The Crazy Suburban Mom: 2014-04-06

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 success.


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