As an ADHD personality, (I know some of you don’t believe that such a thing really exists and that the evil pharmaceutical companies made up the “illness” to sell drugs, but the sheer fact of the length of this side note should be convincing enough to you that some people really really do have a near impossible time not wandering all to hell with their thoughts and actions..) my usual methodology for preparing for and accomplishing anything looks like this:
Sit down. Think of what I need to do. Look at my phone to see how much time I have. Notice I have a text message. Reply (with heavy emoticon usage, all carefully chosen). Enter text conversation. Bring up Imgur on the computer screen while texting. Say goodbye by text. Imgur. Imgur. Imgur. Begin actual process of doing something. Decide I need to do some research about what I’m doing. Bring a page or two up online. Clip it all to Springpad to read later. Imgur. Get up and make coffee. Rejoin text conversation. Imgur. Imgur. Clip toenails cause my toes feel tender. Imgur. Give up and put it on a Springpad list to do later. Ignore Springpad for next couple of weeks.
You get the idea. I don’t focus well. I’m distractible and disorganized in my approach, unless I craft a grand master plan with daily acknowledgeable packages of activities. I’ve been a “victim” of the to-do list mentality in the past. It has worked against me. I learned that the second I wrote something down on paper, I considered it “handled” in my own mind and promptly forgot to even check the damn to-do list. Ever. I could only remember to do things if they were at the crisis level of necessity to accomplish, ex., the power is turned off because I didn’t pay the electric bill. Instead of just coming to hate and judge myself over the course of my lifetime for not functioning well in a methodical world, I learned a few things about how my head and enthusiasm levels work and re-embraced the to-do list, with a few tweaks and accommodations. I have a 5 month thru-hike in front of me and can’t just walk out the door one day. So here’s how I tackle the creation of a usable to-do list for myself:
GRAND POO-BAH GOAL: PACIFIC CREST TRAIL THRU-HIKE IN 2013!
Now, I’ve already mentioned that things have to appear to be a crisis to me in order for me to attend to them, so my goal with creating a to-do list is to create a bunch of crisis’. Also, I’ve divided things up into immersion chunks instead of incremental chunks, meaning, I’m only creating one LARGE task for me to focus on in any given time, instead of incremental baby steps for many different large tasks that at some far off towards the rainbow future will add up to meeting the poo-bah goal. In my 2013 Thru-hike list it looks like this:
- JANUARY: Gear month. All gear choices made and ordered.
- FEBRUARY: Resupply month. Get a plan, make contacts, draw up a mailing list
- MARCH: My life without me month. Pack up the house, put cards on autopay, go to the dentist, fix car, etc.
- APRIL: Test gear, hike all day, get flipping excited month! You’re off!