Keeping Myself Organized Using Trello

My system for helping keep my brain focused during the workday is a system of lists in a note-taking program like Evernote or Simplenote. Every time I encounter an e-mail, talk to a coworker about something, or get assigned a pull request to review I turn that into a checkbox item. If I don’t get to an item in a day, those empty checkbox items get moved to the next day (or week). The system isn’t without faults but it seems to work. The only issue with the checkboxes is they don’t portray status of longer-running tasks.

This next week I’m going to try something different with how I keep myself organized. For simple TODOs, I’ll still use checkbox items. For longer running tasks with different states to jump through I’m going to try using a personal Trello board. We use Trello at Automattic for some projects as well as at RayWenderlich.com for project tracking. I’ve done simple Kanban boards before but I think Trello might be what I’m missing. Their mobile app is pretty good as well which helps with things I think of while on the go.

I’ll report back after I get some time in with it!

My Attention So Far

In the recent past I blogged about my trials and tribulations with my experiences with ADHD working at Automattic.  I figured it was time to give a follow up on how things are going!

Back in October last year I started on a medication called Vyvanse to help me cope with the problems that ADHD had been presenting.  My ultimate goal with the medication trial was to keep it just that – a trial.  I’ve lived with the spastic brain patterns all my life and I just wanted a few months of clarity so I knew what to work towards.  Late February, I decided to take myself off the medication.

The first thing I realized when I was on Vyvanse is that my eating patterns got all screwed up.  I started losing weight which I felt was a great side-effect since I was almost at my heaviest ever prior to starting the medication.  It gave me the jump start I needed to drop the weight.  I also stopped a different medication before starting Vyvanse that may have caused an interaction – one that helped alleviate Cluster Headaches (a whole other set of posts for this).  Turns out that medication in itself caused the weight to pile on and made it very difficult to lose it.

Immediately after stopping the medication for ADHD I discovered I was somewhat back where I was last summer.  Scatter-brained, overwhelmed with the communication from coworkers, and unable to focus on long-term goals.  I had to force myself to use the tools my counselor encouraged me to develop while I was on the medication:

  • Centering yourself
  • Exercise to reset your day (yoga, aerobics, a quick walk)
  • Elimination of distractions
  • Listening to your own mind

and one of the ones I recently rediscovered myself:

 

Exercise has been a big part of my success, I believe.  Three to four days a week I will do some aerobic exercise which usually ends up being step aerobics.  It’s simple enough to do at home and it is a great workout.  I set up a workout area in my basement so that I can leave the equipment up and it gives me the locale change I need.  I also track calories with MyFitnessPal, movement with the Nike+ FuelBand SE and RunKeeper for the social aspect.  I have a Withings Scale to help with tracking weight and it syncs across all of the apps to help with calorie burn calculations.  Good stuff.  I’m down 30lb from my heaviest last summer!

So how’s it going?  Well, actually.  After a month of the difficulty of readjusting myself to being off the medication I re-discovered one of the things about my personality I missed – my random thoughts and internal tangents.  I think that’s one of the reasons I didn’t feel just right – I missed seeing the weird things, the small things, the things people easily pass by.  I’m embracing my ADHD and I’m learning how to control it so I can use it as an advantage.

Manual note-taking epiphany

I’ve never been able to put in words the reason why I am attached to using written notes over my iPad until today.

I was sitting in a talk today by Rob Martin when I had an epiphany. When I’m holding my opened notebook, the crisp clean chunky feel of unused pages on the right feels like raw potential. The pages on the left, roughened from notes written on them, feels like accomplishment.

And now I realize why I am inspired to write and record more on my paper Moleskine notebook than in Evernote on my iPad.