Saturday, November 30, 2013

ADHD Coping Tools: Record Keeping and Concentration

I have been "keeping track of things" since I was a little kid.

I always used to think that it was merely something to help me because I seemed to have a pathetically poor memory. Ideas would come into my head; I might act on them and then have forgotten everything, 10 minutes later. As I learned more about psychology, it occurred to me that my desire to "keep track" of everything might not be memory related, but instead signs of OCD.

And yet?

I really wasn't "recording things" because I felt any kind of obsession, but because it helped me keep track of things; in a sense, the recording served as "place holders" that allowed me to be somewhat functional in life.

All these years later, I still "keep track" of a lot of things. As I have come to embrace the idea that this "thing" that causes me to lose my place so easily is not "poor memory," I have also come to understand that there are "tools" I have been using for most of my life... and whereas they may seem "weird" or "OCD-ish" to some, they are actually helping me.

So what exactly does "recording" what I do, in the course of a day, do to help me? It helps me restart abandoned projects where I left off, rather than leaving me to fumble around to figure out my "place." It helps me "manage" my efforts to keep 4-5 "project lines" running, side by side, without getting overwhelmed.

Yes, I do "lose some time" because it takes time to write things down, in addition to doing them, but it is not a major issue for me. The bottom line... recording things allow me to create some "illusion" that I am able to concentrate my efforts.

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