Delivered from Distraction

I recently read Delivered from Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell, MD and John J. Ratey, MD.  More accurately, I reviewed portions of the book seeking insights into right-brain thinking, since it is often so similar to the thinking of someone with ADD.

First, I often talk about the need for structures, especially the right kind of structures, in order to succeed in business.  But it hadn’t occurred to me to define what I meant by the term.  I love the authors’ take on “structure”:

By ‘structure,’ I mean any habit or external device that helps make up for what is missing internally, in your mind. For example, the ADD brain is low on filing cabinets.  So, you need to set up more filing cabinets outside the brain in order to replace piles with files.  An alarm clock is an example of a structure.  So is a key chain, as well as a basket to put the key chain in every day when you get home.  The habits of putting your key chain the basket and putting your documents into the files also exemplifies structure.”

But mostly I was struck by how universally useful the authors’ recommendations for making improvements seemed to be…

Like the six most important lifestyle changes:

  1. positive human contact
  2. reduce electronics (e.g., television, internet)
  3. sleep
  4. diet
  5. exercise
  6. prayer or meditation

Or the seven habits of highly effective ADD adults:

  1. do what you’re good at – don’t spend too much time trying to get good at what you are bad at
  2. delegate what you are bad at to others, as often as possible
  3. connect your energy to a creative outlet
  4. get well enough organized to achieve your goals
  5. ask for and heed advice from people you trust – ignore the rest
  6. make sure you keep up regular contact with a few close friends
  7. go with your positive side – even though you have a negative side, make decisions and run your life with your positive side

Or the five steps to create and maintain joy (it’s a cycle):

  1. connect – with others so you feel safe enough to…
  2. play – discover talents you want to engage in over and over again so you…
  3. practice – and develop habits of discipline, which lead to…
  4. mastery – which gives you confidence, self-esteem and motivation, and…
  5. recognition – by others who notice and value what you are doing, which leads to greater connection

Or perhaps my favorite recommendation: Engineer your environment to promote what is best in you.

There’s a lot here to benefit everyone.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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