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Overwhelmed & Undermotivated: Part 2

My work desk is a mess. It's rather a large, L-shaped desk so there's ample work room. Or rather, there would be if I didn't have four massive piles of paperwork cluttering up what amounts to at least half of the desk space. I've taken extra doses of what I call Project Ritalin (in addition to my regular daily ADHD medication) for the last week and I still haven't been able to start.

My boss is out for the next two weeks, so I have two weeks to clean my space up. I don't want to procrastinate, waiting until the three days and getting myself into a panic about getting everything done, as is my usual modus operandi.

As I've said before, I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was an adult, just after college. When I was a freshman in college, I had this paper due. I had done all the research the first week, right after we were given the assignment. I had a month to write it, but couldn't work up the motivation to do it until the night before, with the deadline looming. I wrote 18 out of the 20 required pages and went to sleep, setting my alarm early to finish it the next day.

I woke up at 0500 to find that my computer failed to save my draft when I went to bed. I had to start the paper over from scratch, and it was due at 0900. I cried and called my mom, who calmed me down and told me, "You already know what you wrote, just write it again and round it out. Don't worry about revisions. You got this."

So I pounded some coffee and got to writing with 3 hours and 45 minutes until I had to meet with my professor to turn the paper in. And I got it done! My mom was absolutely right. I knew the material and I was able to rewrite the entire paper in three and a half hours, with just enough time to print it out, get clothes on instead of pajamas, and haul ass across campus with minutes to spare. For being totally panicked and nearly having a complete meltdown, I was rewarded with an A+ and told by my professor that she expected great things from me.

College was extremely challenging for me. If I had classes I was interested in, I'd get on Dean's List for the semester. If I had gen-eds that I didn't care for, it was Academic Probation. There was no halfway. Dean's List, or Academic Probation, and I never knew which it would be until halfway through the semester when I'd be failing. No amount of staying late, tutoring, or reading texts was able to help me through those boring classes, or worse, classes with topics that were difficult for me to learn. I'm a hands-on, visual learner, and abstract classes were the worst. (Talking about you, calculus and astronomy.)

How does this correlate to my current work desk issue? I do not want to put it off until the last second where I'm bound to misfile or lose paperwork. But how do I get started? Well, at this exact moment in time, I'm still trying to figure that out, but writing out this post is helping me get fired up for tackling this overwhelming project.

I hate filing, and I hate cleaning, and these two things are the crux of my current dilemma. The clarion call of the book I'm reading is definitely distracting, and I would much rather finish it than start the desk project. The sad truth of the matter is that I've been reading this series (the first book of which is listed as my "Pick of the Month") for the last two weeks, while putting off my desk project. The fact that I've read this series multiple times and know how it all ends doesn't matter. It isn't the point. Escapism is so much nicer than the reality of a disastrous mess staring me in the face.

To say I'm waiting for my Project Ritalin to kick in isn't exactly fair, because I've taken it several days in a row to try to tackle this and it hasn't helped. Focus, yes, but motivation, absolutely not. What will help? Hell if I know.

I'll start it today because I have more willpower than I did last week or the week before. Also because I can tell myself that the deadline is looming, ever closer with each passing day. Will I accomplish it? Yes... eventually. But today is the day I'll get started at least. Writing this post is shaming me into doing it. As I said in my previous "Overwhelmed & Undermotivated" post, shame is, sadly, an effective self-motivator.

So... I will wrap this up and (hopefully) start with the paperwork in the first pile, moving on in a systematic, linear fashion from there. Now if only my head would stop hurting...


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