My 16 year old daughter was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder and then, at the age of 57, so was I. A lifetime of struggle was placed into a context that made sense of a lot of failure and frustration. This blog documents and celebrates what has happened to me since.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I am a child of the Sixties and one of the basics of that persona is to avoid routine.  Routine--which has translated to "rut" for me for decades--is the enemy of spontaneity and creativity and of seizing the moment.   It runs deep.  Just ask the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit or Paul Goodman.

    It aint me, Babe,
    no, no, no,
    It aint me Babe

Recently I read, though, that one of the best supports we can have as we live with our ADD and turn it toward the flowering of our "orchid child" trajectory is to have a solid, thoughtful routine for getting things done. 

Old enough now to be flexible, I have embraced that, over the past couple of months.  At New Years  I even put together a routine to organize my work life and put it on paper, taped it to my work table.  It tells me

    1.  sync my organizer and my computer each night, so that each will include the things I put down, during the day, into one or the other.
   2.  in the morning, check my calendar, to do list and file box
   3.  identify my frog (my least attractive task of the day) and make it the first priority.
   4.  schedule the rest of my tasks for the day.  I have since committed to try to assign a fixed start time and time period to each task I have planned and to put an audible "start time" alarm on each. 
   5.  print out the daily schedule from my calendar/to do program.
   (see routine described below, then...)
   6.  start the work day with eating the frog and tie a bow on that (complete the task) before moving on to another--even if it requires changing the start times for other tasks.

This "Resolution List for 2010" also reminds me to account for all my time during the day, to check my printed-out list as the day goes on, to take down (in either my lap top or my organizer) the  "to do" and "events"items  as they arise during the day

It also tells me to calendar bills ten days and to pay them no later than five days before due and to update my business check and credit card registers each day.  I also need to add "start consulting fee billing" to the first of each month and "start doing expense reimbursement forms" on the 28th and the 12th of each month--and "complete" these two days after those start dates.

So far my results are uneven (especially on updating the credit card and check register), but there sits the plan and I am trying.

It is like a spiritual practice or discipline in that, if I stray from it I can go back and pick it up again--it's never "over" or "permanently blown."

It actually is a spiritual practice/discipline in that there are really no compartments in my life in the sense that some other persona runs my life when I am doing different things.  There is no "Timothy Committee:"  no lawyer Timothy, no father Timothy and so on...there is just Timothy who does it all and aspires to do it all in the same spirit, under the supervision of the same Guide.  I digress...

I do have two other routines.

One is work related.   When I receive an email message or a document that I might need for later reference I put an electronic "tag" on it, I calendar any events to which it relates, I put a reference to it in Bento (the program I have in which I can compile links to all emails, documents, events and other information relating to specific projects), and then I file it in the appropriate mail box or electronic sub directory.  Complicated?   You bet!  But I can find things when I need them--if I do this with fidelity.   Priceless.

The other routine is my morning wake up routine, before I do the calendar routine described above.   I am out of bed early (the cats make sure of that),  I make coffee, feed the dogs, and do whatever dishes have been set aside for me to do from the night before and clean the kitchen a bit, trying to do those things that need to be done periodically--wiping down cabinets and woodwork, for example.   (I like to do dishes, as long as there are not too many and it's my idea.  I recommend doing dishes as a spiritual discipline.)  I also make my oatmeal, get Whiskers outside for his morning time, and go down to the basement to put in a load of laundry. 

Then I come upstairs and have a cup of coffee.   This is when I do the schedule routine, above, returning from that to do my yoga, meditate, shower and dress.

(this is, by the way, where I am in that routine, at this moment--I have tucked some blog or other writing time into the morning before starting the work day. )

Wow, that sounds like a lot, almost overwhelming as I look at it, here.   But it's not, really.  It's totally doable and I am getting better at moving through it, every day.  It's also not as rigid as I am making it sound.  Weekends look a little different, as does the day before and the day that recycling goes to the curb.  Of course, I have a different routine for days on the road, which is still under development.

My newest insight in all this comes from my ADD coach at Kaiser--don't think in terms of deadlines, think about start times.

Routine is a good thing. 

About Me

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I am a convinced Beanite Friend, a member of Bridge City Friends Meeting, Willamette Quarterly Meeting and North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. Notwithstanding the doubts of some who claim the name, I am a Christian who does a Buddhist practice and believes that God talks to everyone, all the time. I have worked in the judicial branch of government, as well as being a trial lawyer, a public school teacher (counselor and coach), a kite merchant, and a Marine Corp Sergeant. I am currently working as a consultant to public and private agencies on issues of child welfare, juvenile justice, and substance abuse treatment courts.