I recently heard this statement and thought - "Wow - that's something I completely understand!"
Time is the one thing that works against anyone with ADHD. It's the finite resource. Everyone has the same amount of it each day: (well, sort of, you get what I mean) More so than a clock - Your calendar is an excellent measure of your time. You want more of it: Look at a Calendar, Not A Clock!
As a person with ADHD - the exact opposite had been my motto for so long. When I was taking accordion lessons - most times I wouldn't read the music, I'd listen to the teacher play the song 1 time, and try to imitate it or "Play By Ear" so I could move on to the next song in the book - but now looking back there was so much more to it than being able to imitate the sounds I heard: there were lessons in the practicing and preparation. It wasn't until weeks after I finally came to the point where I had to slowly pick apart the song measure by measure, work out the notes and fingering, and after a time period of 2-3x as long as it should have taken - I passed that song and on to the next - beginning once again, the same process.
Same was with my school work - Tests to me weren't to prove that I had retained the knowledge - completion of it was the only thing stopping me from going out for extra recess time. Some stuff I knew, a lot I didn't - I'd guess, bring the paper to the teachers desk and bolt out the door to go play kickball or whatever the game was happening. This lead to my eventual failing and dropping out.
It's taken me a while - but I've realized in my professional life - this method still doesn't work. I know the principle and mindset that the 16th President of the United States was referring to, but for the longest time, even on the simplest of tasks - I would rush and have to re-do it. This lead to stress, being anxious, and quite frankly - not producing the kind of work or outcome I am actually capable of.
Preparation for the task (whatever it is) is usually more critical to a timely and correct outcome than the actual mechanics to complete the task.
HOW DO I BETTER CONTROL THIS? CALENDAR MANAGEMENT.
- Batching: I've learned to manage my calendar so it works towards my stronger points in the day (when I'm most focused) and batch certain tasks, including a standing weekly appointment called: "Calendar Management". If I skip on 2 weeks of my self-appointment for calendar management - I begin to fall apart - slowly at first, but then it speeds up. I hate it when that happens. I'm letting people down and I hate to do that. I loose more time rescheduling the appointment, confirming staffing schedules and logistics when I do it sporadically vs. spending 2 solid hours with a hot cup of coffee, my office door closed, phone on silent, no social media - FOCUSED on making sure my schedule is working to my advantage.
- Maintaining an Evernote file w/ calendar-based tasks. This goes hand in hand with Batching. I'm not always in my office, in fact - I spend more time on the road than I do in the office. The downside to that is I truly focus when I have my Google Calendar opened up on my computer, matched against an actual physical color-coded calendar. More details below on that. If I need to schedule appointments - I put it into the evernote file. If I need to write thank you notes, I put it in an evernote file. When it's time for Calendar management - I schedule the tasks that need to be done in accordance with the priority level.
- Over-Doing It: When I am in Calendar Management Mode- I tend to hyper-focus and hold myself to a strict standard of making sure recurring events have the same layout on both calendars, labeled the right way, when using the highlighter specific to the category, no white space is showing on the line. If an event cancels, I become a Picasso with the white out. Not doing so causes a distraction when I refer to it later.
- Guarding my Calendar Management Appointment: Seldom do I let anything interrupt me when I build and manage my schedule. If that's the only time someone is available to meet with me, well - I'm sure you can cover whatever you want to discuss in an email. In fact - I rarely take meetings with out clear-concise details emailed over to me, reviewed, the go back & forth with questions and clarifications. Then - and only then, if we can't come to resolution and we need to physically meet - I'll schedule the appointment, the next time I'm working on my schedule. Memo to vendors and organizations reading this: please keep in mind - the majority of the resolutions are "No". I simply don't have enough time, budget, or resources to do everything that is presented to me - and believe me it's a lot that lands on my desk every day.
I love the saying: "What gets Scheduled, Gets Done" and thats the truth of it. If I schedule out the time to do a task, research, practice, blah blah blah, and hold myself accountable to the schedule I've set up - I will end up less stressed at the end of the day and end of the week. My goal is not recess anymore (although that would be wicked awesome!!!) rather it's stress-free relaxation time with my wife, family, and friends.
When I take the time to manage the system that manages me - I don't become a slave to my calendar, the calendar becomes the road map and a best practices guide to stress-reduced/free living.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I HAVE NOT MASTERED THE CONCEPTS LISTED ABOVE.
I still struggle with this on a fairly regular basis. I try to consciously remember both the positive effects when I do manage my time properly, and negative effects of when I fail to manage it properly. I review some excellent productivity podcasts from Michael Hyatt from time to time - sort of like a virtual coach. By the way: Proper coaching is always worth the time invested!
Thanks For Reading - and please, if you know someone who might benefit from reading this: Please Share it with them: after all, it's free!
THE ADHD IS KICKING IN...NOW:
Touching back to the end of point 2 - The management of the 2 calendars is this:
The Google Calendar online has all the details of every aspect of my schedule: Work, Meetings, Appointments, Gigs, Family Events, Staff Schedules, Ad Schedules, Social Media Reminders - It's all on the Google Calendar.
The 4 Month View on the Wall is so that when meeting with staff or the bosses - we have a visual understanding of available resources at any given time. This is a trick I picked up from working on The Bay Queen almost 20 years ago. The various cruises and themes were listed on the wall, on a desk blotter style calendar, broken out into an 8 month view. We knew what cruises were coming up, which ones to avoid (lighthouse tours...Zzzzz), the Sr. Captain knew when he could schedule the boat for maintenance or a crew training. It didn't have the number of passengers, crew assignments, menu, or other details - just the basics so it wouldn't take much to get an idea of what the workload was.
... that's it I'm going outside.