Finding Focus: ADHD? Or a creative person with too much to do?

Sometimes being broad-minded isn't a good thing. My mind becomes a vast, ranging landscape with gaisers, sandpits, thickets, mountains. What I want is focus.

As I write this, I have one teenage daughter packing to catch an afternoon plane out of the country, another daughter thousands of miles away in southern Africa, a family member in the hospital whom I need to visit, a writer's retreat I'm leading this weekend, an out-of-the-country guest I'm hoping to see, two upcoming classes, three books to market, and a pair of jeans to wash.

I feel scattered, overwhelmed, and in need of focus. I've questioned whether I might have ADHD, or whether ADHD is really just another term for a creative personality. What I do know is that my mind scatters under certain conditions. In fact I know many creative people who get burdened and distracted by too much activity. But a wandering mind isn't something to ignore; it can diminish a person's sense of spontaneity and productivity. I've found the following ways to stay focused and peaceful even when my schedule has gotten out of hand.

Journaling. I keep my journal ready for anxious/bored moments, the hurry-up-and-wait kind of moments that come with overbusyness.

Listing. I jot down major goals a couple times a month. In light of this list, it's easier to prioritize the day.

Breathing. Simple as it sounds, we rarely do it consciously. Can you feel your breath filling up your chest, moving down to the lower lobes of your lungs, swelling your torso?

Walking. An essential, healthful, recreational diversion that helps me stay on track.

Peace-Outs. Pockets of time I use to feel centered. I've started carrying art markers in my car, because doodling provides a refreshing mental break. Yesterday I closed office doors in between meetings and pulled out my yoga mat, gaining a sense of clarity for the rest of the day. Sometimes finding peace means just sitting (without electronics). Sometimes I can be busy doing, but doing with a spirit of quietness - putting on music or lighting a candle while tackling laundry or filing paperwork.

I'm not too busy, or too stressed, or too distracted to think about where I'm going and keep my creativity and goals alive. I just have to keep my focus. Gotta go: time to wash my jeans.

How about you? What works to get your mind back on track?

1 comment:

  1. You have a lot of great ways of keeping your cool under stress. I want to try the doodling one myself.

    I have a mantra I use when things start overwhelming me, "You are only human. You can only do your best." It somehow usually calms me down enough so that I can finish the tasks that need to get done.

    Have fun laundering.


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