A Migraine, Some Scanning, and Small Successes

Friday 6 March 2020 23:59!

Quick post as it’s almost midnight and I’m pooped.

I overslept a bit, and was disappointed to realise I had to accept that the slightly ‘off’ feeling I woke with was rapidly developing into a full blown migraine by lunchtime. Thankfully I caught it in time with a tablet and by late afternoon I was functioning ok and able to do a bit of work.

It may seem surprising, but I’ve never bothered with scanning my artwork. Posting online I simply take a photo with my phone or iPad. I’m not that bothered about quality, as long as it’s fairly sharp, and I’m certainly not bothered about the colours being precise. If I’m going to be creating prints though in due course, that’s a whole different ball game. So today I did my first scans, testing to see if my existing printer’s scanning function was up to it. Thankfully it seems like it is.

Second task for the evening was to make sure my Affinity Photo app on the Mac was updated, and then do a very little bit of ‘tidying’ of last night’s soup can sketch in preparation for making a tutorial video of the very basics for my patrons.

I didn’t get as far as recording the video yet, but did take a little example ‘before and after’ to give an idea of a simple neatening process, cleaning up some white lettering, and some edges.

Finally I tested my cheap lapel mic on the Mac, and it seems to be working fine to record audio for Patreon. I really need to be able to do everything I want to do with my existing equipment and software, so lots of positives today.

Not at all the wasted day I feared it would be this morning, but a long day. Forgive me for not proofreading this!

Night night.

Building A Routine

Sunday 19 January 2020 13:20

- Preparation Post No.1

I can spend, well quite frankly most of my waking hours, panicking about forgetting things or about how and when I’m going to manage to get things done – and never actually DO anything! By setting up a couple of routines, the hope is that all the worry will be taken away, leaving me to focus on getting on with the work in hand.

For anyone who leads or has led a ‘normal’ working life, this might seem a no brainer, but for me, after five years of doing what I want when I want and being pretty much always available, I realise that I now have to set up strategies for myself to ensure I have a clear idea of what I need/want to be doing, and have a clearly defined time for doing it without interruptions or distractions. The danger for me is that I’ve got too used to just ‘rolling with the day’, and I know that, now there’s a huge amount of work to be done, with my distractible brain, that simply won’t work.

So I’m taking a two-pronged approach.

Firstly I know I have to define and set aside time for specific tasks – I don’t just mean the tasks involved in moving on with this journey, but more importantly the ordinary ‘day-to-day’ chores that need doing, when there’s no-one else to do them. The ADHD inability to focus to order doesn’t allow for a half hour here, or even half a day – that time can be spent pacing the floor or gazing fixedly into space as my mind does the pacing – so I’ve learned to accept that I need to specify whole days. Things WILL crop up of course, at any time, but I’ve realised there’s a huge benefit to being able to simply ‘park’ them and not get derailed from whatever I’m doing. I’ve chosen Friday as “Catch Up” day each week, at least for the next two or three months, and anything (other than dire emergencies) that crops up in between is simply parked on the next available catch up day, and put out of my mind until then. 

I’ve designated these first few months as “Retreat Months” too – using most of the time to work completely alone, as I would if I was literally away at a solitary retreat, but allowing the exception of Catch Up Fridays where I’m parking social catch ups too!

The only part of my life that, ironically, won’t be parked on just one day a week is my car. At this time of year it really needs to be driven a few times a week and for more than a couple of miles into town. So I’m designating two or three days a week as “Drive” days, with the intention of using them for trips to the coast and maybe (free!) places of interest, with the proviso that once there I sit for a while and get some work done. With my sketch kit and my iPad, a flask of tea and another of some hot food, I’m set up for a mobile work-away day anywhere!

The second part of this routine setting that is vitally important, is keeping track of the work itself – both what’s planned and what’s in progress.

My brain is currently firing out ideas and thoughts like a Gatling gun on speed, and in order to keep track of them I’m utilising a free Microsoft app that I have on my iPad called OneNote. I wouldn’t quite go so far as calling it a project management tool – no Gantt Charts or PERT Charts here! – but it allows the creation of sections and hierarchies of pages, and I’m using it to write down and track all the things I need to think about, and I’m also doing all my writing in there, both for the book and the blog.

So far (ok, it’s only been a week, but nevertheless…) these two strategies are working very well for me. I’d designated this past week or so to get the blog created, launched, and tweaked to my liking, and I’m on track with that, and I knew I had to make an exception yesterday to the 6 working days routine by getting my tax return done, and that too is completed.

ADHD, almost by definition, makes being organised extremely difficult. A degree of OCD counterbalances it, but that sometimes can feel more like they’re fighting each other. I don’t know if the two strategies I’ve set up will see me through the coming year, but it’s a very positive start.

I’ll take that win, and happily run with the advantage for now.