Define: Inattention – (Distractibility)
A condition in which the attention of the mind is easily distracted by small and irrelevant stimuli
Distractibility is thought to result from abnormally low levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is particularly active in the brain’s frontal lobes. This dopamine deficiency makes it hard to “shift gears” to take up boring-but-necessary tasks.
The other day, I had the most perfect and productive Saturday ever. I knew I had it free and had planned to spend it doing all of my cleaning, home admin, bits n bobs that I hadn’t been able to tick off of recent to-do lists and just to enjoy some cosy plodding around the house. I was really looking forward to that amazing feeling you get when you have a pile of stuff to catch up on and you actually DO IT!
There was a big problem as the day got closer though. I hadn’t been managing my triggers well (eating rubbish, not taking vitamins) and was feeling very off, odd and fuzzy style frustrated for several days beforehand so I wrote a meticulous to do list on a timeline that I could follow strictly throughout the day in order to make the most of it. I had been looking forward to a free day so much and the last thing I wanted was to annoy myself. I annoy myself when I start pacing around each room when I can’t decide what’s more important or more enjoyable and which one of these 2 experiences is meant to be focused on or prioritized. I pictured myself sitting numb at the edge of my sofa with my head in my hands wanting to scream and kick because I hadn’t done the simple tasks set and it made me feel anxious and almost sick to imagine so there was no way I was going to let this day just slip by like that. NO WAY ROZAY!!
If you have or feel like you may have ADHD and you are managing your triggers well enough to manage your tasks and get them done then big up yourself and your self-control!! I love that! If however, you are like me and find it almost impossible to not get distracted, try writing a very detailed to do list timeline thingie like I did. It worked wonders! I had one of the most fulfilling, satisfying, productive yet simple days ever!!! I’m not exaggerating.
Here’s what I wrote that day:
Journal Entry from Saturday 15th March 2018
Lord, I feel panic creeping in.
I’m sitting here this fine Saturday that I have all to myself and because I haven’t felt the clearest lately, I’m scared that I’m going to waste this day feeling frustrated and indecisive. I’m going to have to be very deliberate with my time and see if I can manage my day in a way that will motivate me.
I’m doing this because I refuse to see inattention as a negative thing. My inability to stay focused on one thing for a long period of time doesn’t always cause me to zone out to Tabsville or Lala land. It’s not like that all of the time so I need to remember that if I am going to treat this condition without prescribed medication. I need to find things that work. My perception on these traits and symptoms is the first thing that needs to change. Inattention doesn’t have to be a hindrance. I just get overwhelmed with the variety of choice available sometimes so I get severely indecisive and spend millions of hours trying to figure out what should and needs to be done and in what order. The perfectionism and confusion attached to this often overwhelms me to a point where I barely complete anything but today I’m choosing to embrace and enjoy it. I’ve heard medication can calm that all down but I’m still not feeling lead to take the medication route so I’m going to manage this myself.
I love the fact that I am able to do 824 things at once because It means that I am multitasker of the century, practically superhuman (*insert smug smirk face emoji*) and I get stuff done!! (I trust this affirmation will sink in for me and become my constant reality)
To help me remain stimulated and not so easily bored doing the same mundane task for an hour, I’m going to create a timetable type of thing to manage my time throughout the day. Focussing on one thing until its fully complete literally makes my brain do 6 dance routines all at once and when that gets annoying, I tap out to ‘emergency check your phone for no reason mode’.
I feel like If I change what I’m doing regularly, I will get excited about starting the new thing and then will feel stimulated by the variety rather than frustrated. I don’t want to be tempted to scroll Instagram to stimulate my brain and eyes because I will end up stuck in a trance that I hadn’t realised I had fallen into. For hours.
Here is the plan of my day which I will try my hardest to stick to. I’ve written everything I would like to get done today and whilst I know it seems like 82 months worth of stuff, it’s all things that will benefit me and things that I am capable of fitting in to my day so lets see how it goes. Productive Penny is about to be born
7 – 7.30am: Read Affirmations out loud and write a letter to God thanking him for 10 things from the past week
7.30 – 8am: Bible reading and prayer
8 – 8.30am: Worship session
8.30 – 8.45am: Clear out the wire/charger drawer
8.45 – 9am: Make a herbal tea, take vitamins and put a wash on
9 – 9.30am: Send new blog link to 20 people on WhatsApp and mooch social media sites
9.30 – 10.30: Watch Jolynne Whittaker’s latest prophetic release You tube video and take notes
10.30 – 11am: Read and Reply to 10 emails
11 – 11.15am: Hang out the clean clothes
11.15 – 12pm: Go to Tesco and Portobello market
12 – 12.30pm: Put Shopping away and post on social media
12.30 – 1pm: 15 mins arm Workout and 15 min butt workout on Fitness App
1 – 1.30pm: Wash dishes and post a pic on Belle’s instagram page (stop judging me – Belle needs to live too)
1.30 – 2pm: Shower, Wash hair and do facemask
2 – 3pm: Cook and change bed sheets
3 – 4pm: Eat and watch catfish
4 – 5pm: Think of and write down 5 new blog post ideas
5 – 5.30pm: Take Belle out on the stoop and reply to 5 emails while she wanders
5.30 – 6pm: Read over/edit my next blog post and find a pic for it
6 – 6.30pm: Clean the bathroom
6.30 – 7pm: Complete written interview sent yesterday via Gmail
7pm…… Let the night begin 🙂
Now I know the above can seem absolutely mad to some of you, especially those who don’t need as much brain stimulation as a person with ADHD does but it really worked for me. Remember, an ADHD brain is not any less capable than a ‘normal’ brain, we just get bored easily. We don’t learn in the same way we are expected to which is why ADHD children are often looked at like they are disruptive. We have so many things flying around our heads that we want to do but we just get bored committing to them so on this particular day, I wrote down all of my desired tasks so I wouldn’t forget them and broke them up so I wouldn’t get frustrated mid task and focus on a new tab. I stuck to everything on the list and only went over the 7pm mark by around 40 mins. This was because I paused the YouTube video I was watching a few times and still got distracted by silly things in between my tasks but I cannot describe how good that day felt. It was a day I wanted to use to catch up on to do list fails from the week before and I did! The way the day could have gone and has often gone would have ruined my whole weekend and more.
Not everyone who struggles with inattention will need to be as extra as I do but even if it’s just a few hours you have available to get a few things done, I would suggest time boxing yourself like I did. I wanted to share this because of how much it helped me. I know I can go around in circles repeating that but trust me it was a little life changer. I find relaxing hard to do unless I’m unwell. Even when I have my days where I can’t leave my bed or the house for no apparent reason, I don’t feel fully relaxed because I feel so guilty that I could be doing something productive so that particular Saturday, after 7pm, I relaxed properly for the first time in ages. I watched films and facetimed my mates and just had a lovely smiley calm evening.
There are loads of other ways you can avoid distractions, focus on what you need to do and live a more productive life. Here are a few:
- Sleep More! (Not naps throughout the day, earlier nights)
- Less Technology (If social media has to fight for your attention, it will always win lol)
- ADHD Medication (Check with a Dr before you try any as the side effects are not always worth it)
- Avoiding Triggers (Nutrition is so important as food is a main one for me)
- Stress Less (Clear your mind of worry by reading affirmations over yourself – stress competes with your cognitive centers which are the areas in the brain that are responsible for quick, sharp thoughts, so being anxious or stressed drags focus down even further
- Exercise (This keeps your mind sharp and increases learning and memory capacity. It’s even more crucial in adults with ADHD, who battle mental restlessness)
I am responsible for my happiness whether I have a ‘brain disorder’ or not, and I’m going to win this battle in my mind and hopefully help and encourage all of you who struggle like I do.