Friday, April 03, 2009

Confessions from an ADHD business owner

Ya never realize how much ADHD affects your life until you try to work for yourself.

I'm self-employed as a freelance writer/author and AVON independent sales rep. Both careers are in the growing toward a profit stage - emphasis on the growing part - requiring hours of attention.


Two weeks ago I was taking orders from staff at an assisted living community for AVON products. Everyone was eager to get their stuff. Much to my horror, when I got home I realized I jumped the gun on my campaign and was handing out brochures two weeks ahead of time! I was out of my newer supply of brochures before the older one. I had to explain that I oopsed and some items wouldn't be available for another two weeks.

Then there's the finding stuff. I touch something (a book, research notes, AVON business materials) and it disappears for several hours to several days. Each day I spend an average of two hours looking for something business related, forget the time spent looking for my car keys.

Invoices. They're supposed to make life easier on a sales rep. They list what each customer bought, calculate sales tax and total amount due. Great if after you print them out you can find them! Knowing things tend to walk away (Booger powered), I put things in a safe place.

My safe places must be super-safe b/c even I can't remember them! Something else grabs my attention, I forget my search for said invoices by a cat barfing, tweets from uber important people or the sudden realization I didn't publish an article to examiner, until a customer asks how much they owe for their stuff.

I should be able to hand a crisp invoice to them. Instead I bumble, stumble and tear my office apart for the tenth time that day looking. Knowing I had them.

I've got customers in all my different contexts of life. So, when I leave the house I not only need my purse and Booger stuff, I need AVON brochures, fund-raising materials that were requested, my judging stuff (if I'm going to judge a colorguard show) and writing stuff.

To date I have yet to arrive at any location with everything I was supposed to have. Oddly what I most forget is my wallet or Booger's diaper bag. Or appointments.


When it was just me, I didn't have too much of a problem being where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there. My Palm Pilot served me well.

Now, I get phone calls from doctor offices asking if I remembered I was supposed to be there thirty minutes ago. Crazy thing is, I had it all written down not only on ONE calendar, but also on my Palm. I looked at the darn thing in the morning, then over the course of all the Stuff to Do, my brain transposed the times. Here I thought I was making good time. In the three years I've been a mom, I've NEVER been able to get the time right on dr appts.

I go from feeling proud of myself for being "ahead and prepared" to panicked and hurried, forgetting something crucial.

Yesterday I was organizing new brochures. I gotta stamp my contact info and the expiration dates on the back of each. Of 100. With five left, I realized for the past MONTH of brochures, I'd been putting the wrong dates on the back! I mis-calculated another two-week cycle! I cut myself short two weeks for the current campaign and have handed a bunch of material out. Great.

Catagorization? What's that? I can't do it. When someone does it for me, I get confused. When my stuff is thrown into a box, I get confused.

Making a list of "priorities"?

Yeah. Don't make me laugh. I can't decide what to do and start staring at the list getting NOTHING done.

With all the writing and AVON stuff I have a lot of password protected thingies on the 'net. Do you think I can remember my passwords? Do you think I can remember the answers to the hint questions I thought at the time were Darcie proof? Hah! I waste hours each week retrieving passwords.

I DO write them down. Don't ask me where I put them! My safe place must've moved again.

Money = numbers. Do you know how embarassing it is to go into a bank and not only confuse yourself as to which money goes where, but you confuse the teller so bad she gets it all messed up too!

Deposit 40% in time-savings for taxes, 20% in business acct for expenses, 20% to personal to pay myself and while you're at it, I need this check cashed.

I only do drive throughs and dump it all into one account and do transfers when I get home via net. Forget the whole split deposit thing! I wish my windows were tinted b/c even when I roll up to the window, I see the eyes of the teller widen in horror.

Sorry Danica (our writerly tax expert), my recipts all go in a ziplock. Hey, at least they are all in one place! It's either that or they are lost in the vacuuous void of my desk for eternity. Danica told us at Words for the Journey that we need to be uber organized in case the IRS audits us.

If an IRS agent came into my working space and tried to look at my stuff, he'd burst out laughing. Laugh until he hyperventilated, became hypoxic and the ambulance needed to come to put on a oxygen mask. Then I'd be arrested for second deree attempt at homicide.

Yes I have a psychiatrist. I've tried Ritalin, Aderoll. I've even had cognitive therapy in the past (after a traumatic brain injury). So far I've baffled every professional whose tried to help me wrangle in the ADHD.

I baffle myself.

Now, what was I supposed to get done this morning before the Psalm 42 concert tonight?


Jan Parrish said...

Yes, life is a little crazy isn't it. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who does all that. :)

D. Gudger said...

thanks Jan, that means I'm not alone!