ADHD at Work
Can't decide what to do, so don't do anything
I started my job two years ago. Not only was the position new to the (small) organization, so was the “department,” and I have basically designed the position and the “department” from the ground up over the course of the past two years. I put “department” in quotes because I am the whole “department”—I am the business manager, the project manager, the analyst, the administrator, etc. I also serve all these functions across a wide range of topics—they all go together, but in a larger organization there would perhaps be sub-managers for each, with their own analysts, admin, etc.—a team—working under them.
So at any point in time I have around 5 different projects/programs I’m working on and a bunch of different tasks under each. The tasks run the gamut from tedious research or data mining to quantitative analysis, to procuring outside consultants, to designing admin processes, to executing admin processes, to preparing presentations for board meetings, to writing up plans and budgets for next year, etc.
Most of these tasks require some level of time and focus, and most of the time, none of them are usually immediate priorities. Because I am both the boss and the underling of the department, I usually just have long term timelines, mostly of my design. All the programs/projects/tasks are usually of almost equal importance.
So when I come into work in the morning, I don’t know what to work on, and therefore waste most of the day doing nothing. When I do pick something and work on it, I feel like I chose wrong and I should switch to something else the next day. I have so many different things vying for my time, I feel like I can’t give anyone of them the undivided attention they each require. Sometimes I start working on something and hope to spend a chunk of time on it, but something else comes up that interrupts and by the time I get back to the original thing I was working on (days, weeks, even months later) I forget where I left off and pretty much have to start over.
To make matters worse, among all the functions I listed, there are some I am good at and find interesting and others I have no desire to do. I really don’t like the process design, admin, nitty gritty type of work—I prefer the more academic-type analysis type tasks. So when I feel like the priority is a process design task, I procrastinate on it and thus procrastinate on everything else in the process. Switching gears between all these different functions and topics and just really, really tough for me too. If I have to spend half a day doing program admin or data mining, it’s hard for me to pick up one of my “higher pay grade” thinking-type tasks for a few hours in the afternoon. I also sort of resent having to serve all these different functions, because no one person should ever be expected to have all these different positions at once.
So I just want to know if anyone can suggest anything for how to choose what to do every day and motivate myself to do it. I have a huge white board on my wall with all the different projects and what needs to be under each of them, but it’s hard to pick one and stick with it both mentally and logistically. Hiring people to work under me is not an option.
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