Saturday, August 11, 2012

ADHD: Using Twitter to Organize Your Noggin

Sometimes the simplest of tasks can become an imposing obstacle when it herds together with others. Use the tools you have on hand to single out the most important tasks from the herd.

Work. Blog. Work. Write. Sketch. Repeat. My life should be very simple to manage. Yet life often has ways of making things complicated. My ideal schedule becomes something more like this: Work. Fill out paperwork. Tend to the kids. Go shopping. Clean up after the kids. Watch some TV. Run some errands. Sell things on eBay. Fight off zombies. Watch some TV. Tend to the kids. Clean up after the kids. Watch some more TV. Work. Somehow I never seem to have time to write. It's a mystery to me.

With so little time for writing left in my day, why then am I so worried about which art project I should do first? Who knows? Is it an unsatisfied yen? A driving need? Or is the grass just far more green and interesting on the other side where projects seem like larks in the park filled with cheering fans, money growing out of mushrooms, and endless time to complete it all?

OK, maybe I answered my own question.

But I still worry about those art projects.

The truth is that I need to spend every waking moment writing my book, but I know that I won't likely EVER do that. There needs to be some time allotted for spinning freely. And if art, not TV, is going to take up that time then maybe I should be working on the best art projects. But the problem was that I didn't have time to actually walk around a park talking out loud to myself while angsting over these important decisions. So instead I used Twitter.

Years ago I wrote about using Twitter as therapy, mostly tongue-in-cheek, but there was a lot of truth to it. Twitter isn't only for dinner blogging, political turf wars, or arguing about whether Paul Ryan was a good pick as VP or not. As a microblogging service, Twitter is perfect for capturing a process in real time. Instead of live tweeting concerts (Wow! The singer is singing again! So kewl!!!), I live tweet my mind. Here's how it played out:



Turns out my AirPen blog was the ONE TRUE TASK that was getting in the way of all the others when I had free time. Once I realized that, I cleared my metaphorical desk and put only that blog project on it. I realized it wasn't an art project, but until that one responsibility was done within the small scraps of free time I had, there would be no art, nor book writing. Within days it was done and I moved on.

With that obstacle out of the way, I was free to work on relaxing art projects that helped me feel fulfilled, not guilty.




Simple really, but I was too busy and stressed to see my life from the outside. I have a tendency to pile on projects that excite my fancy. You'd think I had AD/HD or something. Making a list of allowed distractions really helped me see things in perspective. I especially enjoyed using Twitter to capture my thoughts as I raced around that day. I received feedback from followers, and it was easy to do while standing in line and during my breaks at work. Maybe this will be a useful process for you as well. Don't let yourself get overloaded by queued up projects. There isn't time to do them all. Take time instead to prioritize them, then work on the topmost interesting one. Engage that fiery AD/HD passion and put it to good use. Once I did this little exercise, my book project became easier to work on as well. And I owe it all to a little chatty bird.

Thanks for all your support and comments. Readers help me keep coming back here to update the blog while juggling work and writing. If anything I wrote has been helpful to you, please consider tossing a tip my way. Thanks!