Tuesday, October 9, 2012

On ADD and Getting to the Mission Field

A close person and supporter to the work Marissa and I are doing recently wrote me the following:
"Grant, I can not find a good book or resource to get cutting edge, up-to-the-minute time- and life-management skills and help based on the reality of the black hole that the Internet CAN be if not MANAGED properly. 
"Before the Internet there used to actually be more minutes in every hour. I wish someone would put that theory to Steven Hawking!! 
"Anyway, I know you could write [just such a] book - for people generally including all vocations lofty enough to require elegant management of time and energy to accomplish - in free-form occupations/activities like I am now as a grad student and part-time employee, and you are now based on your current work. 
"All the time mgmt books I can find are the same old stuff. Those skills have to be updated constantly as technology/media devices and platforms keep morphing and growing. Like details on when/how best to use Twitter/G+, and everything else combined in THE MOST EFFICIENT smart manner in concert with housekeeping, cooking, reading, meditating, personal care/bathing, Internet for school, and Internet for social/pleasure/family stuff. 
"Help! I'm feeling my way along in the dark - this stuff is especially important for those of us with ADHD-type challenges since we get so easily distracted online and before we know it we've done a bunch of stuff we didn't have on our original to-do list, even though the stuff we did might actually be good stuff, just not the right good stuff for the moment! 
"Help me OB1 canobi, you're our only hope"!
I think that this is a concern for many people today. Especially those who already deal with focus and have attention issues, the internet (and the resultant pace of life) can pose a significant challenge.

But, this had to be overcome. There are many steps it takes to achieve your dream. In our case, getting to the mission field for any length of time, let alone attempting to move to the field, has many steps.

The following are my 9 Major Ideas behind creating focus to achieve the things on your heart.

  1. There is no such thing as time management. You cannot manage time. There is only YOU management. Time will march on regardless.
  2. All the books sound the same because they are all pointing to the same thing most of which I agree with: self-discipline. Self-discipline is the same regardless of the internet or not. Back in the day, news was the internet of their day. And radio before that. And newspapers before that. And the local pub before that. (Imagine an irish woman's voice: "Why'r ye' down at dat pub all day, boyo?!") It has always been the same and it will always be the same. Discipline will be the only thing to overcome it! How?
  3. The following is the sequence of books that made the most impact on my life. I have the order and the revelation that came to me by them. (Although I am sure you can guess the revelation when you see the title.) 
    1. 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill: success is won or lost because of my own thoughts (instead of thoughts you could replace it with any of the 13 major points of thinking there). I learned and began extracting my vision and passion here. 
    2. '7 Habits of Highly Effective People' by the late Steven Covey: This book helped me to understand Roles and Responsibilities, which affect the Importance-Urgent Quadrant, which determine First Things First and what we focus on. I learned that my passion was possible by managing myself and began APPLYING THE PRINCIPLES. 
    3. 'Getting Things Done' by David Allen: This helped me by offering me a better system to funnel my efforts toward. This assumes that I have already developed sufficient self-discipline to execute any system I decided I want to try.
  4. To take it further, I believe that the books are saying the same things because the general population still has yet to apply the basics of focus, self-discipline. Do the basics. then get more.
  5. Other Tools: If you use the Google Chrome internet browser, you can install free Extensions from the Chrome Web store that limit your surfing/websites in chunks of time that you set up. Some of them limit social sites from hour X to hour Y (your working hours.) Check out Strict Pomodora and StayFocused. With these two, set up correctly, you won't have the choice but to be disciplined. Just don't shut off the Extensions when you feel the temptation to distract yourself. With those extensions I think you are on your way. 
  6. I would also do an honest self-assessment: Have I actually completed the steps in these books or any other material I have read in the past? Am I currently living the daily habits they suggest? 
  7. If you have not shaped the self-discipline habit, you can attempt to take the next, higher level in life, but it will not be sustainable for long. Sustainability of whatever your next level is based on your ability to manage self. And, I believe that most all people have that ability, whether they have ADD, ADHD, BiPolar disorder or whatever.
  8. Weekly Planning. I would seriously set up your week. Schedule in day-dreaming or web-surfing times so that you have the peace of mind during work times that you will get to it. 
  9. Have a note pad titled "Stuff to Look Up" so that you do not carry anxiety that your passing thoughts will be lost (this was often my motive for surfing forever).
Honestly, if these things, the basics, are not done, the next level will remain unreachable or, at the very least, unsustainable. One MUST, MUST, MUST have the planning habit to corral the need (and I believe it is a need) to surf and peruse the ideas in your head. But corral it. Schedule it in. Capture it on a sheet. And let 'er rip, when you scheduled that time.

That is the best advice I have until you have attained it. Once you have attained it, there are other things you can do to optimize it for further effectiveness. But that must wait until then!

Good luck! Get organized. Get focused! And we look forward to seeing you on the field!

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