organization and attention

I’ve managed to turn playing with Lego(s) into a kind of work. Lego is particularly subject to taxonomy, with some basic categories and a lot of variants:

(Image is from the Lego Storage Guide at brickarchitect.com. Does SNOT stand for “stud not on top?” There is also a whole taxonomy poster…)

The “Creative Fantasy Universe” set is 1800 pieces — and at least half of them are “weird little fiddly bits” of some kind or other, falling outside the usual bricks and plates. Props for minifigs — enough spears to outfit a regiment, and shields, scimitars, eating utensils… flags and banners, dragon wings and angel wings and lots of little flowers and frogs and so many eyes (be not afraid!) and so on.

The other sets I have (bonsai and McLaren F1/Solus) also have quite a few of these weird bits. (The bonsai has literally 200 “pebbles”, which are either low-profile circular one-stud tiles or something that doesn’t even fit on a stud at all, not sure.)

I have not yet built anything from the CFU set. I haven’t even unpacked all the bags yet, but have sorted most of the bulk. I bought a storage case that turned out to be kind of a mess — flimsy and fiddly and not really enough compartments to sort it the way I’d wanted to. I’m honestly a bit annoyed I’ve spent so much time thinking about how to store and organize the Legos and dithering with shopping for a better solution… so I just ordering a better set of storage boxes and a sorting tray as recommended by the guide. THERE.

But come to think of it, my hobbies and my job lend themselves to the optimization of organization, in ways that sometimes gets a bit obsessive. There’s ModularGrid for comparing Eurorack modules and rearranging them in cases. I have a page of notes for Soulstone Survivors skills and builds. There are websites dedicated to builds, tactics and skill rotations for MMOs, and I may be a filthy casual in a lot of respects but you better believe I spend time on some of those sites. I keep notes on my music-making, spreadsheets of gear purchases and trades and of gear used on albums, the history of modules I’ve tried. I have meticulous, constantly updated notes for work about what I’m working on, what to work on next, what changes are currently in review or building, etc. I have a bunch of online notes on all kinds of things. Scribes gotta scribe, I guess.

There was a thread about “things not to say to people with ADHD” on MetaFilter a few days ago, and the comment thread made me recognize that… yeah, I probably have it. I was never diagnosed, though I’m sure I could have been diagnosed as a child. I’m sure at least some of this organization stuff is a coping mechanism.

My tendency to want to be as small and invisible as possible in social situations works against the usual list of symptoms; “difficulty keeping quiet, and speaking out of turn” absolutely does not fit me.

But I’ve definitely had the stereotypical experience of being a gifted kid who was bored silly with regular classes and thus couldn’t focus and did poorly at times. The restlessness, losing the thread of a conversation because my mind goes elsewhere, task switching. Needing to get up and take a bathroom break, fix coffee, walk around, etc. just to do something else for a moment. Driving someplace on autopilot and missing my turn because I was thinking about other stuff. Procrastinating, or alternately (or simultaneously!) being anxious because the thing is not getting done right now. Lately, sometimes when I’m reading for pleasure I wind up picking up my phone and playing a puzzle game for a bit. Or watching anime, looking at my phone and then realizing I can’t understand the dialog without the subtitles. đŸ™‚ Writing a blog post such as this one, answering a forum post, checking Instagram, doing some online shopping, and listening to music while also working on a bug at work (with other tabs open to research what I’m writing/doing.) And I’ll certainly hyperfocus sometimes when I’m in the zone, whether it’s music, work, gaming etc.

I’m wondering now how this might tie in with my musical inclinations. I like listening to albums, and I like drone music but not that drone music… there has to be a kind of flow more than stasis, but it can be slow and gradual enough that it bores some people and I’m fine with it. Drone or not, music can take its time, but it can’t linger too long without going anywhere, if that makes sense?

This also might be related to the process, where it’s always committing and moving forward — recording a full mix with effects baked in, destructive editing, etc. I felt like it was more fun and better for my creative flow, but I’m willing to acknowledge it might just fit my mindset too.

Anyway, if I do have ADHD (and I probably do) I’d describe myself as high-functioning. Things like procrastination, restlessness, inability to focus, excessive multitasking don’t really get in my way very much. It doesn’t make me bad at my job or unable to finish projects. But it’s good to acknowledge it for myself.

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