Author Topic: Complainypants or ADD?  (Read 7905 times)

climbingthemountain

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Complainypants or ADD?
« on: June 21, 2014, 02:09:11 PM »
I realize this isn't a forum for medical advice, but I'm 29 and fairly new to my career (5 years) and sometimes find it difficult to focus at my 9-5, even when the things vying for my attention aren't really all that compelling. Is that just par for the course when you've got a job staring at a screen for eight or more hours a day?

I'll check every news site that comes to mind, just because. Sometimes I'll check them twice. It's not even like I'm looking for anything specific, and generally I *know* I'd be happier knocking out a chunk of work. I like talking with my co workers, figuring things out, and solving problems. I enjoy making progress and closing out tasks. My brain just seems to tend towards an "anything but work" path given half a chance. I have good days and bad days, and I wonder if that's a normal cadence or not. Exercise helps, pigheaded stubbornness helps, but I still end up slipping. Is that normal?

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2014, 02:17:05 PM »
It was for me, especially when I was bored with my job (frequent occurrence).

Fatmouse

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2014, 02:21:49 PM »
I think what you are describing is normal, and this common bad habit can be exacerbated by certain factors outside of ones' control.

I try to combat this issue with:
1) Very regular sleep schedule, even on weekends.  For me, the difficulty focusing is often a sign of fatigue, even if I do not actually feel tired.
2) If I am managing to focus, I roll with it as long as I can.  I do not answer the phone, check that e-mail that just hit my inbox, or do anything else until the wave of productivity and focus has ended on its own accord.  If a coworker approaches me in person, I just say "sorry, working on a short deadline, I'll find you later."

I will say, though, that there are days where I am totally engaged and I do not once check the news, my personal e-mail, my favorite blog, etc.  If that never happens for you, maybe you could look for a way to get more motivated about your career. 

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2014, 02:23:36 PM »
If you find yourself doing non-work related things at work you either need to severely scold yourself and do what you being paid to do, or you need a career change.

The only acceptable time to be tinkering with personal phones is on your own time, and regardless of whether you are allowed to or not, you should never be web surfing at work.  If you need a mental health day, take one.  If you need a break, book vacation time.  Constant goofing off will be noticed and promotions will grind to a halt, probably resulting in dismissal.  If you don't want to do the work, there is guaranteed to be a line up of people who will.

For the lucky few, their work is exciting or personally rewarding.  Most of the time for most people, work is anything but.  Having said that, real grown ups of integrity give their employers their best effort.  That doesn't mean that you have to love what you do, or work overtime.  It does mean that you have to hold up your end of the bargain; they pay you, you (at a minimum) do what you are told and what is expected of you.

So yeah, on the complainy pants side of the scale.  To me it sounds like you need a change of venue, or a change of career.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2014, 02:31:22 PM »
The only acceptable time to be tinkering with personal phones is on your own time, and regardless of whether you are allowed to or not, you should never be web surfing at work.  If you need a mental health day, take one.  If you need a break, book vacation time.  Constant goofing off will be noticed and promotions will grind to a halt, probably resulting in dismissal.  If you don't want to do the work, there is guaranteed to be a line up of people who will.

For the lucky few, their work is exciting or personally rewarding.  Most of the time for most people, work is anything but.  Having said that, real grown ups of integrity give their employers their best effort.  That doesn't mean that you have to love what you do, or work overtime.  It does mean that you have to hold up your end of the bargain; they pay you, you (at a minimum) do what you are told and what is expected of you.

Laughable.  With the exception of a single job in my career that lasted about 3.5 years, every single other job I had had the following characteristics:

- being a top quartile performer required substantially less than full time work for much of the time

- doing more beyond being top quartile was rewarded little if at all.

Faced with that reality, what is a rational person to do?  If my employers had simply allowed me to do my job (very well) according to the time it took me to do it, there would have been no long lunches, lengthy afternoon breaks to ward off boredom, web surfing, etc.  I also might have stayed on each job longer.  None of them could stand the idea that I might be more productive without someone standing over me/in the room with me/in some stupid, pointless meeting.  So I did the rational thing and delivered good value for the money they were paying me and tried as best I could to stave off boredom and amuse myself in the many, many wasted hours putting in face/cube time.  I bet OP is in a similar circumstance.

Since I found the cube painfully dull, I escaped as soon as I possible could.  That solves the whole problem.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2014, 02:38:07 PM »
Sorry, I am clearly of a different generation that believes that paid working time means working time, not checking out the news or playing browser games time.

I have always worked during working hours, even at the crappiest job, even at the crappiest wages.  If I have nothing to do, I would rather do it at home, and when I've had jobs where I was literally searching for some way to be productive, I moved on quickly.

If either of you worked for me, I'd can your ass.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2014, 02:40:02 PM »
Sorry, I am clearly of a different generation that believes that paid working time means working time, not checking out the news or playing browser games time.

I have always worked during working hours, even at the crappiest job, even at the crappiest wages.  If I have nothing to do, I would rather do it at home, and when I've had jobs where I was literally searching for some way to be productive, I moved on quickly.

If either of you worked for me, I'd can your ass.

If you employed me, you would have thought I was the mutt's nuts/bee's knees.

climbingthemountain

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2014, 02:44:45 PM »
Thanks, this is helpful. If it's something other people have gone through, then complainypants it is. I'll be more mindful of what keeps me moving on good days so I can dredge it up when I need a dose of motivation and focus on the bad ones.

Fatmouse

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2014, 02:47:43 PM »

The only acceptable time to be tinkering with personal phones is on your own time, and regardless of whether you are allowed to or not, you should never be web surfing at work.  If you need a mental health day, take one.  If you need a break, book vacation time.  Constant goofing off will be noticed and promotions will grind to a halt, probably resulting in dismissal.  If you don't want to do the work, there is guaranteed to be a line up of people who will.

I do appreciate Jennifer's general perspective on responsibility and self-discipline.

But this quote is overstated. 
Goofing off often is not recognized, and even more often not punished.  This is a sign of bad management, and a reason to look for a new job, but not necessarily a sign of unusually weak will or complainypants.

Then you get into the crazy careerism issues, where working reasonable hours or taking vacations is a sign of lack of one's dedication to their career.  It is noticed and punished.  Mental health days, my Ottawan friend, are un-American.  :)

I am not trying to add to the complainypants with a long rant about "the system", but in order for original poster to understand his situation, improve it, and achieve deeper life satisfaction, I will not ignore "the system" issues either.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 02:50:32 PM »
I think its just part of the culture now that everything is immediate accessible. I had the same problem. And I do get bored/lose attention easily. But what has helped:

- finding out higher ups can view what you are looking at
- deleting my social media accounts (personal decision)
- learning to get up earlier to check out the Internet
- learning to schedule my breaks at work and viewing the net at that time on my phone away from the desk

I'm in no way perfect. but if you need to protect your income, it would be best to learn to schedule your internet time.

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2014, 02:57:21 PM »
Mental health days, my Ottawan friend, are un-American.  :)

Oh, that's just a euphemism for 'not really sick but just can't face the office today because I would probably stick a pen in the bosses eye if I went in' sick days. 

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2014, 03:00:24 PM »
Mental health days, my Ottawan friend, are un-American.  :)

Oh, that's just a euphemism for 'not really sick but just can't face the office today because I would probably stick a pen in the bosses eye if I went in' sick days.

AKA "I can't waste this perfect November day on the cube and meetings when squirrels are in season" days.

climbingthemountain

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 03:01:57 PM »
I think its just part of the culture now that everything is immediate accessible. I had the same problem. And I do get bored/lose attention easily. But what has helped:

- finding out higher ups can view what you are looking at
- deleting my social media accounts (personal decision)
- learning to get up earlier to check out the Internet
- learning to schedule my breaks at work and viewing the net at that time on my phone away from the desk

I'm in no way perfect. but if you need to protect your income, it would be best to learn to schedule your internet time.

I deleted my social media accounts awhile back; I think scheduling one break for lunch and otherwise making sure I'm getting enough sleep and getting up early enough to check things at home before going in to work are probably my best options here.

HSLmom

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 03:06:21 PM »
It sounds like ADD to me, I didn't realize I had it until I took a supplement (GABA, if those are interested) when I was 26 and suddenly was only thinking about one thing at a time, rather than 6.  A combination of good diet, exercise, good sleep, and occasional supplements keeps me most productive.

As to goofing off at work, I do plenty but I'm self employed.  I pay independent contractors based on the project so if they want to goof off for 40 minutes and turn a 20-minute job into an hour one, that's their choice.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2014, 03:07:54 PM »
OP, do you have performance issues, or is this just the ghost of the Protestant work ethic guilting you because there simply is not enough on the job to keep you fully engaged at all hours?

Jennifer in Ottawa

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2014, 03:12:09 PM »
If either of you worked for me, I'd can your ass.

If this refers to me, or regardless of to whom it refers...
You are surely not serious.  Or you are surely bitter about something unrelated to me.

I do not believe that any generation as a whole has a better work ethic than any other.  I am going to bet that, on the whole, Mustachians regardless of generation are more conscientious, productive and intelligent than average.

If there is any generational aspect relevant to discussion, it may be than the younger generation has found its way to highly specialized (and therefore productive) fields, but that hyper specialized careers are draining and difficult to pull off for what has become industry-standard 9-10 hour days in many fields...

It was mostly directed towards Brewers "laughable" comment.  I could elaborate on the rudeness, but I think I'll just restrain myself to ignoring his posts.

All work is draining, and very few are lucky enough to relish the prospect of getting up in the morning and trotting along to work.  For the rest of us, it's just something that needs to be done.

So, you do what you must.

In the meantime, you refresh yourself with exercise, adequate sleep and good nutrition.  You make plans for your future so that you have goals both short term and long term.  Having those goals in sight goes a long way towards keeping you motivated to keep your nose to the grindstone.

On your lunches and breaks get the heck out of the cube, out of the building and into the fresh air.

Do fun things on the weekends and evenings so that you don't feel that life is nothing but 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Everyone, regardless of their income level, education level, and age loses focus.  It's normal.  It's not some special thing only the young experience.  But you have to get past it somehow.

And in the end, my original advice stands:  if you just can't focus, you either need to take a break, or you need to change companies or careers.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2014, 03:14:43 PM »
If either of you worked for me, I'd can your ass.

If this refers to me, or regardless of to whom it refers...
You are surely not serious.  Or you are surely bitter about something unrelated to me.

I do not believe that any generation as a whole has a better work ethic than any other.  I am going to bet that, on the whole, Mustachians regardless of generation are more conscientious, productive and intelligent than average.

If there is any generational aspect relevant to discussion, it may be than the younger generation has found its way to highly specialized (and therefore productive) fields, but that hyper specialized careers are draining and difficult to pull off for what has become industry-standard 9-10 hour days in many fields...

It was mostly directed towards Brewers "laughable" comment.  I could elaborate on the rudeness, but I think I'll just restrain myself to ignoring his posts.

All work is draining, and very few are lucky enough to relish the prospect of getting up in the morning and trotting along to work.  For the rest of us, it's just something that needs to be done.

So, you do what you must.

In the meantime, you refresh yourself with exercise, adequate sleep and good nutrition.  You make plans for your future so that you have goals both short term and long term.  Having those goals in sight goes a long way towards keeping you motivated to keep your nose to the grindstone.

On your lunches and breaks get the heck out of the cube, out of the building and into the fresh air.

Do fun things on the weekends and evenings so that you don't feel that life is nothing but 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Everyone, regardless of their income level, education level, and age loses focus.  It's normal.  It's not some special thing only the young experience.  But you have to get past it somehow.

And in the end, my original advice stands:  if you just can't focus, you either need to take a break, or you need to change companies or careers.

I love you, too, sweetie pie.  Have a nice life.

climbingthemountain

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2014, 03:20:58 PM »
OP, do you have performance issues, or is this just the ghost of the Protestant work ethic guilting you because there simply is not enough on the job to keep you fully engaged at all hours?

I suspect it's a bit of that and a bit of military upbringing. I've never had performance issues at work, and my current manager pretty much sings my praises, I just feel like I could be doing more. When I catch myself in a slump that just looks like evidence for that. I *definitely* don't lack for things to get done, though. I'm a one man show at my job and laying groundwork to hire more people.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2014, 03:31:11 PM »
OP, do you have performance issues, or is this just the ghost of the Protestant work ethic guilting you because there simply is not enough on the job to keep you fully engaged at all hours?

I suspect it's a bit of that and a bit of military upbringing. I've never had performance issues at work, and my current manager pretty much sings my praises, I just feel like I could be doing more. When I catch myself in a slump that just looks like evidence for that. I *definitely* don't lack for things to get done, though. I'm a one man show at my job and laying groundwork to hire more people.

Sounds like you are doing fine.  Chalk it up to a busy, multitasking role and don't worry about it too much as long as the work gets done and everyone is happy with you.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2014, 03:42:23 PM »
I don't disagree totally with Jennifer in Ottawa, in principle - but in reality, I lose focus a lot. And I don't necessarily think it means I need new job - unless my new job is retirement. People aren't robots.

I do all of the things the OP has mentioned. I also occasionally get up and go for walks, stare into space and talk to my co-workers. If I were to divide up an 8 hour work day, I get about 4 hours of really focused work. Two hours of so-so work. And two hours of major distraction where hardly anything gets done.

The best part is that I get great performance reviews and I am complimented on my efficiency. So who knows what everyone else at my workplace does all day - because it's not work!

I have found that my productivity increases and decreases with my morale. When I'm given more flexibility to work from home or do a flex schedule, I will often work harder to "earn" it. On the other hand, I was stuck on a job with a lady who would leave to pump breastmilk and end up sucking no fewer than 3 hours a day into that breast pump, and I didn't exactly try hard to pick up her slack - quite the opposite (and even then, we finished the job early, because I didn't slack off enough, apparently).

climbingthemountain

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2014, 03:52:30 PM »
Cpa Cat, I feel pretty similar. I'm actually highly motivated most of the time at my job -- my peers and immediate superiors are fantastic people and great to work with, so I'm asking my questions more out of a sense of "how can I do better, and do I have a problem here that extends beyond just my approach?"

This place is head and shoulders above the big corporate job I had previously.

netskyblue

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2014, 03:53:01 PM »
Meh, OP that's my life, too.  And I get terrific performance reviews.  I would LOVE a job (a stable, secure job, with benefits) where my productivity was directly related to my pay.  For every number of X's you do (correctly and on time), you earn Y.  Just knowing my earning potential was only limited by my physical ability would be enough to make me work *hard* all day.

As it stands, MOST OF THE TIME I can get all my work done in 3-4 hours, but my butt's required to fill a chair for 8.  Life sucks.  Some days it does take all 8 hours to do my work, but that's maybe 1-2 days a week.

I'd also be happy if I could do my work and leave when done, if I could still make the same amount of money to do it.

Work = I sell you 8 hours of my life, 5 days a week, and I'll do all the things you ask me to do, correctly, and on time.

Annamal

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2014, 04:26:14 PM »
I have this tendency as well (I make up for it somewhat by solving a lot of work problems on my walk to and from work...it's amazing how much more productive I am when I'm in motion).

I found breaking up everything I have to do into tiny todo lists that I physically cross off works quite well, as does listening to music or putting on an audiobook when I've got a task that is repetitive but doesn't need my full concentration.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2014, 04:42:27 PM »
Climbing the mountain,

Lucky for you. I am a doctor.

I agree with Jennifer in Ottowa. You are a deviant. You need medication and lots of it.

Of course, by this definition, so am I and so do I!

Alexi



Cpa Cat

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2014, 04:46:02 PM »
Cpa Cat, I feel pretty similar. I'm actually highly motivated most of the time at my job -- my peers and immediate superiors are fantastic people and great to work with, so I'm asking my questions more out of a sense of "how can I do better, and do I have a problem here that extends beyond just my approach?"

This place is head and shoulders above the big corporate job I had previously.

You don't have a problem. A simple desire to do well isn't particularly motivating. I'd love for my house to be clean - and yet, instead of cleaning it, I'm wasting time on the internet. I'm also not exercising (even though I want to get into better shape) and I just went out to buy gummy bears (which I am now eating, despite my personal goal to cut out candy).

When there's no real motivating factor like a deadline, or a bonus, or getting to leave early if you finish, all you're really saying is, "I would theoretically like to do better - because I think it will make me feel good."

From there is takes real effort and at least some willpower. You can try scheduling breaks, implementing a reward system of your own (if I finish X, I will eat these gummy bears... no no... I will go for a walk). Almost every training program I've ever been to suggests to do lists to keep you on track. Setting your own deadlines (I will finish X by the end of the day) can work. In the end, some brute force willpower is required - when you find yourself wasting time, you need to remind yourself to stop and then actually force yourself to stop.

And even with all of this - netskyblue points out the ultimate demotivator. If all you really get from being more efficient is a) sitting at your desk anyway or b) more work with no reward, it will sap away at your best intentions.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2014, 04:48:03 PM by Cpa Cat »

bikebum

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2014, 05:03:36 PM »
Meh, OP that's my life, too.  And I get terrific performance reviews.  I would LOVE a job (a stable, secure job, with benefits) where my productivity was directly related to my pay.  For every number of X's you do (correctly and on time), you earn Y.  Just knowing my earning potential was only limited by my physical ability would be enough to make me work *hard* all day.

As it stands, MOST OF THE TIME I can get all my work done in 3-4 hours, but my butt's required to fill a chair for 8.  Life sucks.  Some days it does take all 8 hours to do my work, but that's maybe 1-2 days a week.

I'd also be happy if I could do my work and leave when done, if I could still make the same amount of money to do it.

Work = I sell you 8 hours of my life, 5 days a week, and I'll do all the things you ask me to do, correctly, and on time.

+1. I used to ask my supervisor for more work when I had free time, but it became clear it was annoying to try to find something else for me to do. I like my job and don't desire to find a different job which keeps me busy the whole time. I'm happy to do some web surfing to fill the voids since my agreement requires 8 hours a day.

brewer12345

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Re: Complainypants or ADD?
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2014, 05:13:51 PM »
And even with all of this - netskyblue points out the ultimate demotivator. If all you really get from being more efficient is a) sitting at your desk anyway or b) more work with no reward, it will sap away at your best intentions.

Ding, ding, ding!!! We have a winnahhhh!!!  (hint: not someone from Ottawa).

When I worked a job where a six figure bonus was determined by how much I personally added, you can bet I dashed my lights out.  Straight salary with little chance of a big raise and the only promotion possible being into management?  Get a good rate with AT&T, cause I would be phoning it in beyond what was needed to stay ahead of the crowd.