A few things I've learned about my ADHD after 29 years:

1) Use large text, at least on the screen. I have an awesome high-resolution screen and my sight is fine, so I can read very tiny text. However, I have a very difficult time concentrating on any text that is smaller than about a 1/4 inch high on a screen. It appears very blurry and is tiring to read. I have to blow up the text on most websites, and the text in my console is cartoonishly large. When working with others on programming, I have to ask them to increase the text size. I use the excuse of "my eyes aren't good", but when I take ADHD medication, the blurriness of small text goes away, so it's definitely not my eyes. (Weirdly, I've never had this problem with books -- but just now as I'm typing I've realized that's because I hold my books about 6 inches from my face! This has a side benefit of blocking distractions from my peripheral vision. :)) Large text is probably the number 1 ADD hack I use every day.

2) Speeding up most lecture/talk videos to 1.5x or 2x lengthens my attention span enormously. Usually I take breaks every 10-15 minutes when watching a long lecture. Breaks help prevent daydreaming or zoning out, but impair my ability to follow a long train of thought in a talk. Sometimes when I return from a break, I've forgotten what the speaker was saying and have to backtrack or even restart the video. And there's always the risk that I'll get distracted by something during my "break" and never get back to the original video. By speeding the video up, I can usually watch an entire 1-hour video in a single sitting and retain at least as much understanding. I suspect this may work for audiobooks as well, but I can read faster than I listen, so I've never tried.

3) Write things down! EVERY. SINGLE. THING. In one place! EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. This is so hard. Good habits are so difficult to create and so so so easy to break. I've gone months when I kept track of journal. Those months are always easier on me and everyone around me, more productive, I would even say happier! I can "remember" important events and appointments, seem more responsible and organized, and also have a lovely written record of all the awesome things that have happened. Despite all these positive outcomes, I still occasionally lose a planner or go on vacation and decide I can do without my planner for a few days. Just a few days is all it takes. I lose the habit and it can take months to relearn it, during which my life is back to utter chaos. It's never "just this once", self. Use your planner!!



August 2015



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