I recently went on a quest to learn more about adult ADD. My recent awareness came mid-blog, after taking an online assessment. I took this quiz on Saturday Morning, and by Saturday night I was reading the book “Making ADD Work: On the job strategies for coping with Attention Deficit Disorder”. I know that might seem a little extreme, or that I’m putting too much in an on-line survey. What this did for me was give me some areas to focus on improving myself.
I’m single, in between relationships. So self-assessment, self-improvement is a good focus. It’s better than sitting home on a Saturday night depressed I don’t have a date!
I discovered hyperfocus. I discovered that people with ADD, can do this well. I remember being in high school and getting into a sewing project. My whole family would have gone to bed hours before. I would sit behind the sewing machine, not stopping until my dress was done.
I also realized that I do this when I work on our non-profit budgeting. I clear my desk, I pull out the financial reports, my calculator and a notepad. I review each line. I compare what was budgeted to what was spent. I know if we are 33%, 50% or 70% through the year, so I know where each item should be at. I make notes on where we are up or down. I project what needs to be spent. I work backwards, making sure what we spent divided by the month we are in (June – 6) and see if that matches our bank statements. This lets me know we are consistent and on track with what I anticipate will be spent in future months.
I love paying attention to our money. I am proud of my money management for our non-profit. It doesn’t always appear that way to other people. When I get a question about the budget, I can’t always articulate how I know the answer. I can’t always find the way to explain it. People with ADD can think on 5 different levels at once. I have all these ways I know the answer and I can’t get them from the picture in my mind, to a articulate sentence. I don’t like feedback about budgeting or money management not being my strength. I have to be careful not to get defensive about it.
My track record is good, I inherited the program mid-year and we were headed for a serious loss, I landed us with a much lower deficit. I ran the next few years with carry-over to help build reserve funds. Despite a board approved budget to end the year -26,000, I am working to see we break even, its likely we may have a small carryover. People seem to judge my skills on my moment to moment ability to answer questions. I guess another person wouldn’t know my budget history, only one of our board members has been with me all 5 years.
So I balance. Ask me a question about Restorative Justice – I am as articulate and precise as a brain surgeon. I balance working on the non-profit image, with knowing the financials. I balance leading-up efforts with the board, to being led and letting the voice and input of board members enhance our program (honestly, sometimes I have to really try at that).
You have to balance and balance and balance as a nonprofit leader.