coffee

How long has that been sitting there?

Ha. That’s just not true. Of course I can make coffee. I make great coffee.

And my coffee goes great with donuts that I get from the grocery store in the next little town up the coast from here.

Or, I could bake some banana bread. I make great banana bread. I also make a really good lemon – poppy seed loaf. And there’s a few other things I bake that … oh, right, I was making coffee, wasn’t I?

Of course I can make coffee …

Well, it isn’t that I can’t make coffee, it’s that I can’t just make coffee without doing other things too. I get distracted. And then I wander off, and come back in fifteen or twenty minutes to find that I haven’t made the coffee yet.

Or I’ll return in an hour and a half to find the cup sitting on the coffee maker and full … of cold coffee. Yuck.

But coffee is easy!!!

Yes it is. So things that are more difficult should be harder, right. It seems like it would be nearly impossible to create a meal, play chess, write a computer program …

But no. It’s not harder. And in fact, making coffee is not hard. It’s staying on task that is hard.

Ah. There’s the problem.

Yes. In fact, the more complicated a task, the more likely that I can maintain concentration on it. Provided it is complicated AND interesting.

See, I’m smart. I’m smart and I’m clever. And I can figure things out, see ahead, find ways to do things that make them more interesting, and often do complicated things really well. But if you’re giving me something to do that is dull, too easy, or boring … I’m going to see twenty other things that “need” to be done immediately.

And what do we learn from this?

Well, I hope you learn that you shouldn’t send me to make a cup of coffee if you need one right away. You might get it … or maybe not.

What I learned, and I learned it long ago, was to make things more complicated for myself. Well, that is, I learned to be a perfectionist of sorts, to go the extra mile, to do things in more detail and to drill down to the “zen” of tasks if you will. I learned to make small boring tasks bigger and bolder.

The secret is to make things not boring

And I realize that sounds a lot like “Pay attention!” or “Just don’t get distracted!” But the truth is that this works sometimes, but not all the time, and in the end, I still have ADHD.

And … I think I left my coffee getting cold on the coffee maker.