My psychologist the other day made me put a 1 hour time limit on my gardening, crocheting will watching TV, blog writing and beauty school homework. Basically just before I start a task I have to set an alarm for 1 hour and when the alarm goes off I have to stop what I’m going, drink some water, pee and do some stretchers for a minimum of 45 minutes before I can either go back to the task or start a new task, resetting the alarm before I do so.
I had the polite version of a socially acceptable adult temper tantrum about this and sulkily asked WHY with a fare amount of attitude. Her response was “because you have obsessively single minded focus and you lack the capacity to read your bodies signs of distress, which tell you when to stop”.
Ok she has a point and I have done a fare amount of damage to my body and probably my mind over the years but I can’t help it. I know it’s not my ADHD because that is the opposite and if not obsessively focused on a task I have the attention span of a toddler – be warned never give me a TV remote I can flick through 140 channels in 2 minutes and still be board.
Then I stumbled across a blog post by Anonymously Autistic on their total hate of being interrupted and I had one of the wonderful AH AH moments. Reading other blog post about adults who are on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) I’ve realised that having obsessive single minded focus and disliking being interrupted is a common element of how we function.
As a child if my family interrupted me I’d do the full not coping screaming yelling melt down (sorry mum/dad/sisters). At school I was either board out of my brain & disruptive (ADHD) or absolutely single mindedly focused on whatever I was doing and just didn’t respond if spoken to. I actually almost feel sorry for my teachers because I must have driven them crazy especially in grades 1 to 6 for some dumb ass reason we had teacher A in the morning till lunch then teacher B in the afternoon so one teacher got the ADHD version of me and one got the silent none communicator Autistic version of me.
My working life isn’t much better because I have learnt to appear as if I multi-task well, I can if I have to communicate verbally and in writing extremely well, I get work done quickly and efficiently and over all appear to be a well adjusted “perfectly normal” functioning adult. However I find being interrupted incredibly irritating and it tends to go something like this.
I’ll be totally focussed on whatever I’m working on and despite the fact I’m aware someone is staring behind or next to my desk I just keep working hoping they just dump something on my desk and go away. Never happens they always want to talk.
Boss type person – “are you busy I wanted to talk about the report you left on my desk”
Me – “ah little just give me a sec to note this down” mentally I’m rolling my eyes and thinking what’s there to talk about it was a 15 page in detail analysis of why your data is corrupting at various points in time.
I look up and because like a well trained show dog I’ve been trained not to show things like stress, rage or irritation I smile and say “sorry that took a while to finish what can I help you with”.
Boss type person – “are you 100% sure the update the IT Devision does on a Tuesday at 4pm is creating the problem, it’s just you didn’t include the name of the person you claim to have spoken to in the IT Devision. I mean if the issue was that simple I’m sure someone would have noticed it before now.”
Ok part of me get’s her stress she’s about to go into a meeting and accuse another Head of Devision of his department not doing their job correctly. Plus she’s ticked she’s paying whichever contracting firm I work for $100 per hour when one of her minions being paid $20 per hour technically could have figured it with a bit of effort.
However all I want to do is roll my eyes and scream at her – “I’ve worked here for 8 weeks and can barely remember your name and no your staff probably wouldn’t have found it they didn’t know what to look for it’s why I’m an expert at what I do”.
Instead I smile and say something like “I forgot to ask his name but when you walk in the IT Devision door his desk is 3rd on the right, he eats a 500g bag of M&Ms daily and drinks several litters of diet soda and on Tuesdays always wares an orange sweater that looks like he skinned a muppet.” She smiles at the description because she instantly know’s who he is and writes something down on her sticky note pad, says some vague form of thank you and wonders off.
What I didn’t tell her was that I’d also told IT Devision guy that I’d figured out that the server patch update they run every 4 months on the 7th of the month resets the dates to US format and when they do the update next week it’ll trigger the auto-letter system to send out the letter we already sent on 10/7/2016. Or that when they do the Tuesday patch they take one of the security servers off line by accident and leave holes big enough to herd a flock of sheep through in the firewall. Hopefully IT Devision guy in the hideous orange dead muppet jumper just quietly fixes it because otherwise I’m going to wind up explaining why I’m fixing the IT Devisions issues while being paid by the Customer Relations Division to fix there issues and I hate those types of conversations.
Now that I’v been interrupted I have to do some obsessive type things like read the note I wrote myself at least 3 times just to make sure I understand it. Go back to the data I was looking at about 1 hour ago just to make sure I didn’t get it wrong and then move onto the data I was analysing before I got interrupted and hope no one else bugs me for a while.
I swear when I go back to work next year I’m going to either hang signs up or ware t-shiest that say things like
- Does Not Play Well With Others
- Yes I’m busy and No I can’t help you
- I’m Autistic
- Unless your question is related to saving the wold in the next 15 minutes do NOT interrupt me
- Death By Paper Cut Will Be Inflicted If You Interrupt Me
- Normal Is A Setting On A Dryer
- GO AWAY – yes you the one who is about to interrupt me