Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ADD... and the Ebbs and Flows of Productivity

I am not really sure whether it's a "good" or "bad" thing that I have chosen to be in business for myself and to work from home.

What I do know about myself is that my productivity ebbs and flows quite a bit. It's either "feast or famine," with very little in between. As I have "watched myself" over the years, I've also become more and more aware of what influences my productivity.

Clearly-- at least in my world-- suffering from "Too Many Interests Syndrome" is part and parcel of living with ADD. During what I call my "macro periods" of productivity, I am very aware of being able to "keep up with my brain" (or at least coming very close) and being able to turn the endless thoughts into something... "output," if you will. I may not be able to deal with everything "as I think of it," but using my system of "writing notes" about every idea that comes up... and then leaving it at that... I am able to function a bit like a cook in a busy kitchen. Each new idea-- on a slip of paper-- is "order up," and I am able to keep a "sequence" of work going... and get caught up sometimes.

These days don't mean I don't have "too much on my plate," they just mean that I don't "get lost" because I am too scattered.

On any given day-- or week, or month-- my ability to keep up seems inversely proportional to the amount of "pressure" (usually of a financial/practical nature) I feel like I am under. Some people really thrive when they are in a "pressure cooker" situation with their life... I'm really not one of them.

OK... not entirely true.

If I have a massive deadline on ONE thing to do, I work super well "to a deadline." That's different from the pressure of being overwhelmed by a large quantity of things to do.

As an example, I got a huge block of "eBay stuff" taken care of by the close of business on Sunday... meaning we'll have a substantial inflow of cash from those sales by next Sunday... that takes pressure off, and this week feels like I am being very "productive." Instead of just sitting there, feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of my pile of "to do notes," I am actually feeling like I am going to get through it.

And I am saying that, even as I am well aware that I have "paused" several times to add new "order up" slips to this week's work load.

For me, part of effectively managing my life has a lot to do with making the most of my "macro creative periods" WHEN they are happening.

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