Hope for freelancers with scatterbrained, ungrounded thinking?
July 23, 2016 7:53 AM   Subscribe

I'm a freelance writer, and the freedom I have means that walls of the maze that is my ADHD brain are always shifting...I think I need help in prioritizing, where I can balance my immediate income needs with longer term plans that will bring me more income in the future.

To be brief, I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, which explains why I always have trouble focusing on some things and can zero in and focus obsessively on other things....as a freelance writer, I have to operate like a one-woman business, but the possibilities of what I can do from day to day confuse me...I'll write on the little Windows 10 desktop sticky note that I have to do A, B and C today, but then I decide that I could better leverage my time doing D, E, and F. And what about K? K could be very lucrative. But I'd have to do H and J first...ultimately alphabetical order (and any order for that matter) become irrelevant. I spend countless hours clicking away on Twitter and Facebook and screaming on the inside.

I think I need help in prioritizing, where I can balance my immediate income needs (where the work might not be exciting, but it keeps food on the table) with longer term plans that will bring me more income in the future (exciting bling bling, creative projects). Help please.
posted by Cybria to Work & Money (3 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Medication? I've had good luck with Vyvanse.
posted by functionequalsform at 8:21 AM on July 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm a freelancer that has the same problem. A few things that help:
- Getting out of my house -- usually to the library or a coffee shop. Sitting down and working almost seems like a luxury when there's stuff that needs to be done around the house and I'm constantly distracted by little things. Getting out of my house re-sets my brain somewhat and allows me to concentrate better.
- Exercising first thing in the morning. When the weather is nice, a long walk with my dog helps. Otherwise I hit the gym. Or try to. I have less nervous energy.
- A focus & productivity app. The one that I use is called Focus Keeper and it has you work in set increments with breaks in between. It works as long as I keep it right next to me. Sometimes I wander off and do something else and forget about the app. The struggle is real, man.
- Medication, like Concerta!
- A journal/notebook kept next to my computer. Make it part of your bedtime routine to write down everything you need to do for the next day the night before. There are apps for this as well, but somehow the act of taking pen to paper and actually writing it down works better for me.
- I go through periods where I just deactivate my FB account, after posting a message letting people know why. I'm naturally interested in what all of my friends are up to, and it becomes this huge time suck.

I am still figuring all of this out and it's really hard. When you have a creative brain, you tend to see the possibilities in everything, and it's hard not to act on what you're feeling at the moment.
posted by Ostara at 9:01 AM on July 23, 2016 [8 favorites]

This is what business coaches are for -- they learn your business style and goals, and can help you set up your workflow so that you are actually productive on short- and long-term goals. If you have a hard time keeping your focus, a coach can really help steer you to the right track until you have the routine down enough that you don't need guidance.

I think medication and self-directed apps are useful, but they require a time commitment before you adjust (for meds) or a long learning curve while you figure out the app and whether it works for you. Coaches can cut through a lot of this for you, and aren't as expensive as you might think.

Multi-faceted approaches can be very effective.
posted by ananci at 7:16 AM on July 24, 2016

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