04 May 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "How Can I Keep from Being Distracted from My Home Duties?"

Clip art is courtesy of Microsoft.
Dear Ladies,

I received today's question from a student who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and thought that other women might struggle with the same issue.  This response is based on my own very subjective experience with Attention Deficit Disorder (my diagnosis does not include the hyperactivity component) and should not be taken as medical or psychological or any other type of professional advice.

I have found distraction to be unavoidable in my life.  For instance, on Tuesday, I should have concentrated on homeschooling, a few important homemaking tasks, and preparing to give my class at 5:00 p.m.  I received some new information, however, and ended up becoming distracted from the three categories of work I needed to do as I sought more insight about the new information.


The first strategy I use to avoid distraction is 
pre-planning as much as possible.

The homeschooling proceeded well because I was pre-prepared,  having written the schedule for 175 days of lesson plans earlier in the year.  Homeschooling--which I have been doing for three decades now--tends to function almost on auto-pilot.  

The homemaking tasks are more-or-less organized as I use an effective, but simple, plan, the tickler file method promoted by Pam Young and Peggy Jones in their book, Sidetracked Home Executives.

The class, too, has an organization because I have been teaching it for many years now, so except for individualizing the class to students' specific needs, the class structure essentially remains the same.  However, even with the strong organization and pre-planning of the class, technical problems, Internet outages, and other problems outside my control can occur, which result in my becoming distracted.


The second strategy I use to deal with distraction is "The Must List."

When the ADD symptoms are twinging and/or when life is swinging, I make a list of not more than five tasks that I must complete that day.  That way, when I become distracted, I can catch myself and return to the five.  


The third strategy I use to deal with distraction is a timer.

I learned about this strategy from Marla Cilley, also known as The Flylady, and probably other people have taught this strategy, too.  I started by setting a timer for five minutes, telling myself, "You can stay on task for five minutes."  After several months, I raised the time to ten minutes and, eventually, to fifteen minutes.  Even today, however, after many  years of using this technique, when I am experiencing particularly pronounced ADD symptoms, remaining on task for fifteen minutes is all I can do.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

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