25 January 2012


This post came about kind of randomly. It started with a simple assignment. Assess and analyse the things I'm good at, the things I need to work on, and how I can work on those things that need work. Sounds pretty easy, most of you can probably come up with, like, five things you're good at in no time at all. Well, nothing is as easy as it looks (or sounds), and one of those "things I need to fix", the Big P, PROCRASTINATION, played its part here -- I put it off until the night before. As usual. Despite having every intention of doing the assignment the night it was assigned. And every intention of doing it "tonight" -- "tonight" being every damn night between the date this was assigned, and the date it's due. Nope. I got some stuff done on Skyrim (even though I mostly chased butterflies), read a bazillion blogs, dicked around on Facebook, played with the cat, napped, ate, took walks, played more Skyrim, and then finally, FINALLY, sat down and started on what should have been, like, five minutes of typing.

Five minutes of typing turned into an hour of typing, deep thinking, more typing, more thinking, self-editing, re-reading, more editing, and finally deciding it was "good enough". And produced the following:

I am good with written communication – some would say “excellent”, but I feel I could work to refine my skills. I have also elevated procrastination and avoidance to an art-form, and have a corresponding talent for pulling off works of genius at the last minute.

I need to work on my “people skills”, both in face-to-face and over-the-phone situations. Communicating face to face and over the phone is… extremely uncomfortable and awkward, at best, and at worst has very nearly triggered a panic attack. One solution, at least, is if (when) I have to do a cold-call, I will sit and script out what I want to say. I will still be extremely anxious, but I won’t be tongue-tied, twisted, and terrified, because I have the script in front of me and I can just read it. I really need to get a handle on the procrastination thing, because it causes more trouble than I have energy to deal with, and the extra stress just isn’t good for me. Yes, even though I come up with some brilliant last-minute work, I’d really be happier getting things done and then having time to relax without a deadline dangling precariously over my head. My organizational skills also need some major work.

Where I’m stuck is, well… how do I work on my social skills? I’m okay in extremely causal social situations, but anything more formal than “oh, hi, I’m greeting you as we pass” just… loses me. I feel like I literally need someone hanging over my shoulder and explaining, “Okay, [action xyz] is socially inappropriate, and this is why.” And the why is the important part – “because it is” just sounds like a cop-out – I need to understand the reasoning behind the taboo. I’m seriously feeling like I missed something in kindy or early grade school, here! For example, it… apparently it’s considered “bitchy” for a woman to be blunt and up-front with opinions and feelings. But at the same time, I’m constantly told that I need to talk more, or told that I should “open up and express myself”. And then when I do open up, I get yelled at, flamed, or otherwise torn down for having opinions and feelings and (gasp!) daring to express them in anything other than flowery feel-good euphemistic language. Am… am I missing something, here? Is there something wrong with what I say? Or is there something wrong with the way I’m saying it? These are, these are important questions, because I want to not “be a bitch”, as a few folks online have so eloquently put it.

And on the procrastination front? Sweet Ceiling Cat, there are just so many wonderful distractions, from the birds singing outside, to Gracie wanting attention (or a door opened), to “what’s going on in the world”, to “oh, dirty dishes – I have five minutes to kill”, to, well, just about any distraction you can think of! I think part of it is just that I’m so very easily distracted anyway, and part of it is, I don’t know, probably subconscious avoidance of work or subconscious self-sabotage, neither one of which I am equipped to tackle in any meaningful way. I suspect this particular issue may require professional help. I’m also beginning to think that perhaps my disorganization – in addition to being part of the whole ADD package – is another one of those subconscious self-sabotage things. After all, I can’t do the work if I can’t find the work in the first place, ergo, perfect avoidance strategy.

Yep. Five minute assignment turned into... that.


  1. I can relate to a great deal of what you've written here.

    Communication skills: I seriously dislike talking on the phone. My SO enables me to the point that she makes appointments (hair, etc.) for me. I think I would go hungry before I took a job that required cold calls. I prefer face-to-face over using the phone, but I inevitably leave out points I wanted to make. Communication in writing is most comfortable for me, but I have to edit over and over again before I can be somewhat confident that I am getting my points across.

    My social skills are weak. My therapist correctly interpreted my views as "You believe there is a fixed set of social rules to follow, and everyone except you knows what they are."

    Being a guy, I can't be of much help regarding walking the line of being sufficiently assertive to function as a woman without being labeled a bitch.

    Oh my FSM yes, procrastination is part of having ADHD! We have trouble with both Self-Activation (getting started on a task) and Persistence of Effort (sticking to a task). We have more trouble than others with motivating ourselves to perform boring or unpleasant tasks, in the face of the siren song of distractions like blog reading.

    I'm currently struggling with the worst bout of procrastination of my life. Over the past year or more, medication trouble has allowed me to develop some bad habits. At home I have piles of mail and e-mail that go unread. At work my productivity is a fraction of what it should be. My manager has yet to challenge me on it, but it is just a matter of time. (Blog reading is also my weakness, as you may have guessed.)

    I picked up a new book on ADHD. The authors really seem to know what goes on in my head, although sometimes their brutal honesty can be demoralizing. I cannot recommend the book yet. I haven't gotten very far through it because--well, you know.

    If you are a traditional college undergrad, I probably have at least 25 years on you. I wish I could say "It gets better," but ...

  2. Actually, when people ask you to talk more they are not really asking for opinions, they are just looking for some sort of opener so they can steer the conversation back to themselves. At which point you just keep nodding your head and maybe throw in a "Oh how fascinating!" for good measure and voila! You just became somebody's new best friend.


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