GHDR Reboot 014-018: Stalling and Recovering

Posted Friday, August 26, 2022 by Sri. Tagged GHDR

The past few days have been really unfocused and unproductive. I would describe the feeling as having lost the immediate sense of purpose, almost as if I have forgotten The Big Picture that was steering me so strongly a week ago. This is a common occurence for me, and so I am brainstorming NEW AND NOVEL THEORIES with regards to this matter.

What Is the Big Picture Anyway?

I googled "strategic goals" and clicked on the first credible link that popped up, and started a strategic goals page as an exercise. Briefly, the 4 elements of strategic planning as described by the article are:

  1. Purpose-Driven: what values am I striving for? - this are maybe like my strategic horizons.

  2. Long-Term and Forward-Focused: what are the long-term objectives? - these are like my strategic piles.

  3. Actionable: operational goals that can be acted on - I am having trouble converting piles into projects, and have instead been winging it as the impulse to do something pops up. This is the ADHD/Executive Function problem I've been facing for years...why can't I motivate myself to do something reliably?

  4. Measurable: how progress and success is measured operationally - I am using the gathering style productivity trope: success is anything that is (1) tangible such that other people can experience and share it with others and (2) actively shown to another person. The belief is that this creates the possibility of change and opportunity for collaboration, and by keeping mindful of this process one will continue to make greater things.

The Forever Problem: Taking Action

I'm starting to think that maybe it is the executive function issues due to ADHD. Since being officially diagnosed about a year ago, I've been trying to understand what bogs down my productivity.

  • I am pretty sure that is it not a lack of ability: I can strategize and plan, and I have the smarts to figure out things if I prioritize my learning needs over meeting other people's desire for things to be fast, easy, and cheap.

  • It could be an emotionally-driven value misalignment: I know I need to be around engaged stakeholders to be motivated at all, and they need to share my desire to pursue excellence and overcome challenges in real time face-to-face. I've seen what happens when this isn't present.

As summer 2022 winds down, I'm moving on from both these working hypotheses. I know I can research, concept, plan, and outline the tasks with ease---it's just hard to start. I know I'm emotionally-driven in my work, and now I know how to make the space for that by asking for it. What's new is the ASD and ADHD diagnoses.

As I mentioned, the past few days have been extremely low-productivity in terms of tangible goods produced. I simply haven't felt I had the energy to do so, and have been trying to get to a place of mental restedness and nutritional balance to try to restore it. However, I'm fed up with this course of action and am leaning toward this insight:

HYPOTHESIS: My inability to start working is related to energy level, but the low energy reserves themselves really are due to innate executive function issues. I have to hit this much harder than I previously have been.

A More Detailed Understanding of Executive Function

I came across this old video fast-paced presentation by Dr Russell Barkley stuffed with theory about executive function: This is how you treat ADHD based off science.

A lot of what he says seems to correlate with my experiences over the past 15 years, even covering many design principles I applied in my productivity tools. I liked the video a lot, though others may find it intimidating. As it is an older video, I'll need to see if there is more recent material on his model of executive function disorder. Incidentally, the video is an except from a longer set that's worth looking up!

Related: ADHD and Autism Comorbidity

I also found another video on ADHD and Autism in Children and Adults by Dr Thomas E. Brown.

It is a bit ponderous, but it's helping me see what symptoms I have are ADHD-related versus the ASD symptoms. His premise is that when an individual has both, one of them is often missed. This can lead to YEARS of inadequate treatment.


It's been a difficult week, but in hindsight there were some big wins.

I feel much more confident in understanding ADHD/ASD traits, and I can see which of my peculiar behaviors are outside "normal" range. Next data step (maybe not necessary, but I'm curious) is to get the neuropsychological exam done.

I can accept that I have ASD/ADHD traits and not feel diminished by them. Instead, I now feel more confident being able to work with them. I am feeling rather good about sorting myself into these two communities, and this gives me energy!

I did a lot of tweaking to the website, adding several improvements and style fixes. Although this prevented me from "just writing" the journal entries, I effectively used the writing impulse to drive the "make and fix things" impulse.

I added quite a few new tropes and supplementary entries to ghdr.

Though these are good wins, they don't seem like much in the face of all the things on my GHDR Goals List that are about creating tangible product that people can use. But I will worry about that next week.

NEXT STRATEGIC PILE: Break down the Russell Video and extract his Executive Function Model from it. It's possible that someone else has already done it, so I'll research that first. I'm expecting though to make my own reference because it'll stick better.