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Can't get motivated


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I’ve been obsessing about the things I can’t do right. ADDers have many positives but I feel like I’m swirling down the toilet bowl right now in my negatives.

My house is so disorganized that I’m embarrassed by it. I’d never invite anyone over. I don't have a few things out of place, either. I have piles of book, papers, clothes and just stuff covering every surface. I read once that ADDers like things out where we can see them. Apparently, our forgetfulness prevents us from finding things that are put away. I believe that I have an excellent memory except for car keys, glasses, pens, tools, pans, purchases… For me, at least, if something has a place I’ll know where that is but never keep it there. I get so distracted in the middle of a project that I’ll move on to a new one and I fail to put anything away from the first.

Also, I don’t know how to get places for things, or even how to start. I wish I could make a step by step plan to organize my house but I can’t even get the project started. I feel so disgusted at myself. I buy things to organize with; shelves, boxes, drawers, etc. I can’t even make homes for those! Then, if by magic I do, I don’t know what to store in them.

I can’t start tasks because I will never finish them. I might decide that I need to paint the kitchen. I go buy everything that I need, bring it home and leave it all in the shopping bags and never start painting. I can’t start painting because the walls need to be scraped, cleaned and taped. Then I start to think about cleaning up the post-paint mess and decided that I’ve had enough of that project already. It’s so much less stressful to just not start stuff. I really wish I could afford painters.

I go out and buy groceries and get them home and inside. But by this time, I'm super tired the grocery shopping task. I get the cold stuff into the refrigerator and all the other bags stay on the kitchen floor. I'm thinking I'll do it later. I usually don’t… don’t even ask about the time I missed the chicken in the floor bags... during summer.

I feel like I’m too lazy or crazy and sometimes think I just need to get a grip. I am smart, a college graduate, why can't I clean my house or put away my groceries, or put anything else away? I feel like a complete failure. Has anyone else overcome this? I don’t want to live in a mess, like some bum. I just don’t know how to start, or for that matter, finish. It’s very depressing.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Sharrpa,

Your are describing classic ADD symptoms. So, here is some helpful advice?I hope:) )

Make a short list. It's a To Do List for Today.

At the top of the list, put the most important thing to do TODAY.

Then, put #2 and#3.

You want to keep the list Short, so that, you do not confuse or overwhelm yourself.

Just do those three things today.

Tomorrow morning, make a new list. Anything not done yesterday put as number one. Repeat the process then do the two or three things on the list. Repeat the process for the third day.

Leave your weekends open with NO TO things.

Make sense? Any questions??

Allan :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I became very fixed on making me the best employee I can be this year. I'm trusted to be on track and the reality is that I am as far behind as a year on some projects. The hospital is dying to save money and I'm really scared that my secret will get out and I'll be gone.

I have really conquered some things, like not staying home from work. With my unstructured-free-to-be-me work schedule, I was staying home at least 4 days a month. That is going really well. But I'm deeply worried about my productivity.

I've found that I really need outside triggers to get on task. The lists are good at the start of the day. I make the list before I go home and leave it right in front of my chair for the next morning.

I start out with the first thing on the list and usually keep going. Starting is my biggest struggle. But once I get distracted or find something "shiny", I'm out for the day.

I had Outlook reminders for tasks but tend to just click past them without reading. For a couple of weeks, I've been trying an alarm that rings every 2 hours on the iphone. It does a good job of getting my attention but it seems like I just can't drag myself away from the distractions. For instance today, it rang at 11, I acknowledged the ring, read the message, tapped the alert window and went right back to trying to find a digital organizer program. I use Outlook at work and every single task up til 2020 (research- keeping track of patients yearly) is right in front of me. I know what I need to do!

Special note: I've been obsessively looking for the "perfect" iphone planner app for about 2 weeks (as long as 10 hours a day). There are only 3 or 4 really good options but I keep comparing them over and over. I wanted the app for graduate courses and house keeping. I laugh about the housekeeping because we've had to hire someone for that. Additionally, my next class isn't starting until Sept 2010!

I wonder sometimes if a need to get a job with a nagging boss who watches over everything I do. I've been on this job for nearly 4 years and it surely is the only one where I've had to struggle to stay on task, but it's also the only job I've ever held more than a year. Most of all, it's the only job I've ever really loved.

Is there some kind of tool that will yell at you for not paying attention? Can you get wake-up calls every 2 hours from a hotel? I feel pretty worthless this week, I haven't been through one chart and the week's goal is 4-5.

How do beat the distraction? I really want to do a good job.

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I'm afraid the only tool I know of that yells at you periodically for not paying attention is a parent! :-)

It doesn't sound like an attention deficit if you ignore alarms and go back to something you were paying attention to, before. Of course, I'm no professional. Perhaps you could bring this up with one of them?

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Heh, according to my shrink, I'm hyper-focusing and being able to break the spell momentarily is a female "caretaker" trait.

I have an incredible amount of insight and he's helped me understand the stupid things that I do. Unfortunately, understanding is only the first step. We are constantly trying new ways to outsmart my ADD but it sure is a slow process.

I had hoped someone might be crazy like me and have some clues about how to drive this brain. So far, the only sure-to-work answer is external pressure when it comes to my job. I really want to drive myself and keep my awesome job.

You don't get many ADD on this forum :) Does anyone know of a good forum for us who are backwards wired?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Sharrpa,

We have many, many ADHD people here but, its hard for them to focus enough to always respond!!! Kind of ironic.

Adult ADHD is one of my specialities.

It is not a matter of "outsmarting your ADD" but of learning strategies to compensate. At work, for example, it's important to make a daily list of your tasks. A short list, though, maybe three things. A longer list makes is distracting. Then, as you get each one done, cross if off the list.

Hyperfocusing is not a female thing, its an ADHD thing. People with this disorder are capable of fixing their attention on the one thing they love and get it done. That is how medical students with ADHD are able to get through. However, the hyperfocusing only works on the one or two things the person loves and its not always good because everything else is filtered completely out.

Lack of motivation is also a symptom of ADHD.

Keep posting here and I will respond and, little by little, our other people will too......just as soon as it gets their attention :rolleyes:

By the way, I have ADD but, at age 67, no one knew about such things when I was coming up. I thought I was just lazy. However, without knowing it, I developed my own ways of compensating: doing the very same things that are now taught to people with this. I just had to figure it out myself without knowing that I was figuring something out.

Allan :)

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