I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) – or whatever the trendy name is for it these days. Basically, I’m easily distracted…to the point of being downright dangerous sometimes. Its either that, or I have a gazillion things going on all at once and its not usual for me to hop from one to the other and back again.
Normally, it’s not a problem. In some cases, however, I can be a walking disaster zone with my distractibility. For instance, it’s not unusual for me to set a kettle of water boiling to make tea – and then a few hours later realize that the kettle has completely boiled itself dry because I forgot that I did it. Which is fine, really – – unless the kettle has fused itself to the burner after being left empty on a blazing hot stove top for that long. (yes, I speak from experience)
Alzheimer’s you say? Nah – I’ve been this way my whole, entire life. Though, I did manage to graduate high school in 4 years – as well as being a graduate after 4 years of college, plus, I’m still alive to tell you all about this – so, obviously, I’ve had to learn how to deal with my little problem. I’ve had to learn to compensate for my distractibility and try and put things in place to help me not be so distracted.
Earlier tonight, for instance – I put a pizza in the oven. Now, I know for a FACT, if I had walked out of the kitchen while cooking the pizza – I would have completely forgotten about it.
I’m dangerous that way.
But, because I had work to get done, emails to answer, and such – I took a big risk in leaving the kitchen while the pizza cooked to answer some emails while I waited for the pizza. Risky move on my part – – burnt pizzas with dripping cheese could start an oven fire, after all! (I speak with experience). So, before I did anything else when I sat down at my computer – I set a reminder in my Outlook Calendar to check the pizza. I set the reminder to go off in 15 minutes.
Only THEN was I (and the rest of my family and the neighborhood) safe to relax for 15 minutes and answer a few emails and write a few lines of CSS code before my computer popped up that reminder for me to take the pizza out of the oven.
I use Outlook’s calendar feature all the time. Billing reminders, business meetings, scheduled conference calls, deadlines, doctors appointments – you know, the usual important stuff. I also use it for all those little things I would completely forget about, if I allowed myself. I also set reminders and alarms on my cell phone to remind me of things while I’m out and about.
How I manage to remember to set the reminders….that takes much discipline on my part. But, it must be done!
See? Children with attention deficit disorder don’t need to be put on medication – – they just need to figure out how to compensate for their distractibility and develop habits that help them cope. Adults, parents and teachers need to help these kids find the tools in life that will help them cope with their distraction issues. That’s my mini Ritalin rant for the year.
Are you easily distracted? If so – what tools, if any, do you use to manage it? (assuming it’s a problem for you).