The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
The Zen of Search
the Image Freedom blog
This May I hired an assistant. Business had been improving and I knew that one of my biggest weaknesses was my Attention Deficit Disordered self. Being easily distractible is fantastic when you’re in the creative space, where I spend probably half my day, but when it comes time to returning e-mails, remembering appointments and getting things done, the mind of an ADD child suffers dramatically.
So I now have an assistant, and her name is Sarah, and she completes me in no understated way. Sarah is detail oriented, organized and difficult to distract. She is often my nemesis, and I’ll do my part to derail her plans to keep me on task. I once contemplated giving her Pink Eye so her absent self would be unable to remind me that I should be doing work. I mean, contemplated, really, I wouldn’t honestly infect one of my employees with a contagious disease. Honest!
So today Sarah and I were working on Excel and updating the budget for the company, and for myself. We discussed various aspects of the business, who we needed to contact, who to update, who to assign this or that to, etc. Sarah pointed at my Twitter client and said, “Why not just Direct Message her now?” We needed to write some checks, for both personal and business things, “Why not just write the checks now?”
So we did. Both. Right then.
We got to talking about a book I had been given called “The Power of Now” and it’s a book I always thought I should read but never did, so you’ll have to tell me if it correlates at all to what I’m talking about here, but essentially, those things “I should really do” are much more easily done if you just… you know, do them. RIGHT NOW.
I needed to e-mail a client. Do it now. I needed to update my spreadsheets. Just do it! I was behind on my blog. Now is as good a time as any right?
Now is truly a powerful thing, and when we sat down, and we identified tasks and as soon as we gave it a name, gave it a purpose, we just accomplished it. Didn’t create an action item, a calendar entry, or a separate spreadsheet, nope. We just opened whatever it was, completed the thing, and just like that it’s done!
What are you putting off? What are you planning to do that planning for, making a list for, or thinking about doing, is taking more time than it’d take to just freaking do it!? Join me in a culture of now! You’ll be glad you did!
In 2004 I worked as a clerk part time at EB Games in San Jose, California. My buddy Chris was the manager and we spent more time geeking out to the products than actually selling them. It was a fun job, a good team to be on. In November of 2004 World of Warcraft was released and our products shipped early and as we worked there we took home our copies a week early. We logged in a week early, we started the addiction a week early.
Everyone has their demons. I’m a geek. I’m a gamer. Sure, I’m this SEO guy you know now, but I used to be something else. I used to be a Warcraft Addict.
I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Not in that fun way you were diagnosed as a kid because you needed a good ass whoopin’ but in the real deal easily distracted, struggle to focus kind of way. Working alone as a freelancer, it was fine, I always did things at the last minute but for the most part I got the work done. Alone.
Making the leap from One Man Show to the Image Freedom you may now know, well, that required a team. How does the easily distracted guy lead a team? It has been an adventure, to say the least. I’ve never worked eight hour shifts, not since I was hired by Nintendo following my employment at EB Games. Even for Nintendo I’d work longer hours more broken up, extended lunches, extended breaks, working my own schedule but one that gave me the room to refocus and get the job done.
We certainly work an eight hour day in the office, and one of the topics circulating my mind lately has been medication for ADHD. There are certainly medications out there that people have had a lot of success with, but at what risk? When I started playing World of Warcraft, there were more days than I’d care to admit where I’d play from the moment I’d wake up to the moment I went to sleep, be that at 7 in the morning at times, logging off only after my little virtual friends all over the world finally went to sleep. I was an addict.
I’m deathly afraid of doing anything I could become addicted to, and just like Mr. Mackey said on South Park: “Drugs are bad, mkay.” Adderall, may be the most common ADHD medication, but is also an amphetamine drug. A quick browse of the Wiki article states that Adderall is a “Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substance Act due to having significant abuse and addiction potential.” That isn’t vert encouraging!
When I was a child I had a mentor named Adam. He was a programmer, a web guy, not unlike the man I’ve grown into. He struggled with ADHD and took medication to combat it. He was the example my family wanted me to follow, the excuse to heavily medicate me, because it was so clearly working for Adam. One day I got a phone call from Adam’s fiance, he’d killed himself. Asphyxiated by a plastic bag, found with a note in his home.
Yea that put the fear of God in me, let me tell you. Was this my future? Everyone loved preaching the similarities. No. I was going to make my own way, follow my instincts, even if that was against the advice of others. I was going to learn from Adam, but not repeat his mistakes.
Everyone has their demons. I don’t want to let addiction become mine, as I know it has been in the past, as I know it was for Adam. Experiencing some growing pains as the business expands, as I expand. I’m proud, and I’m excited by everything we’ve experienced, the good and the bad. Hell, especially the bad. It seems like the mistakes, the failures, are what improves the business the most. I am almost excited by failure, knowing that each misstep will be a catalyst for change. Still, I struggle every day with focus, with the frustration I see on my peers faces when I jump topics, when I get distracted.
The very thing that used to be the secret to my creative success as an individual, has become my bane as a team member, as a business leader, as a boss. Is medication the answer? I really hope it isn’t. I want to find another way.
Everyone has their demons. I’m afraid addiction is one of mine.