How to prevent daily tasks from overwhelming me?
February 10, 2014 11:11 AM Subscribe
I have a problem with consistency in carrying out daily activities, particularly those that are communication-based such as responding to messages. I have missed out on business opportunities, hurt friendships, and am generally seen as unreliable due to my inability to respond to people's messages in a timely matter. This has got to change, but I'm not sure how and could use your help.
posted by Thanquol180 to Human Relations (16 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I am an introvert by nature, and value my alone time. The mindset of someone who responds to every text/message/email as soon as they get it baffles and sometimes annoys me (texting at a restaurant/theater makes my blood boil) - I would never be able to get anything done if I responded to every blip and bleep that my phone makes. I think I would have done much better in a world without social media - for my ADD-addled brain, the amount of information I am getting from so many different places overwhelms me and I lose track of what I should be doing.
The problem is, I often let the messages I have received go unanswered for too long. Then, when I get too many, I panic and go into 'shutdown' mode where I don't respond to friends at all - I almost try to make myself forget that I need to get back to these people. This eventually gets to a point where it literally takes hours to respond to all of the emails/text messages/fb messages that have accumulated. And I'm responding to people a week, maybe even two, late so I feel like I'm letting them down. I have been called out on this before.
I think the main problem is that I get super focused on one thing. For example, I am a freelance music composer and when I get into the 'zone' I just can't handle distractions when I am working. I spend an inordinate amount of time working on a project, and forget about the daily minutia of life that I need to be attending to - I sometimes have to remind myself to eat.
I think that scheduling a block of time during the day for social media/email/text time would be the best way for me to handle this, but I have a hard time sticking to a schedule as I do my best work creatively in the early morning and then have a hard time switching to something else.
I've tried the Pomodoro technique, but I just keep resetting the timer and working on the project that I am working on at the time. I've thought about making rules, such as only being able to reset the pomodoro 3 times for one assignment, then moving to the next order of business on the list. I've also considered scheduling my day into blocks of time that I must stick to; 6-7 AM, for example, could be "responding to people" time. But again, I have a difficult time with schedules that are self-imposed. I also tend to get overwhelmed by cleaning, washing dishes, etc. but at least there are no negative social implications if I leave my plates in the sink for a day or two.
I'd love to hear advice on what methods people who are similar to me have employed to keep on top of responding to emails, friends, etc. My gut is telling me that block scheduling is the best idea, but have tried it and am having a difficult time making it a habit.
PS: I have been diagnosed with ADD with comorbid anxiety, and am on Wellbutrin for that. I find that my mood plays a big part in whether or not I respond to people promptly.