Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Answering my own question with ADD tricks

A couple of posts ago I asked, "how to be faithful to your current projects?"

I think I've hit on a way that works for me: Timers.

Timers actually became an important tool for me when I first was diagnosed as an adult with ADD, and began the process of learning both that "I'm not crazy, lazy or stupid" as one book on adult ADD puts it, and how to do things in ways that might not be how others will do them, but that work for ME. Before I figured out what was going on with how my brain was wired, I could literally look at a small very doable project and feel paralyzed with not knowing how to approach doing it; a simple sink of dirty dishes could bring me to tears, feeling overwhelmed with incompetence. Now when I look at a small and very doable project and then don't do it, it's because I really AM feeling lazy, or at least that I'm choosing not to do it right then, which is light-years away from feeling unable to tackle it.

Anyway, so what does this have to do with my fidelity to my dining room floor? Well, one trick I learned to help get me past that ADD paralysis was to set a timer and then spend that amount of time just doing SOMEthing, anything, towards my overall task. I learned to give myself permission to not prioritize, to not get bogged down on "well, it will be more efficient if I do X before Y." Just 5 or 10 or 20 or however many minutes of "just do something." It was an amazingly effective tool for relearning how to do things in a way that factored in my ADD without using it as an excuse for not doing things.

So today I woke up feeling totally unable to face scraping this damn floor, and dredging up those old tricks, I made myself a deal: 90 minutes, in six 15 minute sessions through the day. Timer on. Go. I ended up doing almost two hours of hard core scraping, but the timer method helped to keep me focused and motivated, kept it from feeling too overwhelming, and helped me to go back to it after a break. Plus it's clearly a good thing for my wrist which is tending towards frequent numbness these days, and my shoulder which has chronic tendinitis courtesy of shoveling snow in the blizzard of '93.

Now I can set aside my tools and run to Lowes (for better scraping tools and perhaps a grinder to sharpen the blades, plus some picture wire and miscellany), maybe make a stop at the antique store that's closing, and then go on to my bellydance class without any guilt, since close to two hours of scraping that damn floor is MORE than enough work to expect from a normal human in a day. And the really good thing is, I'll probably do some more tonight. Well, maybe.


Chris said...

I am thinking of buying a bench grinder for sharpening--I do have a powered wet grinder for fine sharpening, and a whetstone, and an electric grinder. Hmmm. But a bench grinder seriously would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

Don't sell yourself short. If you can afford it get both a bench grinder and a 4 1/2" angle grinder. I've got both and use the angle grinder 10 times more than the bench grinder. Although, for simply sharpening the bench is better.

For the angle grinder you can get disks to grind, cut mettle, cut tile and other masonry, wood, etc. I got a Hitachi from Lowes a number of years ago and keep finding new uses for it.


Georgetown House said...

I spent about 15 minutes looking longingly the grinders at Lowes yesterday, but just can't justify it for now. I did buy a new whetstone though since as with everything else, the one I have is hiding somewhere in the Black Hole that is my garage...

Just give me a couple of days in the mid-70's with no rain, and that garage is being completely emptied then re-organized top to bottom. I hate knowing that I have things and not being able to find them! I'm sure I'll also find my old-fashioned "bench grinder" -- you know, the kind where you actually have to turn the grinding wheel with the attached handle!!

Lara said...

This is a great Idea. I have gotten to the point where I have sooo many projects going on it has gotten away from me. With only 2 day's left with the kids in school I have to finish at least one project.
I am going to try this today