Struggling To Find Structure

I am struggling to find some structure. Transitioning to a job with no real schedule from one that was entirely reliant on a schedule has been well, just that, a transition. Freelancing has an ebb and flow to it where some days I have barely anything that needs to be done and other days I don’t know how I’m going to finish everything I need to.

Then there’s the neurodivergent aspect. When you have autism, you tend to need structure and routine to be able to function. But if you have ADHD, routine bores you and you need to mix things up regularly. When you have both of these spicy-brain features, you’re left feeling like you can never really get a grasp on things.

This chart by Our Autism Diary sums it up nicely

I keep wondering if the imposter syndrome ever goes away. The days I have a lot of work, I feel like I get stuck in research mode too long, afraid that if I don’t have a thorough understanding of the topic I’m supposed to write about, I’ll be exposed for just pretending to be a freelance writer.

The days I have less work, I have the best of intentions of working on this blog, taking a proofreading course, and working up more writing samples among five million other ideas. But I’ve also been trying to work on this absurd concept of giving myself grace.

Being Patient With Myself

I’m coming out of some serious burnout, something that can take years to fully recover from. Every time I start being hard on myself that I should be sitting down and focusing more, I try to remind myself that it’s okay.

Okay to take advantage of the slow days which may not be around for much longer. Okay to listen to my body and what it needs that day. Okay to take my time building things up if it means I do it more thoroughly and won’t lead to more burnout.

What has been nice is that after so many years of having to force myself into structure regardless of if I’m in pain that day or having a bad sensory day, it’s been great to just be able to ride out my ADHD. I’m not losing sleep over whether I can fall asleep by the time I need to because my morning wake up time is flexible to what my body actually wants.

I may wake up one day intending to work on one thing but then a special interest or hyper focus in another direction takes over and rather than fighting with myself and being mad at my lack of self control, I can just enjoy what comes my way.

Changing How I Think

I’ve been trying to make myself view it less as a struggle with structure and more of an opportunity for the flexibility I know I need but perfectionism dies hard.

It’s definitely difficult though. I’m having to find new ways to keep track of things and stay on top of my to-do lists. I’m forgetting to eat entirely too often. I’m a bit stiff from sitting in my chair all day and generally moving much less than I did while chasing babies everyday. And if I’m being honest, I’m really bad at not being mad at myself.

Who can focus with this cute distraction around?

But despite all the internal battles, I am happy with this change. The freedom and flexibility it’s given me are worth it even if I spend a significant amount of the day trying to puzzle out what the mysterious steps to becoming a freelancer consist of.

That’s part of why I’m starting this blog. Maybe some of the steps I figure out or tools I use can help someone else who is struggling to find structure. I’m here to provide resources I’ve found helpful and maybe even some occasional comedic relief.

If you have any suggestions for strategies to stay focused, please share your wisdom in the comments!

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