Shocking Realization, New Perspective
Something changed when I was digging deeper. A realization that shocked me came to mind and it could not have happened had my health condition diagnoses not been revived.
In digging deeper and realizing that ADHD is the dominant here, anxiety is more of a general thing that is mostly triggered when ADHD is not well taken care of.
When I started adjusting my perspective as to what has been happening in the past few months and hellish medication trials, I learned so much more about it.
ADHD is dominant, anxiety is always present but heavily visible when ADHD isn't managed, then episodic depression is present when all else is chaotic.
My whole life, I took a lot of caffeine to slow down my brain, I always knew I had ADHD, but I suppose I didn’t look into it that deeply until now.
This is like programming a computer to work properly with the wrong methods if the right ones for our brain's makeup aren't implemented. What relaxes you and puts you in the “zone” may not seem right to others (shed the notion that it even matters, fitness relaxes ADHD, coffee relaxes ADHd). Not your problem. Life is too short, I live to express, not to prove. I have run into countless invertebrates who felt insecure because sports came to me with ease (not to mention, what exhausts others, i.e. intense exercise, helps me relax)... but I will continue to put my health needs as a central component to my life and judgers are free to find a hobby (no more mental real estate left for that type of person). Go be offended at your own life, not mine? What the actual? Why does it matter that I don't Netflix and chill? Why does it matter to anyone else? My wellness is not the same, because my brain is not the same! l know when to take breaks and relax my muscles...
My issue is that when my schedule is overloaded for whatever reason, and I don't get to go to the gym, then there's a problem. A big one.
Similarly to how caffeine calms most people with ADHD, it is not a half-working brain where one side is working and the other side is dead, it is a brain that has its own rules for activation (neurotransmitters are dealt with differently).
We cannot "self-care" like everyone else and we cannot live optimally if we follow what isn't customized. My love for fitness comes from how it helps me get rid of excess energy as well.
I added more cardio to my workouts and realized that this is far more effective for me personally (it helps process my thoughts even more than weights did). I still love heavy lifting, but cardio works even if I'm already burnt out.
Heavyweights at the level that I perform them require a lot more mental coordination than I can be expected to have while burnt out, and dangerous injuries can happen if you are not focused while lifting weights right?
I learned not only to adapt my workouts but to adopt my coping mechanisms based on what is currently happening, just because I can't lift super heavy today, doesn't mean I have to stop working out, it just means I have to change it up. I still have bodybuilding goals for my workouts, but now I started working out for the fun of it again, and it feels so much better. I work out more now than I ever have, and it's more about the process and the joy, rather than the outcome. I do have plans that I follow as I need structure, but the plans I follow change based on how I feel at the time. A flexible structure so that I don't get super annoyed if I need recovery one day more than another is key, but a structure is still needed. Active recovery can be a treadmill walk rather than a super heavyweight day, for instance. I can only meditate for a few days at a time, given my nature, I need to move around even when recovering, that is how neuroplasticity happens.
I also learned that I have different levels of tiredness, there are levels of tiredness that require a full stop, some levels of tiredness require a walk, other levels of tiredness require friend time, and others require snacks and reading.
How do I manage my schedule to ensure that I am giving myself the space I need for recharging? I realized that if I don't, I am not going to last. I am not ready to lose my health over a few more minutes of perceived productivity or projects that do not fit my life (if they did, it would not cost me sleep so it was not meant to be, so whatever to that). I organize things by a theme to manage my hyperactive brain... If I do not give a theme to my schedule space, I will end up distracted and feel like I am wasting time, if I name a day 'no plans' rather than just leaving it blank, I then do whatever I feel inspired to do that day so the excess planning is not as rigid as it looks, it is more thematic. I schedule my "off" time and give it a label, so my relaxation time is an appointment, I can't live without proper plans in place.
I no longer take on additional projects or possibilities at the expense of rare mental recharge time, too bad, it was not meant to be if it costs me my peace and the ROI of a distraction is never as good as it seems on the surface. We do not need to do everything in the first place. That mindset has to go. I only deal with people who understand this concept and understand that timing matters now anyway.
I have taken a lot of time to manage my workflows for the online store and online workout plans as well for optimal capacity and client focus. I structure "on" hours and "off" hours for my business, things having their own scheduled time allocation from the totality of our lives does not make work or business inconvenient or unimportant (because they should not occur at all times of the day in the first place). A clear lane simply means that mental health matters more than/precedes impact and competence - all the more reason to be organized and proactive in structuring things properly from the start.
It's very very dangerous to allocate meaning about the number of hours to work ethic or ambition, it's the quality/innovation/ingenuity in the hours that matters. If something is always in emergency mode with no buffers for overflow, that's a workflow/planning problem. The number of hours spent has nothing to do with the potential and the efficiency of something. The idea that you have to spend more hours on something or focus all of your hours exclusively on it in order for it to reach its potential is false (automations 101). This is especially true for an online business model.
In terms of overwork... Now, when I cannot figure out a solution, I take a step back and a break, I do not go all-in on working longer hours thinking that this is the solution.
I only ever want to flex my overtime muscles when it is warranted and seasonal so that is how I am managing this business. This is similar to separating my work vs. personal phone, I take my right to disconnect seriously, even for my own business.
I am not even interested in risking having my energy and attention put back on my own business on my time off to preserve my brilliance and mental presence for clients during my time on.
Passion doesn't prevent burnout, it can undoubtedly increase the chances. We cannot be creative if our business invades our lives, no matter how passionate we are. If my attention is put back on work when I'm off, I may fall down the rabbit hole of just working the whole evening away because I have low self control on my workaholic-ism, so I have to put boundaries for myself.
What helps me collaborate with my clients better is having a clear delineation between my time and my business time (mental presence 101). I do not think being at dinner with friends should ever mix with checking my phone at the same time, for instance. In separating the two, I have full mental presence for my clients when I'm on.
This is not necessarily balance in the traditional sense, it is more like 'full mental presence' wherever I am. When I am in whatever area of my life, I am all there. Basically what I’m saying is that time “on” is allocated to work and business, and time “off” is allocated to personal time, so on personal time, personal time is going to take precedence. Rare are situations where these lines will cross into one another without ample notice.
Coming from me, this is shocking but: the stamina in the hours not the “amount” of hours that matters. I used to hate putting limits on what my business can/cannot take on, but it’s freeing to have a list of yes/no made ahead. It’s about the direction over speed. I am sure most businesses that withstand pandemics, like Amazon, will tell you that focus may be scary as it seems we are eliminating other opportunities or leaving money on the table, but focus wins in the end. Focus is sharp, focus is powerful.
Adding spokes to one wheel will likely impact people at a higher quality and make more money in the end because it is just adding streams to the same table, rather than giving into shiny object syndrome. We don’t need to even desire to take on any/every project when our purpose is clear. Why would every opportunity fit anyway? If every opportunity fits, it shows a lack of standard operating procedures/lack of clear vision on parameters of impact. It would also show a scattered vision, which does not qualify as an actual vision, that's just idea vomit with no purpose or healthy sense of urgency as nothing would ever get completed that way.
I am flexible about priorities within the hours (flexible about the content that fills the hours), but on time "on" - work/business is the priority, on time "off" - personal life is the priority, this seeming rigid mindset prevents burnout and forces workflows to be set up better. But it's not even rigid truly, it's basic protection of wellness time, which is already scarce.
One thing I have little tolerance for is poor planning that could have been prevented (traffic control for the workflow that is my life). I have said no to amazing features and opportunities just based on the fact that they were last minute because the right ones for me will not disrupt my sleep schedule. I'm flexible about what comes up within my working business hours, but I do have standards around my sleep, and if I'm going to be rigid about anything, it's going to be the baseline (checks and balances) conditions that maintain my health because of my existing health conditions (and because I am a human, not a robot or a walking knowledge bank).
If I already know how each task works and how long it takes, then I know what to say yes or no to. I know that my marketing plan is already done for the year, I already have copy written out for my ads, and I already have templates for the plans that I use for maintenance clients (the rest of the plans are stand-alone). It's not mean, it's unwise and self-neglecting to add more to my plate at the risk of neglecting clients. I went all in and measured the time allocation of each aspect of the running of this business and it feels amazing to have that data.
My first task every day for my business is to take care of myself. That's part of the job description. I also try to align myself with partnerships that understand this mindset and aren't needy to the point of me not having time for the basics of health, genuine people comprehend that everyone does "wellness" differently. The more upfront I am about this focus on health, the sooner I can weed out those who aren't.
The right people will respect the limits of your availability for whatever area of your life. The rest are non-factors. When the Universe is with you, when you have friends who are more fierce than the most savage wolves you can find, a brilliant health team... Nothing can stop you... it’s not about who doesn’t support me, it’s about who does.
A few people who understand you fiercely are worth more than fakes who pretend well (when it's convenient, of course).
Possessive over my time, absolutely. Choosy about how I spend it and not prioritizing nonsense that has no logical reason for even being on my plate? Of course! Proud of it.
Overly efficient about optimizing my minutes, always? Why wouldn't I want to maximize my time for better impact?
Sense of urgency to complete things to be able to get a few seasons ahead and finish my work on time? Yes.
Yes. Inability to sit still? Sitting still is death for ADHD, not for more than a few hours at a time, movement relaxes us, it is what it is.
Being on team Karisa means fully accepting myself. No matter what. Confidence is: I know my worth. Arrogance: I am better than them. Knowing your worth means you like you so if they don’t, that’s fine, it has nothing to do with worthiness in proportion/comparison to others.
Be on your team so it doesn’t really matter who is or isn’t. 🔥
My new formula: cardio/weights + meds + nutrition + therapy + coaching + schedule space for journaling + the right few quality people (all I need and all I have time for anyway) = unstoppable.