When you text me and I don’t text you back it’s me, not you. When I’m late, doing something at the last minute, off in never never land, it’s me, not you. My brain is wired differently. I want to be organized but there is so much buzzing in my head that I can’t figure out what needs to come first. My brain is in constant fight or flight mode. I’m either scrambling to meet some sort of deadline or avoiding tasks because I can’t figure out where to begin.
As a kid I knew my brain worked differently. As things became harder I knew I had the ability to understand but lacked the ability to apply myself. I appeared to have it together at school but, when I came home, I couldn’t concentrate. I was disorganized and lacked the proper focus.
I remember my freshman year physics class. We were studying light, it was talking about why the sky appeared blue. I had plenty of time that day to study so I sat in my room, by myself, with no distractions. I stared at the pages, looked at the words, and nothing seemed to sink in. I had read about two pages but I realized that I remembered nothing. I was so frustrated with myself. I had the time, I was being disciplined, and it still wasn’t working. I felt like a failure.
I talked to my parents (there was also a lot of frustrated arguing but, after all, I was a teenager). I was convinced I had ADD. We went to a psychologist who took out the DSM and I didn’t fit the criteria. I know know that the criteria was different back then but I will admit I was discouraged. I felt like it was a flaw and that I should be able to change it. I could focus on things I wanted to focus on but NOT what was boring to me.
Turns out this is a way ADD presents. Also turns out that I was able to compensate enough to get me through high school and college and then, when I was in grad school and interested in the topic, I got straight As.
As an adult I still struggle. My time management skills are still lacking but I have found a system that works for me. FINALLY.
Enter the world of Bullet Journaling. My eldest was interested in starting so last November we got them together. She wanted hers for fancy lists and drawings and me, loving a new obsession, decided to follow the rules they had in place.
The theory intrigued me. I have had planners before and I never kept up with them. I love all the fancy stickers, colorful pages, but I never stuck to it for long. The idea of the bullet journal is that it should be so simple that you have no excuses not to use it. Sure, you can make it fancy, use calligraphy and fancy pens, but you can also just use it to keep everything in one place so you can find it.
I have been using this journal for over a year now. I know where my notes are kept, all documented in the book’s table of contents. I have my calendar spreads color coded and fancy with stickers but my day to day is just lists. I make my list in the morning and, as I’m getting off track during the day, I see what I need to accomplish. It somehow keeps me on track and helps me manage my time to get done what I need to do. (Sometimes I even put silly things on my list just so I can cross them off and look more productive!)
Have I overcome my ADD? Not a chance. I did, however, find something that has helped my jumbled brain get a little more organized.