Balanced Attack - Developing more than just another Strategy
When ADDers attack a task or step into action they, like others, often use a tried and true method. Nothing wrong with that but often the tried and true is based in an urgent-only paradigm. A master of putting out fires and responding to crisis, you are a true value to your team as the 11th hour strikes. However when things are more quiet it can be tremendously challenging for the Global Creative to activate on a task. This is not a character trait. It is ADHD through and through.
Urgency creates attention and motivation to activate for task. For the Global Creative, operating without urgency can be like operating in a shaken snow globe - it’s difficult to prioritize and activate for task when everything is swirling around you.
Coupled with that is the Global Creative’s ability to rationalize delaying action - “That can wait till tomorrow!” is the common refrain.
That's where the REBEL model steps in.
Balanced Attack is all about adding proactive/strategic work to the last minute, fire fighter mode of work. Like an under-utilized muscle, it will respond slowly at first. But also like a muscle, exercise it and it will grow into an undeniable strength.
I can hear your response now - “Boring, Cam!
Not necessarily. Adding just a little strategic time to your week can greatly diminish the ‘swirling snow globe’ effect. When we keep our attention trained on areas of interest or passion, it can help limit the boredom factor.
Finally, our most important work can not occur in an urgent frame of mind. Cultivating relationships, honing skills into strengths, truly fulfilling and creative activities, all of these happen in Covey’s 2nd quadrant - important and not urgent items. When you practice Balanced Attack you are developing more than a new strategy. You are laying the ground work for life long relevant work.
To be successful at Balanced Attack try a couple of these tips:
Shift your thinking on time. Time is a resource to be seen as an ally. As long as you view time as something to catch, outrun, outmaneuver you will never get out of urgent mode.
Commit to regular practice of something hard, something different, something meaningful at least three times a week. If you need to write then write first thing in the morning. Author Elizabeth Gilbert talks of the Creative Muse - and that the muse only makes an appearance when Elizabeth is actively writing, and actively embracing the practice of writing.
Suspend evaluation while you practice your proactive muscle. Evaluate only after 3-6 sessions.
Keep it simple. One client is having success naming and completing two urgent and two important items a day. Other stuff gets done, but he also gets a little time every day on the stuff that will not respond to urgency.
Bring an element of play or joy. Take advantage of the fact that your back is not against a wall. Write in a coffee shop, collaborate with a friend. It is proven that people take more risks when they think they are playing a game.
Use D-PARC (Distinguish, Prioritize, Activate, Reactivate, Completion) to help identify an action to move on.