How I spent the better part of a day... a glimpse of what it's like to move through life with ADD
Oct 24, 2021
This post is for all of the women chasing dreams and who also have ADD (attention deficit disorder),
or maybe you have a friend who does,
or maybe you love someone who does.
ADD looks different in everyone, and there are several different types.
The following blog post is my experience moving through the day.
I'm a wife, I'm a mom, I am a daughter, a friend, and a successful business owner.
I have ADD and despite my messy journey to get there, I was also able to finish my doctoral dissertation and become Dr. Amy Boyd.
If you identify in some way with feeling different than everyone else,
I am sending you so much love.
I see you.
I'm grateful for the many gifts provided to me by being neurodivergent.
I would also love to hear from you, for you to share your gifts or "superpowers" in the comments.
Some background on why I wrote this:
"Mastering Time" is the monthly coaching theme for the women enrolled in my "Stuck to Unstoppable Alumni Membership" with Write the Damn Dissertation.
Each month we focus on a theme,
and all the weekly coaching calls and check-in calls align with that theme.
So a few weeks ago, I asked everyone to track how they spent the past 24 hours.
Once they were done, I asked them..
"If I looked at the way you spent the last 24 hours, would I be able to identify your top three priorities?"
I did the exercise myself before I introduced this concept.
I started with too much detail, but then I thought,
in the spirit of neurodiversity, why not share the way I move through the day?
In doing this exercise, I'm grateful for technology and the amazing tools available to me.
I use them all damn day.
So first, I'll just get it all out in the open.
I have Classic ADD.
Hyperactivity and impulsivity were always a challenge for me as a kid.
In fact, my friend Carolyn from 4th grade was not allowed to invite me to her birthday party.
At her birthday party the year before, in Carolyn's basement, I decided to play DJ, and I had all our friends dancing to her older sister's record "Boogie in the Butt" by Eddie Murphy.
(Yes, I'm dating myself. I'm old enough to remember record players.)
Apparently some of my friend's parents didn't think it was as funny as I did.
So, the next year, her mom had a separate birthday party for just me and Carolyn.
She dropped us off at the skating rink so that I would have a constructive and more socially accepted way to be hyper and impulsive.
Executive function skills (planning, prioritizing, organizing, etc.) were really difficult for me to work through.
Thankfully as an adult, I found tools to help me.
So here goes...
Meds, Coffee, green juice, lemon water, and tap water.
My morning beverages...
I take my French Bulldog 'Cooper' out , feed him his breakfast, and give him his allergy pill.
Be sure Aedan (my teenager) is up and getting ready for school on the way upstairs to my office.
I'm already winning at life.
I'm so grateful for routine.
Time for the fun part of my morning ritual.
Thought download, journaling, and my top three goal practice.
Feeling zen and excited about the future.
Power up the computer, open my calendar and take a look at what the day has waiting for me.
And my calendar notification sounds. Time for my power hour.
Two 25 minute task blocks.
Hardest things first.
And I'm off to do the things.
Walk downstairs to put coffee in microwave to reheat...
I got so wrapped up in my power hour project that I totally forgot to drink my coffee.
Remember that I need to buy coffee at the store... go to add to grocery list that my husband Bri started yesterday.
WHERE is the list?
[Open junk drawer to see if the post it pad is there]
While looking for the pad, OMG.. THERE is the spare key!
I haven't seen it since we returned from vacation in August.
I need to put it in the hiding place in case Aedan forgets his house key, now that school is back in person.
Go outside to put it in the hiding spot.
What on earth is that sound?
There is the COOLEST bird singing in the magnolia tree behind our house.
I swear it is talking to me... telling me something very important (with gusto and conviction).
What kind of bird IS that? OMG I HAVE to know.
Grab phone on kitchen counter and open up Google Chrome.
Type into search bar "How to identify birds by call"
Find amazing bird app made by Cornell... (basically Shazam for bird calls)
WHAT? there's an app for this? (Merlin Bird ID by Cornell for those of you wanting to know).
Oh cool.. it's a Gray Catbird.
I need to write this down in my journal so I can show Bri and Aedan how much I know about birds later.
Go back upstairs into my office with my coffee still in microwave, and without updating my grocery list.
Remember "Gray Catbird" in my journal and VICTORY IS MINE...
I remembered that I wanted to write it down!
Make a mental note to go back outside later in the day to Shazam other birds in the trees beside the house.
As I open my calendar I wonder how normal people can actually remember stuff without phone alarms, calendar notifications, website blockers, and OneTab.
Realize that the appointments actually MADE IT to the calendar which reminds me how grateful I am for technology.
I consider that a win!
Cool.. I have ten more minutes before I have to start my next calendar project.
Am I on top of this shit or WHAT?
I can google how common Gray Catbirds are quick since I still have five minutes.
I can't believe that google would show me "how to get rid of catbirds" when I type in Catbirds in my browser.. why would anyone want to do that? These birds are amazing!
I learn that they can meow. WHA?
My notification alarm goes off... time to start my next 20 minute task.
I'm so grateful for designing a system to help me with planning.
Where did I put my coffee?
I need my coffee to write.
But I know me, and if I go downstairs again it may prevent me from keeping my shit together.
As an aside, I set my coffee down one time last year while I was hanging curtains, and after I accused everyone in the house of stealing my favorite mug, my son found it on his windowsill a few days later.
Back to the schedule.
I take a sip of green juice, and while it is no replacement for coffee, it contains super greens which will basically turn me into a wizard someday.
Start task and use "One Tab" to collapse the fifty open tabs on my desktop (fellow sisters with ADD, this is a lifesaver),
activate my browser locker so I can't google more about Gray Catbirds until my next scheduled "rabbit hole" calendar block.
When I plan out my week every Sunday, I plan my free time first, create tasks in 20 minute blocks, then fill the gaps with scheduled rabbit hole time.
I love to honor my tendency to hyperfocus and put it on my calendar.
Doing this gives me time to be curious about learning the things I'm interested in, and also stops me from "shoulding" all over myself later.
Intentional vs. Reactionary... that's what I tell myself and it makes me feel empowered.
Now, let's go find my coffee.
I look everywhere downstairs. Retrace my steps. Can't find it.
Decide to make a new fresh cup but keep trying to remember the unfinished business with where the hell my first cup went.
Come back up to my office and go back to learning about Gray Catbirds.
Learn that I can gain a catbirds trust and develop a fun friendship with them.
WHAT the WHAT?
I'm gonna have a new bes frand!
I'm reminded of Shawshank Redemption... one the characters in the movie (inmate Brooks) who's best friend was a raven.
Oh my gosh.. what should I name my new catbird friend?
Start googling cool bird names.
Sidetracked again... what ever happen to the cast of Shawshank?
I haven't seen Timothy Robbins come out with any new movies... is he still alive?
Open another tab to see if Timothy Robbins is still alive and what happened to the cast of Shawshank.
James Whitmore (the actor who played Brooks) died in 2009. I'm sad about that.
Also learn that Morgan Freeman is working on several new projects. YAY!
Sit back down at my desk to check email.
Go back to 178 emails from yesterday that went unread.
Found the reminder that picture day for Aedan was today.
Say a little prayer that Aedan did not go to school with his "I like Shenanigans" shirt on.
Inner Mean Girl starts her shit telling me what a horrible mom I am.
Waves of shame and despair start flooding in.
Immediately take out my journal to do a thought download.
Decide to go with the thought, "I'm doing the best I can and Aedan knows he is loved".
I'll be sure to remind him the moment he gets home how much I love him.
Realize how much I miss our summer Wednesday breakfast now that school has started again.
OMG I love that kid.
Full productivity mode.
Knocking off tasks in Asana for upcoming summit.
Had to watch a training on a new platform we are using for Write the Damn Dissertation.
The trainer was talking SO SLOW... I can feel my attention starting to wander.
Get to the point already!
Move the play speed from normal to 1.5 speed.
Grateful for 1.5 speed on YouTube
I love technology.
Finish the training and get my phone and headphones to go out for a walk.
I love learning while I walk.
Heard a commercial for legal zoom on a podcast I was listening to.
Legal paperwork for the trademark filing from a few months ago...
I was in the middle of a workshop when I saw the email with the action steps I was supposed to take, but forgot to follow up. Now I can't remember... when was that due?
OMG did I miss the deadline?
The deadline haunts me in the back of my mind throughout the rest of the walk.
Try throwing search terms in email search feature on my phone while I'm walking, with no luck.
What was the effing name of the attorney's assistant who sent me the email?
Start tracing back my steps to when I had taken the call with the attorney...
I remember I was on a walk with my husband it was hot and I remember my AirPods were literally falling out of my ears because I was so sweaty... that means probably July or August. Cool. I'm getting warmer.
At least now I know what months to search.
Run the final two miles home in the hopes I didn't miss the deadline.
Start sifting through my emails. FOUND IT!
Pay fee, sign form and send to attorney.
Grateful, but also pissed at myself again.
Move from the thought "I always forget everything" to "I remember the most important things".
Feeling a little more hopeful, I catch up with the remaining tasks on todays list.
Reschedule the task I didn't get to due the legal deadline issue.
Looks like I'll be working a bit this weekend.
Enjoy my rabbit hole time learning more about catbirds before calling it a day and showering before getting ready for dinner.
After toweling off, realize I forgot to rinse conditioner from hair.
Get back into shower to rinse conditioner.
Start doubting myself on everything else I was supposed to do while I was in the bathroom.
Did I take my CoQ 10?
What if I did? I can't remember... and I don't want to take too much.
Google "Can you overdose on CoQ10?"
Decide I'll play it safe and just wait until tomorrow.
"Wait... did I even take them yesterday?"
Make a pledge to start using the med dispenser I've had filled with all seven days of my vitamins, for a month (or five) now.
I'll start tomorrow.
Take it out of my toothbrush drawer as a reminder for tomorrow and place it on the bathroom counter.
TV Time with my boys
We watch The Weather Channel before switching to Netflix to watch Manifest.
Eye starts twitching because this Meteorologist every few sentences sucks his teeth..
I try to listen to what he's saying but can't because I'm distracted by the teeth sucking.
It doesn’t happen consistently which bothers me.
I try to figure out if it happens after certain words, or just randomly.
I point it out to Bri but he has no idea what I’m talking about.
I look at him and wonder how he doesn't notice this.
The Weather dude was really annoying me with the teeth sucking, so I go get my iPad and the blanket and cuddle back up on the coach with Bri.
I can't just be watching TV... must also be doing something else so...
I go down the rabbit hole on my iPad.
Open the Airbnb app since I love planning trips I may or may not ever take.
Research Airbnbs in Acadia National Park in Maine.
Bri: "what you into?"
Me: "just looking at Airbnbs in Maine"
Bri: "We going on vacation?"
Me: "Probably not, but look at this TREEHOUSE!"
Bri pausing the show, and Aedan looking a little curious and a little annoyed.
Bri: "I'm not staying in a treehouse in Maine."
Me: "what a brilliant idea... Bri, these people are literally renting out their kid's treehouse for $119/night"
Bri realizing what's coming next: "we don't have room for a treehouse in our backyard"
Me opening a new tab in Chrome: "I'm looking at land for sale in the Adirondacks"
Bri: "okay... I'm gonna go back to watching this episode"
Aedan asks Bri to keep it paused for a minute.
He heads into the kitchen to put popcorn in the microwave.
Aedan calling from the kitchen: "Moooommmm... you left your coffee in the microwave again!"
Well THERE it is! That's right! I'm grateful I didn't accuse anyone of stealing it.
I continue to spend the next two hours learning about how to build treehouses while we watch Manifest.
Go to bed happy and exhausted to have the superpower of being able to learn everything about the things that light me up. I'll probably be dreaming about treehouses.
I have ADD and I haven't let it stop me from doing a damn thing in my life.
It may look a little messy, a little late, and may have taken a few detours along the way, and the process definitely looks different than the way "normal" people move through life, but I also consider it a gift.
I'm kind, I'm generous, I am tenacious AF, I have big-ass dreams, I lead with my heart, love lifting others to see that their potential is limitless, I can figure ANYTHING out, am naturally curious about everything, and I believe there are no limits to what I can create in my life.
Some days leave me exhausted, exhilarated, dark and quiet, sunshine and rainbows, confused, inspired, and everything in between.
But I am willing to walk into any emotion.
I know that I have my own back, even though it hasn't always been this way.
I am grateful for this journey, and for all of the tools I have learned along the way.
I also know that growth and expansion are continuous, and the process of evolving will last of lifetime.
I'm here for it. All of it.
I would love to hear your superpowers. ❤️
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