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Forests and Trees and Work, Oh My


 I don’t know if you are a forest or trees person, but I tend to think everyone falls into one of these two categories. You probably know the saying — can’t see the forest for the trees. I think the point is that we can get so bogged down on individual details that we lose sight of the big picture. This problem is real, it’s just not mine. I easily get so caught up with the forest that I can’t see the trees. When I have a lot going on at the same time, or when a project becomes quite large, I don’t lose the overall vision, but I tend to get overwhelmed with all of the details. My natural default is to completely ignore everything when I get to this point. I find a million ways to distract myself from what feels like an insurmountable amount of individual tasks. It’s not a good problem to have, especially when you are an uber social ADHD child like myself. However, since I am self-aware of this issue, I have learned how to guard against distraction mode. I have to be very intentional at breakout a project into individual pieces. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the tools I use to help me stay focused.

Todoist. This is basically a fancy to-do list. I use it in a very simple way. I have one folder called “Jason” (clever I know). I add items requiring some kind of action. Since it is an app, I can add anything at any time on my phone. Todoist also allows you to group lists under project headings and assign a date and time for completion. This app comes in handy for remembering everything from buying my children birthday gifts to writing curriculum for manager training. There is something quite satisfying in being able to mark items complete.

Reminders. I use reminders on my iPhone for important tasks I don’t normally think about in my normal day to day routine.

Calendar. I am shared on way too many calendars, so normally I hide all but one. I use the calendar mainly for appointments. I also use it for weekly routine tasks I need to complete. For instance, I have a reoccurring time for writing this blog. Although I am not always disciplined to follow the set regimen, it helps to remind me to complete those tasks.

Google Drive. Currently, my Google Drive looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic war zone. Scratch that. It doesn’t look as bad as it did. I have a wonderful assistant who has graciously started the arduous process of cleaning it up. This is a good example of the forest and trees problem. At some point, I got overwhelmed with the number of shared docs that I literally just stopped trying to keep them organized. Eventually, my goal will be to have every file sorted into folders. I use Google Drive mainly for collaborative projects.

Moleskine. I always have a Moleskine on me. If you think that sounds a bit pretentious, get over it 🙂 . The reason I don’t use just any notebook is the superior quality and durability of Moleskines. I use it mainly for ideas and for thinking.


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