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TOC #121: How I Manage Being A Squirrel
(Apr 18, 2023) How I Manage Running My Business And My Household With ADHD
You know when life is just life-ing a little too life-y?
And you feel like the only solution is to either a) create a machine that allows you to duplicate yourself, b) pause the world's rotation so you can get off for a sec to breathe, or c) cry and leave the house with pimple patches on, hoping no one interacts with you or wonders why there's a tiny little star on your face hiding the godforsaken stress-induced blemish?
I wanted to say that this has been of those weeks, but… this has been one of those years. Like, what the frick.
If you feel the same, today's newsletter is for you.
I'm taking a one-week pause from the marketing-focused content to share with you what I've been going through and how I've been dealing with it, because I feel like everyone can use the reminder that even though we're running businesses, we're still people—and sometimes people need a little grace.
So, next week, we're back to the regular deal: a good ass story and a helpful copywriting tip (and likely a whole lot of other nonsense, bc you know me).
But right now? This one's for my squirrels.
How I Manage Running My Business And My Household With ADHD
Notice how I said how *I* manage running a business and a household with ADHD, and not how *to* manage it?
That's because I'm not here to preach to you.
Everyone deals with things differently; everyone's brain works differently. I have no idea if what works for me will work for you.
And I definitely do not claim to be any sort of expert on this subject. I was just professionally diagnosed with ADHD a little less than 2 years ago, at age 26; I'm unqualified to give actual advice.
In fact, most days, especially the past few months, I've been finding it extremely difficult.
But when people are counting on you—family, friends, clients, coworkers, collaborators, students, mentees, employeers, whoever—you don't have the luxury of giving into what I fondly refer to as “squirrel tendencies.”
Lately, with my particular brand of raging ADHD, I've been fighting every. single. day. to not go Full Squirrel.
And even though it's a fight I'm still regularly engaging in (and sometimes losing?), it's still something I wanted to share, because I know that even if how I manage it isn't perfect, my tiny little tricks could potentially help you.
I wrote an entire blog post about my journey with managing ADHD as a business owner a few months back—I've linked that in the button below for you—but if long-form content isn't jiving with your squirrel this morning, here's what I've been doing lately to deal:
When I'm getting too anxious and jittery to sit and work on the task I'm supposed to be working on →
Choose another task that also has to be done, so you're still being productive but shifting the focus to something else to give your brain a break from the thing you got stuck on
If that doesn't work: ditch those tasks altogether for a short, timed break, away from screens (I like to clean a surface/room, go for a walk, call a friend, work out, make a snack, or make a list of priorities to curb that anxiety)
When I'm stressed as all hell trying to figure out what to prioritize, because my biggest ADHD struggle is that EVERYTHING feels like the same level of priority to me →
List. List. List. And then another list, to really make sure all the things are out of your brain and onto paper.
I go into more depths about the list types in the blog post!
When I'm having a difficult time managing deadlines and expectations if personal life gets in the way (snow days, sick days, you name it) →
Force yourself into accountability!
Tell your clients your due dates in writing, post your to-do list on your story, text a friend and tell them your 3 goals for the day & ask them to check in later that night, schedule a co-working call with another creative business owner… anything to force some responsibility onto that task
Remember that the sky will not fall if something has to be shifted
For the amount of snow days, sick days, and tantrums I deal with as a single toddler mom, I deserve a medal. And so does anyone who has ever been SO gracious and accommodating when I have to push something back.
People are usually much nicer and more understanding than you think; save yourself the stress of all nighters & ask for an extension for a day or two if you have to. It's gonna be fine.
When I've over-extended myself, because my big ass brain refuses to remember she's actually nawt Superwoman →
I'll let you know what the fuck I'm doing about this one because, as of now, it's still TBD. 😂
⭐️ Other random, rapid-fire ADHD tips →
Don't just put it down, put it away
Schedule breaks on your calendar so you remember to take them
Stick to a rigid routine to limit distraction AND limit decision-making (because decision-making and prioritizing are often where the biggest hang-ups in your productivity come from)
Plan ahead as much as humanly possible either at the beginning of the week or the night before
Keep your space as clean as you can OR leave your space and find another place you can work (library, office, coffee shop, coworking space, etc) so you don't get distracted by household tasks
Throw your phone in a ditch during the work day (aka leave it in your car or somewhere far away lol)
NOT EVERYTHING IS THE SAME LEVEL OF PRIORITY. Getting that through your squirrel skull is SO HARD but remind yourself on the daily. 😂
& for the rest of what this squirrel's got for ya, click the button below to read the full blog! 👇
(I love how I said I was gonna make that part short, then proceeded to make it long as hell. It's simply not within my capabilities to *not* make a long story long.)
I love you, you little squirrel.
If you're also a lovely little neurodivergent business owner like me, or a single mom like me, or a 28-year-old gal just trying to thrive on this floating rock like me, I hope you know that no one has their shit together as much as you think they do, or as much as their social media portrays they do.
People make comments to me all the damn time about how ~together~ I am, and how they have no idea how I can accomplish all the things that I do, and it makes me feel so awkward every time, because I just want to respond with:
“But my laundry room has had a stack of towels in front of the washer for a month!”
“But I haven't unpacked form Arizona and that trip was in March!”
“But I gave my son a handful of carrots for breakfast!”
“But I still haven't taken the tags off of my bathroom mirror I bought in November 2021!”
The reason y'all think I have my life together is because my inner squirrel is able to hyperfixate on work. You only see what BTL is up to. And BTL's doing pretty good!
But ME?! The skid behind the screen typing this newsletter, with her hair in a rat's nest bun and her dishes in the sink?
She forgot how to exist as a human like a year ago, doesn't remember the last time she showered (yesterday? the day before? hopefully?), and has about 147 frogs to swallow the second she schedules this email.
She's running a business by herself, raising a toddler by herself, and that's about all she can handle. The other stuff? Squirrel said naur.
And, to be completely honest, I debated about whether or not I wanted to share ANY of this with you today.
I don't have to bring up how difficult it is to deal with ADHD.
I don't have to bring up being a single mom.
I don't have to bring up the fact that it's harder for me to accomplish basic things than it is for other people.
By doing all of that, I could potentially risk giving you the impression that I'm not a capable business owner, mom, or person. You could be completely turned off by this information.
But, you know what? Whoever reads all of this and feels that way isn't someone I'd want to work with anyway.
I want to work with people who understand what it's like to be a human, wants to support other humans, and has compassion for people like me—because that's the way I show up in the world, and I get along best with people who care about PEOPLE. ❤️
I love you! I hope you have the best week! Take it one day at a time; the only way out is through!
Chat so soon,
P.S. Dad, if you're reading this, I'm fine. I'm just stressed. It's okay that I just told thousands of people I haven't showered. I won't lose all my clients. Okay? Chill. At least 12 of them feel the same as me, I'd bet your favorite farm vlogger's tractor on it.
If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hi! I’m Sara Noel—website copywriter and marketing mentor for creatives, copywriters, and all-around cool people. If you like my content and you want even more BTL in your life, here are a few ways you can connect with me:
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