I’ve talked about the ADHD gift vs. curse thing here and elsewhere until I’m almost as tired of thinking about it as I am of my ADHD. I do believe, however, that under the right circumstances, some aspects of ADHD can be leveraged to create an advantage.
Under the right conditions I can engage my mind in a task and keep it there until the task is complete. But there in lies the catch. What are the “right conditions?”
Let’s take a look at that shall we?
I’ve recently realized that being at home means being derailed. I’m trying to write at home right now and I can hear the laundry calling me softly from the laundry room. Calling me softly is a pretty clever trick for my laundry since I don’t use fabric softener.
I know there are dishes to do as well, and I also have bills to pay and plants to water. There’s a floor to scrape (the time for sweeping was surpassed a month ago) and a lawn to cut, all very distracting stuff.
But I can work if I go out. If I pack up my notebook and dawdle off to my friendly neighborhood café, I can sit there and write without giving a second thought to all those troublesome little details.
The only thing I have to fear is the fact that my local municipality has decided to aid in euthanizing its downtown by decreeing that anyone who wants to go downtown and help the small store owners survive must be allowed only limited street parking or be ticketed extensively. Just because the shop owners have to pay taxes is no reason to encourage shop goers to actually patronize the city’s core … but I digress.
The fact is that I regularly pay parking tickets because I am quite able to focus on my work when I’m not at home. When I’m not surrounded by a house full of responsibilities, my responsibilities, I get stuff done.
And last night I went to work, at the café in question, as a server. A local fund-raising event in my city sees three different restaurants serve three different courses.
People who wish to help the cause, pay for a meal and then eat one course at each of these three participating restaurants. You have appetizers in one restaurant, stroll down the street to the next venue for your main course, and then finish up with dessert at the third establishment.
Each restaurant has different patrons for each course. Roughly sixty people participate with the proceeds going to the Canadian Mental Health Association, a cause I have no trouble getting behind.
Do I seem like the kind of guy who can fit in with a group of skilled professionals performing a ballet of sorts with trays and plates and hot food and keeping coffee brewing? And yes ma’am, I can get you another fork and no sir, there’s no peanut products in the soup and hey barista, we need three more servings of German Blitz Torte for table five and …
… well I shouldn’t be that kind of guy, I have ADHD you know. And by this time of day my meds are wearing off. But yes, I am that kind of guy, under the right circumstances. And the right circumstances are: I’m not at home where everything is my worry, and I’m not writing, and everyone around me is either doing the same thing as I am or they are the reason I’m doing what I’m doing, they are customers.
So I came home last night, hung up my tuxedo jacket, cracked open a cold beer (non-alcoholic, I’m still on the wagon) and felt good about what I’d done. I had worked with others, made no mistakes, did my share to keep things going smoothly, took care of issues as they came up and had a good time as well.
So what’s the secret?
The tricks are, be where you’re not thinking about other responsibilities and commit yourself to what you’re doing, own it, enjoy it. And getting to help eat the leftovers doesn’t hurt either.