomplish goals by hyperfocusing, but we lose awareness of other priorities.

Now it's 8pm, and I'm supposed to work on my novel, and I'm mentally fatigued. But I'm not complaining. I finished the article.

I just wish that in this I could be more like the productive powerhouses I admire. To go from point A to point B without going for a swim with Z in the alphabet soup. Non-ADHD people tell me all the time "Oh, everybody has that problem." No. You don't. I watch you. I see your productive lives and your lists of accomplishments. I watch you do the things you set out to do. I always seem to do the things I didn't set out to do, and every once in a while it discourages me.

But I'm not complaining.