Hey. Designer with ADD here. I've had it all my life. So has my brother. And my dad.
I love reading about normal, successful professionals like me with ADD, and my secret pleasure is checking out the ADHD subreddit.
I tried a bunch of different meds growing up and ultimately said, "Fuck it!" due to the side effects/price/forgetfulness. Once I got a real job and realized my lack of focus wasn't working in my favor, I started taking something again–-something else, something with side effects I could deal with.
And you know what? I love who I am on meds. I no longer annoy myself by losing my focus a million times in conversation or blurting out absurd thoughts. I can actually get work done and communicate with people (mostly) effectively. Oh, and my driving's better. And I only have to go back home and double check that I turned off the stove every once in a while.
I actually attempted to go off medication about a month ago just to see what life's like, and I wasn't a fan. Our society talks a lot about how docs push pills and how you shouldn't have to take stuff every day. I get that; I don't WANT to take something, and I especially don't want to pay a lot of cash to take something daily, but my world is so much better with these meds in my life.
On them, I'm a more improved version of myself. Katie 2.0.
Of course, the meds wear off after a certain number of hours, so I'm still left with my cooky self after work and on weekends when I don't take them. I haven't at all "lost myself."
Oh, and I have a thousand methods of dealing with ADD:
LISTS, LISTS, LISTS. I have lists for everything. I have lists of lists I need to make.
Routine: The more patterns I create in my life routine, the better.
React more slowly to stuff that bothers me. If something upsets me, I sit on it for a few days before bringing it to light. More often than not, I'll forget about it or decide it's not a big deal.
When cooking in the kitchen, use timers. And don't leave the room.
What's not fun is when I do a little search for an InVision tip and end up with a million tabs open writing a novella on Designer News.
But all in all, I can deal with my ADD, and it's part of what makes me the happy, fun, spontaneous person I am. I'd take it over being boring any day.
Same same same!
Thanks for sharing your experiences! All of what you're saying is very familiar. Once, my doctor suggested once that I try a week of work without the medicine to how it goes... and I made two whole days.
I'm right there with you about Version 2.0. Without my medicine it feels like trying to drive through a thick fog, and I would rather choose to drive without fog!
And oh, the lists! Lists and lists of lists! At a previous job, someone once asked "Why do you care so much about organization and process?"
Because I have to! I will literally browse Reddit all day otherwise.
Thanks for sharing this Ryan. I don't feel my own distractedness would clinically qualify, but focussing hacks and tools from lists to time blocks have been invaluable. And for what it's worth, having a friend in a meeting who can signal when you're on the wrong track is something everyone should want.
I appreciate your thoughts Todd! I believe everyone has symptoms of ADHD, and therefore would gain benefit from certain tips and tricks for productivity. As you discover more of your own productivity hacks, I'd love to hear them. You could actually end up helping those of us who are clinically diagnosed. Cheers!
Loved reading this.
My older brother has ADHD. It's been part of his life as long as we've been around....and we're in our mid-40s now. Growing up, he was on meds throughout school, Ritalin I believe....and I think it helped him quite a bit then. As far as I know he's not used it in his adult life....whether that's helped or hurt him, I'm not sure. he studied design (as did I ) and while I work in the field, he does not...
At any rate, I'm glad you wrote the article, and I'm going to forward it on to my brother and see what he thinks....
My wife has often remarked that I probably have it to some extent as well, but somehow developed coping mechanisms that my brother didn't.
I'm curious to know what your brother thinks about it, considering his experience was as a child. Since my first diagnosis came at 25, my doctor thought it was interesting that I had zero problems in growing up and in school. I guess it affects people differently. The brain is real weird
I'm very curious about other's experiences. If you have to deal with ADHD, what are some tools that you use to stay on track?