i'd love to hear your thoughts on if (and how) GTD can be a helpful system for people with ADD. i've never been diagnosed with ADD, but am convinced i have it (and probably have had since childhood). it seems that systems, checklists, etc are useful for me, but i would be interested to know others' experiences with this. any other tools you use?
09-28-2005, 03:35 PM
For complex tasks where I can't omit a detail and can't make an error, I use checklists. They may include step-by-step reminders and even data I have to refer to repeatedly. For example, I do a payroll every week, and I have a checklist that lists everyone's wages and has spaces for me to record check sequences and check counts, reminders to print out the check register, to call in a tax deposit, etc. It lists miscellaneous deductions from some of the employees' checks, like child support, etc. I would never be able to remember all of this detail without the checklist. But with the checklist I get it right every time. (I just have to avoid obsessing over the checklist, trying to make it more and more perfect--it gets to be another distraction)
Also, color is helpful--when I do the payroll there are up to 100 time sheets on my desk that have to be reviewed, plus various reports. And I have to refer to the checklist to make sure the correct hourly rates were used. So I print the checklist out on colored paper. Thus I can find it instantly in the mess of papers without having to pick up the timesheets and reports and shuffle through them--and maybe it's not because of the ADD, but I hate shuffling through papers--it really makes me feel lost and out of control and even panicky.
For other things that I have to keep sorted and have to distinguish between, I also use color coding--colored files, colored cover sheets, so I can instantly recognize exactly what I'm dealing with and sort it immediately, and get it filed in the right place.
I only have a few checklists and a few colors of paper--am afraid I could get really obsessed with making up checklists and devising color coding schemes--I only use them when I've recognized a serious problem that causes errors, wastes time, etc.
I keep my desk as clear as possible, because any stray pieces of paper or post-it's distract me from the project at hand. Everything is filed away on a bookshelf if I'm not working on it. And my desk faces the wall so the stuff in the room won't distract me. It seems that order and neatness are supremely difficult to achieve with the ADD, but really essential because if things are not organized they are very distracting.
Music could be helpful--am still working on this--there's a thread about music and productivity--am trying to find music that won't distract me.
I have a big problem with schedules--hate schedules--so I use the physical files as a reminder--stacked behind me on a shelf or on the floor--schedules for deskwork just bother me so much that I've given up on them. Though I do fine with appointments with clients. Just can't schedule myself to do deskwork at a particular time.
Hope this helps.
Also: see this thread on an add board:
10-02-2005, 08:22 AM
10-03-2005, 11:42 AM
I just had the pleasure of talking to her (following up some questions I asked at Friday's RoadMap seminar in Boston), and she comes from an ADD/ADHD background. She gave me the following links:
I don't know if those will help. Hiring her would probably be amazing, though...