Multitasking is difficult for an ADHDer--I can't start a new task if I haven't tied up all the loose ends from my current project.
by Rebeka Covell
Lately I’ve been having trouble transitioning from one thing to the next. Today, I was actually upset that I had to leave work, go home for a few minutes, and go to my fun mall job at night. Usually, I’m itching to get out of my day job, but today I just wasn’t ready to call it quits yet.
At my internship I have so many things to do; and practically no time to do them. Everything is always a day late or a rush to get finished and we’re so swamped with work that my boss sometimes doesn’t have time to check my work right away. I have to get price quotes from other companies before I can compile the cost and submit it to the architect. But for someone with ADHD it’s frustrating to wait around for someone else. I like to start a project, get really involved with it, lose track of time because I’m concentrating, finish it up, and get the proposal sent out right away.
Instead, more than half the time, I’m forced to start the project, call in for some prices, leave that project half finished and start something else while I wait for a fax with a quote. The hyperfocus that helps me work through something quickly also gets in my way when I can’t switch tasks as readily as I’d like.
I spent the whole night at my supposedly fun part-time job worrying over things I didn’t get done before I left the office. I didn’t get any of my follow-up calls made, I didn’t even start looking at the huge project that’s due tomorrow, and I didn’t get any of the small things I’d been working on sent out. Although I worked consistently for 9 hours today I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything--because I didn’t finish anything. The loose ends and papers scattered over my desk made me want to stay at work and just get it done, but I had to leave so I could get to the next job.
Even at night I have a hard time transitioning if I feel like everything’s not done for the day yet. I should have gone to bed a few hours ago, but I’m still awake because I told myself I wasn’t going to put off my blog another day. I know if I had gone to bed I’d just lay awake thinking that I didn’t write my blog; as it is I’ll probably spend half an hour worrying about those purses I was supposed to put away, but didn’t get to finish. (Probably because I was worrying about that project I didn’t work on at my internship).
Every transition takes me longer than it should; and it’s frustrating because there’s nothing I can do to get everything done, yet it makes me less efficient in my next task. It’s a vicious cycle that I wish I knew how to get out of.