“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands on it.” –Sherlock Holmes
I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I was diagnosed as an adult, and the diagnosis has helped me to better understand why I am scatterbrained, have trouble following up on things, and inexplicably break into a jog when I am walking through the halls of my office. People think I’m really excited about selling parking meters, but in reality I just have a very fast internal motor. This is a Blessing and a Curse.One of the negative consequences of my ADHD is my historically bad junk drawer (pictured above left).
Gum wrappers, screws and spare change share equal billing with checkbooks, user manuals, and receipts. Under my present system, I lose things quite often. Cell phones, debit cards, drivers licenses. Let’s just say I have St. Anthony on speed dial.
As a young Catholic boy, I learned that St. Anthony was the Patron Saint associated with the return of lost articles. He must have had a biblically bad junk drawer, to be so good at looking for things that people pray to him to find their TV remotes.
I ought to contact the Vatican. My wife is a saint in her own right, for putting up with the routine fire drills and fiascos set off by missing paperwork, duplicated efforts, and skipped appointments. St. Rachel, Patron Saint of Shiny Objects.
Today, as I fished through the debris, it occurred to me that my ADHD brain works a lot like a junk drawer. There’s a lot of valuable stuff in there, it’s just randomly shoved underneath a lot of useless junk. Needless to say, I can’t always find what I am rummaging around for (important dates and deadlines, my wife’s unsubtle Christmas gift hints, etc.).
One of my major objectives as I undertake my Quest, is to teach myself to clean out and organize the Junk Drawers by streamlining. This means eliminating distractions and time wasters. Stop chasing squirrels!
Having three daughters under six, and a generally chaotic life, pursuing my writing career is a daunting challenge. ADHD makes it seem like an impossible dream at times.
I am finding solace and support from the many ADHD-themed websites on the internet. One of the resources I am using to help me on my quest is the Zen Habits blog by Leo Babauta. Zen Habits is, in his words, about “finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.”
Leo is an inspiration to me. He used to be a father of six, out of shape, professionally listless, needlessly busy and unhappy. After he launched his blog, he has gotten in shape, is writing books and has quit his day job to pursue his passions. In many ways, he is living my dreams.
The lesson that I take from Sherlock’s attic and Leo’s story is that until I clean out my Junk Drawers, my Dreams may not be so easy to find when I come looking for them.
To remind me of this lesson, I have added a Junk Drawer File to this blog, to file ADHD related materials and resources, stream of consciousness diversions and… squirrel!