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I have a high distractability quotient and faulty short-term-to-long-term-memory transfer right now. I can think of various possible causes for this, but that's not the subject of this post.

I was thinking that people with ADD probably have developed techniques to minimize the impact of such things. Perhaps I could benefit from subscribing to a mailing list or LJ community that discusses such techniques. Do you know of any useful groups or web sites along those lines?

(I have already ordered David Allen's Getting Things Done.)


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
My son has ADHD. The two best techniques that work for him are:
a) lists
b) the timer

Everything is broken down into 15 minute chunks with the timer and that makes everything doable. He has lists for getting ready in the morning and at night, and lists for projects or anything else that come up.

You might like this blog. It also has a lot of interesting AD/HD links.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)
Apr. 29th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
For online listmaking
I recommend http://www.backpackit.com/.

It's very nice because you can make up to five pages (for free); I have one for work and one for home, to start with. On each page, you can make several lists. (I haven't run into a limit there yet.)

I like it because of the larger organization (that you can make pages, and then categories of things (lists) under that basic organization. I also like the fact that I have the same tool at home and at work, without having to carry it with me. it's not as ubiquitous as David Allen might like, but it does it for me.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
Re: For online listmaking
Thanks! I have about half a dozen list making tools. I need to decide on one and use it.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:52 am (UTC)
Re: For online listmaking
I like and use todo.txt http://www.todotxt.com/
Plain text files, written in python.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: For online listmaking
I use text files for a lot of my record-keeping now. I'll look into what todo.txt adds to them.
Apr. 29th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest Mark Foster's books over David Allens for someone with high distractability. Allen's process doesn't address 'oh Shiney!' except to tell you to put it on a list which you look at once a week. This list eventually expands to suck all the air out of your life.

Mark Foster is much better about making achievable commitments. Tom Limonicelli's Time Management for SysAdmin's is very similar to Foster's perspective. There's no one more distracted than a SysAdmin.

Giving myself permission to save something till tomorrow, rather than giving into the distraction has been a great relief.

There's a yahoo group for Foster's _Do It Tomorrow_, which has a good book summary.

Another book I highly recommend, is _The Now Habit_ by Neil Fiore. The yahoo group for that book also has wonderful summaries.

_Getting Things Done_ sounds good, but I found it really a total waste of time. And I really wanted to like it, because of the whole Zen thing.

I hope this helps!
Apr. 29th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
If you were to reccommend just one of these books, or one to start with, which would you choose?

[is in process of trying to relearn to brain]
Apr. 30th, 2007 02:11 am (UTC)
I'd start with the book summary for _Do It Tomorrow_ on the yahoo group do_it_tomorrow. It's in the files section: DIT Chapter Summaries
Charles Cave's summaries
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendations! I have gotten a few things out of David Allen's book in the past (I borrowed it from a friend) but I suspect I wouldn't be happy trying to follow that degree of regimentation closely.
Apr. 29th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
And also, Flylady is good for those home maintenance and cleaning tasks we all need to do. Brief tasks, highly structured. A bit annoying in tone, but one can tune that out.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
I have worked with Flylady and should probably recommit to working with it a little bit. Part of my problem is that if I have too many to-do items or calendar reminders I start ignoring ALL of them, and that happened with Flylady the last time I tried it.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Yes, the emails are overwhelming. I found the "What to clean in this zone" lists very helpful.
Apr. 30th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
One of the worst thing that I have done, but the best in terms of distraction, has been refusing to log on to the Internet until noon -- or after 18:00. Setting aside a clear chunk of the day with no Net access has forced me to focus on getting RL tasks done. I still need to ruthlessly priorize and make lists, short bites, very structured, but keeping off the Net is huge.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Thanks for the idea!
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
Yes, this one is critical for me as well. I have to use the Internet for my work, so I avoid looking at any sites which have a high 'suck me in' factor. So no news sites until I've gone through my closed list.

I will read livejournal, because it feels like a 'break', and is self-limited in terms of articles, because I don't have a big friends list.

If one is technical, you could set up a block list for the sites that you find most distracting, and only be able to look at them during scheduled hours.
Apr. 30th, 2007 12:40 am (UTC)
I don't know if this will help or not, but...sometimes at work if I have a task I really need to do but am avoiding or can't focus on, I sit down and set a timer and work on it for 15 minutes...then I either keep going, or do something else and come back later for another 15 minutes. Eventually I hit a rhythm where I am making more progress on it than non-progress and I just want to keep going.
Apr. 30th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
I have done that successfully with tasks I am dreading, yes. Thanks!
Apr. 30th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)

(All uses of "you" are intended in the generic sense. Many could probably be replaced with "I" :-) )

Well, for many things, try to follow the OHIO (Only Handle It Once) rule when you can. You pick up the bill; can you pay it *right now*? Then do so. If not, do the next best thing, and put it somewhere (with other bills, say) where you can sometime soon pick them up, pay them all, then get rid of the waste.

It can also help to force some things. I have a bad time trying to clean up; I don't know where to put things. Well, I force myself to pick a location. "But, but, but, maybe that's a bad location!" Yes, but it *is* a location, better a bad location than "scattered everywhere". If I'm doomed for all eternity for picking a bad location, I'm probably just as doomed for having it scattered.

Breaking things down into tiny tasks can also help. If you can't balance your checkbook, maybe you can balance ten transactions. If you can't clean off your desk, maybe you can just get all of the non-work items (cups, etc.) off of the desk. You can stay focused long enough to do those little things, so do those. Do enough of those, and you'll accomplish something.

One of the worst things to do is sit still, or look for something to hold your interest... that's how you end up wasting time (i.e.: doing it, but not enjoying it) reading blogs, LJ, Usenet, etc., looking for stimulation.
Apr. 30th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
Apr. 30th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
In the last 30 minutes I reviewed 12 voice mails and had 3 phone calls. The only way I manage that sort of thing is to keep a big fat miquel ruis notebook and write everything down as it happens. I prefer a notebook to stickies as it preserves temporal order, and I often remember things relative to other things. Also, it makes me look much friendlier/smarter than I am, because I've gotten in the habit of writing down the caller's name at the beginning of the call, at the start of my notes, so at the end, I can say goodbye with their name.

Lots of people like index cards, but I couldn't cope with that, not enough information on one page.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
We have a new member of the SF book group and she writes everything in a notebook. I wonder if this is why. The first time she came, I thought maybe she was a mystery book group shopper.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
I thought writing everything in a notebook was the definition of writer.

Are the attendees of SF book group writers?

"mystery book group shopper" is hilarious.
Apr. 30th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
It's a reading group. We did have someone who wanted to write (and her husband) early on, but she wanted to write romance, and when a romance writing group opened up, they left. I don't know if he didn't dare come alone or what, because it was his SF interest that brought them to start with.

We're about half readers and half fans, so we fans have to explain things every now & then. About half of us have or have had an engineering career. Our average size is 10 people per meeting and we're the library's largest book group. We just celebrated our 6th anniversary with a great cake from our librarian/fan leader.

Most of us don't write things down, though, we can discuss (and argue) from our brains.
Apr. 30th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
I keep notes in a text file during phone calls, or if it's a physical meeting, in a notebook. I prefer the text file because I can search it afterward.

I despise index cards for anything other than grocery shopping lists.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
I have taken to making lists and using my Outlook calendar at work for everything. I definitely have days where things just seem to leak out of my head, so these lists really help make me feel more secure.

I have a packing list for trips that I modify for individual trips so I won't forget stuff I need. It speeds up the process and cuts down on worry.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC)
What do you do when you're walking around and suddenly a to-do item occurs to you? Do you have a list you carry with you? How do you remember to transfer it to the master list?

I do the packing list thing. It is essential.
Apr. 30th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
I've thought about carrying a notebook, but I haven't gotten there yet. I sometimes email items to my work account so I can put them on the Outlook calendar. Or if my SO needs me to do something, I ask him to email me so it won't fall out of my head.

If I am walking to the store and only buying a few things, I count the items. I find I can remember a number (4 or 5), and then can reproduce the list from the number. It's not perfect, though.

Also just having the list on my desk or table and I can add to it. If I do a Peapod shop, I'll make a draft order a few days in advance and add things as they occur to me before their deadline.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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