My ADD-ish Work

My work life is a strange-- but effective-- reflection of what it's like to live with ADD, and intuitively understanding how to "work WITH it."

I was drawn to the idea of being self-employed from a pretty early age because working "for" someone seemed incredibly oppressive. And I was not very good at it. Of course, these realizations came to me long before I was aware of such things as ADD. They were simply based on bosses who told me they wished I could stay "more focused" for longer periods of time.

I first ran into the term "patchwork economics" in about 1993 when I was reading a book about "tiny businesses" you could start from home. The basic idea was to choose businesses you could not "make a living" from, so competition would be low... but when adding 5-6 of these businesses together, you'd end up with a decent living. If you chose wisely, you could have a "family" of microbusinesses that would support each other. To me, that sounded like the ideal way to make a living, because it would not only accommodate my short little span of attention, but it would allow me to somehow "harness" my tendency to have "Too Many Interests Syndrome" into something productive.

Of course, it took many years before the idea was turned into some form of reality. The first thing I had to do was let go of "societal conventions" with respect to what "work" and "a career" are supposed to look like. When your perspective-- even when you know you're right-- represents a tiny minority viewpoint, it takes a certain amount of fortitude to ignore the myriad voices telling you that you're doing a "stupid" or "wrong" thing, and that "it will never work."

Anyway, 20 years later my work life consists of (A) writing articles on the web, and off; (B) keeping a couple of-- quite distinct-- eBay businesses; (C) Organizing retreats and self-development workshops (with my wife); (D) creating and selling a unique type of art; (E) conducting workshops for highly sensitive persons (HSPs) and (F) Doing some occasional "solopreneurship" consulting.

Maybe that sounds like a LOT, but it allows me to "flit around" between tasks, and still remain productive.

Do I work on all six, on any given day? Nope. Rarely. Some days-- and weeks, even-- I may only work with one of them. However, having all six takes away a lot of the pressure that comes with "feeling stuck in a rut," which actually makes "sticking to it" somewhat easier.

"Could I" be making a lot more money as-- say-- a corporate attorney, bank president or engineer? Absolutely! But I have to ask the question "WHOSE priorities are represented by striving to 'make a lot more money' and by striving to have a 'respectable career?'" Not mine. I can pay my bills, and I am debt free...

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