So, I realized that I am doing it again. I've been doing some testing with advanced compression. In doing so, I built some scripts to run my tests and produce the results of those test and so on... Those scripts lead to me writing other scripts to build a test harness of sorts for this specific test, and on and on... Then, I realized - I was doing it again - I was letting my ADD get the best of me. Instead of focusing on the end game, which consisted of collecting compression ratios given different criteria, I got way to focused on the building of the code and so on. I kept wanting to add this gismo and that ... and found that I was all of a sudden focusing on that rather than what I really set our to do. Then, I'll realize that I need to re-focus on the primary task at hand.
Yes - I suffer from ADD - I call it DBA ADD.
As I think about the DBA's I know and have dealt with in the past - I believe that I've run into a large number of them that I suspect suffer from ADD. I think that this has it's good aspects and it's bad aspects. The problem is that sometimes the actions that are expressed by virtue of our ADD are misinterpreted and misunderstood by those around us. If you work with someone with ADD, you might well think this person is moody, arrogant or scatterbrained and you would be right - but you would be right for the wrong reasons.
I am honestly diagnosed with ADD. It's been about 5 years now since I was diagnosed. As I look back, knowing what I know now, and I can see all the signs. I sometimes wonder if there are not a lot of DBA's who suffer from ADD. My poor family suffers through it... Understanding is the first key to overcoming some of the effects. In the interest of understanding I offer a great article here. If you have ADD - you will probably see yourself in this article - and it might well be eye opening - it was for me. If you love/live/manage or work with someone with ADD this article might help you to understand them a little better. It might help you help them cope with some of the real effects of ADD.
And these effects are real - they have positive and negative consequences of course, but trust me, nobody with ADD who feels incredible irritation when they are interrupted mid-task wants to feel that way. Nobody wants to feel the blast of lightning that hits us when we are working and someone wants to come make conversation - and the poor person that came to make that conversation - they don't want to run away crying at our reaction.
So, in an effort to help you recognize your ADD, or the ADD in someone you love, here are some of the highlights of 20 things to remember about people with ADD:
1. People with ADD have an active mind.
2. People with ADD listen but do not absorb what is said. My father used to think that this was just because I tuned him out - I really didn't. This one is so true for me, and it's so frustrating.
3. People with ADD have difficulty staying on task. The fact that I stopped to write this blog entry on ADD is evidence that this is true.
4. They become anxious easily. This was an eyeopener for me. I live with terrible anxiety at times and I never understood it. I used to just power through it and not understand why. There are some wonderful medications out there if you find yourself almost debilitated at times with Anxiety.
5. They can't concentrate when they are emotional. Wow - another head on winner there.
6. They concentrate too intensely. We tend to dive in, deep. Coming up for air is difficult.
7. They have a difficulty stopping a task if they are in the zone. I found this one to be so true. I never really understood my irritability when I was deep in the middle of something and I had to stop for even the most seemingly little thing. It seems that when we are doing our thing, we tend to forget that we need to do little things like eat or go check on the mail. When my phone rings, interrupting what I'm doing - it literally sends these shock waves of pain up and down my spine. As a result, when I am doing something that I feel is important and needs focus - I turn my phone off. It makes a world of difference to my mood.
8. They are unable to regulate their emotions. We tend to have problems processing feelings... %(*%$#@W*!!
9. They have verbal outbursts. Some ADD people have a very hard time controlling their mouth. Their mind is working so fast, that they tend to say things they later regret. We have a hard time editing what we are going to say before we say it.
10. They have social anxiety - Oh my, yes. You might say, but Robert - I've seen you present in rooms of hundreds of people (my largest, to date, was something over 1000 people). Surely you don't have social anxiety. Yes - I do. You will notice that I show up in the room I'm speaking in early. It's not so I have time to prepare - but more so I can adjust to the room - and being around that many people. It's much easier for me to speak in a room that I entered first, and then fills up with people - than to enter a room with 100 people sitting and waiting for the next speaker.
11. They are deeply intuitive - I have always said that my intuition was one of the reasons I am good at my job. When somethings not working right, I often have a pretty good feel for at least what the nature of the problem is.
12. They think out of the box - This is, I think, why ADD people make great employees and great DBA's. We can think out of the box when troubleshooting and when crafting designs. Being able to see things in an abstract way and find solutions is a powerful gift.
13. They are impatient and figity.. Isn't this list over with yet?!
14. They are physically sensitive - This one also answered a lot of questions I had.
15. They are disorganized - One look at my office will confirm this is true.
16. They need space to pace - I might change this to read they need space to think. We tend to be introverts very often - but that's because we need a seriously regulated environment so we can get some clarity in our thoughts.
17. They avoid tasks - Now, I tend to be the opposite on this one - I tend to take on way to much. However, the reasons they avoid tasks are not what you might think. It is not being lazy - but rather it's because we obsess and dwell on things and our minds just flow with the possibilities. As a result, we tend to self-censor what we accept - understanding (perhaps intuitively) our limits.
18. They can't remember simple tasks - Look at your floor right now. Is it littered with your dirty clothes? Does your wife/husband/SO constantly ask you why you can't do a simple thing like put the clothes in the laundry basket. Well, this is why and it's legitimate. It won't keep them from being frustrated at you, but it's NOT that we are ignoring them - and that's the key.
19. They have many tasks going on at the same time - right now I just stopped and in this hour I have about 5 different tasks that are going on or I'm about the embark on all at the same time. We love to multi-task but we are terrible at follow-through. Personally, I hate to multi-task because I know that I will be challenged with completion. And yet - if it's challenging I will pile it on.
20. They are passionate about everything they do - That is me to a tee... When I'm doing something that I really like and find exciting, challenging or something like that - I'm uber passionate about it. I think that is partly why I pick up new things quickly. However, if you catch me in the mode where I'm doing something passionately it's best to not bother me... :) That get's back to number 13 - being impatient. We want to get the thing we are focused on done - and it's almost painful to pull off of it when we are so focused.
Ok... so now, which of the five remaining tasks to go tackle...?