If you’re like me, then you probably have a lot of trouble reading blog articles, eBooks, and online written tutorials. The reason for me is I have adult ADHD. It truly makes things real difficult for me. A great example is a project I have been doing lately. For many years I have been fascinated with web servers. In part of wanting to learn more about web servers, I have setup a few personal web servers in my home. I have one web server running CentOS, and two running Ubuntu Server. Progress with this project didn’t come until recently, despite wanting to do this for years!
The reason for slow progress is due my lack of ability to read, follow, and comprehend documentation and instructions. I simply can’t do it. Often I find myself reading the same sentence over repeatedly due to some kind of distraction. The things that distract me, typically don’t distract other people. The constant hum of a ceiling fan, people walking down the hall, the ticking of a clock, or water dripping from a faucet are all examples of things that cause terrible distractions. I have to completely isolate myself in order to learn something new. And this doesn’t happen to often because I live in house with kids.
I’m affected by the same problems with it comes to continually learning about SEO. I enjoy learning about search engine optimization just about as much as I enjoy learning about web servers. Ironically, the two some what go hand in hand. If you tend to have trouble like me, you may find yourself dependent on alternative means for learning and comprehending things. One of the best tools I use for learning things is watching videos. The invention of YouTube has given hope towards my continuing education. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? But, it’s true.
I depend on visual aids. Video tutorials, screencasting, and articles rich in screenshots and pictures is what I need in order to learn. If alternatives to written content aren’t available, I even PRINT pages out. Holding a piece of paper in my hands makes a world of difference. A great example is when I recently printed the 740 page Apache HTTP Server Documentation manual. I didn’t exactly save any trees doing this, but in my opinion, this wasn’t wasteful because it helped me accomplish a goal. Junk mail, on the other hard, is an example of paper waste. And to help me conserve paper, I print on both sides. Doing that also keeps me from having to purchase wider binders.
The long story short is this. The Internet is an amazing place to gain knowledge. In the beginning, it started with sharing written data and written content. For those who can’t seem to focus, there are now many alternatives to written documentation. Instead of continuing to struggle doing something that obviously isn’t working, make a change. That’s the only way to push forward. One of the most memorable things my father told me when I was little was that you can’t continue to do the same thing over and expect to get different results. You have change something in order to change results.