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Jane, I only "know" you from the asthma board, so you may already have tried/discussed what I'm about to suggest, but I'm 31, just finished grad school, and just got diagnosed with mixed type ADHD. I didn't realize it was considered rare in women. Now I feel all special :/

Although I didn't get dx-d before finishing law school (and destroying my GPA and employment prospects during the terms when co-morbidities made the ADD so much worse I couldn't function, but I digress), I did know that I had serious organizational and attentional problems.

1) I live by iCal. It's a Mac program, but there are plenty of PC equivalents. These days, I have it on my iphone as well as my laptop. Color-coded calendars with alerts for EVERYTHING. I get beeped at a lot, but I cluster some of them to minimize interruptions. I get alerted for meds, an hour before appointments, the day before minor projects are due, and daily the week before a major project is due. I have those alerts emailed. I even have it send email alerts to my spouse (also ADD, nice to have so much in common, eh?) for his bills and things like haircuts that he tends to forget to plan for.

In addition to the alerts, it blocks out my day for me visually. It's hard to let twenty minutes of post-meeting chit-chat eat up your grading time when you've got a big pink box staring you in the face reminding you that this is grading time.

2) If you can't work with interruptions, don't. Last year I worked in a busy student law clinic. There were always people around chatting, looking for resources, wanting to talk about a case, etc, and it was impossible for me to focus, or I would hyper-focus and be perceived and rude and hostile. So, when I had a demanding project to work on, I got there early. The building opened at 7 and people started showing up around nine, so I starting going to Y at 5:30 for a workout to help me wake up and get energized, and then walk over the clinic a couple blocks away and work from 7-9. I took off Wednesday afternoons to spend some midweek time with my daughter, and then went in on Saturday mornings to work on big writing or research projects.

3) Get some help. Talk to a coach or planner about finding a rhythm to your day that works for you. I have a spouse who, because he has a lot of the same problems, is great at helping me troubleshoot routines that just aren't working for me, but a coach or professional organizer or therapist should be able to help. If you're spending a lot of time with students on office hours, refer them to the tutoring center--when I was the top student in my school's history program, I served as a peer tutor and several profs I'd gotten to know referred their students to me for extra help that was eating up their grading/prep time.

4) If you have authority to schedule some of these meetings, try to do it so they are back-to-back with other meetings. Cuts down on the time lost to mentally and physically shifting back into office quiet work time.

5) Don't keep your email open. Is it really that urgent that someone hear back from you NOW? Usually it can wait an hour or three. Check email in the morning, before lunch, mid-afternoon, and before leaving. That is pretty frequent, you may be able to get way with less.

6) Take five minutes twice a day to plan your day. Well, once to plan, and once to re-plan, after the plan has gotten squashed. Post a list right in front of you. Sometimes I print a list out from my calendar, sometimes I scrawl some things on a post-it.

I hope I'm not out of order posting all this stuff, as I'm sure it has all been discussed exhaustively here in the past, before I got my fun new dx, but these methods got me my law degree, despite pretty pronounced ADHD and other mental illnesses and a couple bouts of serious physical illness.





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