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Don’t take this as a statement about you. It’s just something I’m noticing about me. What sometimes looks like “ADHD” might just be me choosing to do what I enjoy more right now instead of what’s really important. That makes it self-indulgence, not a mental health disorder.

“Must Do!” … but will I prioritize them?

Today, my “To Do” list had only 3 “Must Do!” items on it. It’s 1:30 p.m., which means I’m more than 6 hours into the day. And only 1 of those 3 “Must Do!” items is complete.

Top “priorities” — my “shiny squirrels”

What I’ve prioritized instead of my “Must Do!” list are the various “shiny squirrels” I’ve chased so far today.

Don’t get me wrong — many of them actually took me to useful places. So far today, my “shiny squirrels” have led me to:

  • unpack 2 more boxes at my new home;
  • identify another topical cluster of items for eBay sales;
  • stash some spare bedding in the guest room;
  • begin to create a functional workspace for business and household administration in my new home;
  • start a 2015 self-assessment and 2016 goals planner.

But it’s now 1:39 p.m. And I still have 2 “Must Do’s” to do.

I’ve really enjoyed all the distractions that have crossed my path and become higher priorities than my top priorities. I’ve also taken lots of steps (2,324 so far, according to my Fitbit) in chasing down those interesting alternatives to the things that must be done.

Still, to me it’s starting to look like I don’t have “ADHD.” I just lack the discipline to sit down and get done what matters most. I am … in a hyphenated word … too self-indulgent to do what needs to be done.Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro Technique helps me stay focused

Often, I use the Pomodoro technique® to help me stay in line for just 25 minutes at a time. If you’re not familiar, this method of work uses a timer to set just 25 minutes at a time of effort, followed by 5 minute breaks. (It got its name from the tomato-shaped kitchen timer first used by its creator to maintain focus on his graduate studies.)

For those inclined to work without ceasing, the Pomodoro technique® creates the discipline of mind-refreshing short stops. For those inclined to chase “shiny squirrels” it creates the possibility of postponing that expedition until the timer goes off — and limiting the squirrel hunt to only 5 minutes before you return to your assigned task.

The Pomodoro Technique® will have to be my next attempt. Because if I hit the end of the day not having finished those 3 things, tomorrow will be a bear. Monday will be a catastrophe.

Does this sound something like resolve? It’s New Years Day. So a resolution to attempt more focus is not a bad place to start. And choosing less self-indulgence (in my case) might make it possible for me to be more giving to others … something else I’d like to grow in 2016.

If you want to try the Pomodoro technique yourself, you can use this handy online Tomato Timer. Happy focus to you!

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