The Crazy Suburban Mom: The trail of breadcrumbs

Monday, April 7, 2014

The trail of breadcrumbs

About three weeks ago I bought the DIY Fish yearly chart.   I needed a way to wrangle all the tiny things, get more done in a timely order, and see my progress.

BeFunky Violet on iPhone


What I didn't realize was the tiny tasks were breadcrumbs leading me to routines.


I've tried to make routines in my Filofax before but they didn't work ... Or maybe I didn't work them... either way the result was the same.  I wrote page after page of things to do, ways to do them... whole sections in fact!  But any routine I set up in the past felt random and not applicable or it was painfully complicated and too specific.

I started the yearly chart as a way  to focus, to keep up with small but important things (like skincare and taking vitamins) and add more a little at a time.   This week, after 21 days of success with personal care, I added 'Make bed' and 'Water Plants'.

After a few weeks of charting these tasks I realized I wasn't tracking individual items, I was building entire routines.   That hadn't occurred to me before.  

What I used to see as individual things now get done in an order that makes sense.   I used to see things like shower, brush my teeth, and wash my face as individual items but in the last three weeks I've started washing my face and brushing my teeth together while the water is filling the tub.

I imagine most people already do things like this early and together while getting ready for work but since I'm at home I just did them in dribs and drabs.  I brushed my teeth if I happened to find myself in front of the sink... and it dawned on me I hadn't done it.  I washed my face when I needed to go out and wanted to throw some make up on...  I'd shower when I was ready to get dressed.

I under or over-estimate how long tasks take, have difficulty managing time, and struggle with getting mundane things done.  My brain is the problem; I have the inattentive form of ADD.  Executive brain functions (i.e - time management, attention, focus, planning, remembering details) are a daily, very real,   problem, as is my working memory.

Most people wake up, shower, dress, and eat breakfast  automatically.  I struggle with life's necessary tasks and they constantly swirl around my to-do list without getting done efficiently.

I don't know why the DIY Fish chart is working for me - Although I'm quite sure there is a complex  ADD related explanation having to do with executive brain function - I only know it is.  Charting multiple (but not an overwhelming amount of ) individual items somehow gave them natural order and the repetition added a time frame.

I started with nine individual things to accomplish and added another one or two after success with those.  All were things under a 'personal care' umbrella but this week I moved to things outside myself.

BeFunky Orton on iPhone

I don't know how many tasks I can add before my brain goes into overwhelm again. Adding tasks slowly is key but I imagine there is a limit.   ADD can be managed; but it is always there crouching behind my to-do list whispering, "It's all too hard!"

But for now... I feel positive and grateful about getting things done and am happy to follow the breadcrumb trail as it leads from task... to routine ...to success.

13 Comments:

Rori 4/7/14, 11:23 AM  

Glad they're working for you! Interesting post :)

Tracy Reinhardt 4/7/14, 11:34 AM  

Rori, Thank you :) I watched two of your videos last night and as always, they made me laugh! I really enjoy your videos, your delivery...everything.

Tracy

carielynn 4/7/14, 12:52 PM  

Tracy, this post made me inexplicably happy. Many people don't realize how much a planner is not just wanted but *needed*. I have some health stuff going on that makes my brain extremely fuzzy some days... We've taken to calling it The Head Fog or The Brain Haze. Those days, the most mundane things feel insurmountable; my planner helps me through that. I am so tickled to hear that you're finding a way to work with and around the ADD.

Tracy Reinhardt 4/7/14, 1:30 PM  

Carie, that is all so true. I am familiar with the foggy stuff... I have fibromyalgia and it's not that awful most days. I had a much more difficult time a few years ago but somedays are just hard. Yesterday, was hard. Everything hurt and I probably didn't get off the couch more then four or five times all day. Foggy was happening too... I go back and forth about posts like this because honestly, many people think putting 'shower' on a to do list is the height of uselessness... I know some people see it and feel I'm writing 'remember to breathe'... I avoided showing those pages for the last few months but it is what it is.... If that's my list then thats my list and I can't do anything about it. And you commenting makes me feel it's okay to need to write these things, gotta thank you for that :) Tracy

Shajarena 4/7/14, 2:04 PM  

Thank you for taking the time to do this post. I struggle with ADD and other learning disabilities. I find that I have problems keeping up with daily schedule. I hope that small steps I can become a little better at keeping track of my daily schedule.

Tracy Reinhardt 4/7/14, 2:10 PM  

Shajarena, It really helped me and it is a struggle. You're so right. Thanks so much for commenting... It's nice to know I'm not alone with this
Tracy

Homemakersdaily.com 4/7/14, 6:32 PM  

I didn't realize you had ADD. I have it, too, and could relate to all that you said.

"Most people wake up, shower, dress, and eat breakfast automatically. I struggle with life's necessary tasks and they constantly swirl around my to-do list without getting done efficiently." - I've tried to explain this to my friends repeatedly but they just don't get it. I love the way you said this. It is exactly right.

I'm going to check out the DIY Fish and see if it might help me. I'm really struggling right now - between ADHD and Menopause - oh, boy!!!

Homemakersdaily.com 4/7/14, 6:34 PM  

Tracy - I just read the comment above where you talked about putting "take a shower" on your list. I don't put that, but I put equally small things and big things. If I don't put my normal dailies, like make dinner, do laundry, sweep the floor, blog, etc. - there's a good chance I'll get distracted with something else and completely forget. I cannot make a list with only unusual priority items. I have to have a list with EVERYTHING - special, normal, routine. I have to see the big picture.

MySummerTouch 4/8/14, 6:26 AM  

You made me think abiut it too. I had/and still have sometimes the same issues-not foggy mind, but I get so distracted with my ideas/thoughts that I struggle to focus on whatever I need to do. My hubby thinks that I just don't care about anything, but that's not true.
I have built my routines VERY slowly with the period of several months, but I had to do it because of a drastic change-I got hired for a full time job, and I was a housewife for 6 years before that. But I did it. And I have always thought that I am just lazy. Maybe I'm not.

Tracy Reinhardt 4/8/14, 8:30 AM  

Homemakersdaily - yes, exactly... a list with everything. And it's what you said, if I don't put it down I don't get things done - or done in the best most convenient and timely way. It helps me 'see' the day better... account for time... and get more done. And yes, I do have ADD - I tried meds for a while but coping skills work better for me so I go in that direction. And don't even get me started on the horemone thing, perimenopause hasnt helped one bit

Tracy Reinhardt 4/8/14, 8:32 AM  

Mysummertouch - I agree with you. It's not a lazy thing, it's a distraction thing. And I'm trying to build routines very slowly too...

Bettyann Schmidt 4/8/14, 10:27 AM  

Tracy, I also have ADD, had it as a child but there was not a diagnosis. I was labeled "lazy," and "inattentive." I've used a planner for years but, like you, I still couldn't keep a simple routine. And I do feel "lazy." On the other hand, I can accomplish an enormous amount of important stuff sime.days, and totally forget teeth, face, hair, and shower until almost bed time.

You make me feel like I have "people."

Bettyann Schmidt 4/8/14, 10:28 AM  

Tracy, I also have ADD, had it as a child but there was not a diagnosis. I was labeled "lazy," and "inattentive." I've used a planner for years but, like you, I still couldn't keep a simple routine. And I do feel "lazy." On the other hand, I can accomplish an enormous amount of important stuff sime.days, and totally forget teeth, face, hair, and shower until almost bed time.

You make me feel like I have "people."

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP