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Untapped Brilliance by Jacqueline Sinfield - 3d ago

Shame and ADHD often go hand in hand.

Shame is a cocktail of emotions including embarrassment, regret, humiliation and feeling less than.

Many adults living with ADHD feel ashamed of themselves and their behaviour – both for what they did and didn’t do.

You might feel shame for not matching society’s ‘norms,’ such as for a failed marriage, exam or job.

You could even feel shame for ‘needing’ to use a tool to help support you – for example, checklists to help you remember things, or a timer to help keep you on task. (Neutralizing this type of shame is something we talk about in Essentially Brilliant.)

Daily life activities can also provoke a huge amount of shame, for example repeatedly losing your keys or  struggling to keep a tidy house. If a neighbour pops in for an unexpected visit,  you might feel ashamed at your messy house and then relive that shame whenever you see your neighbor.

Diagnosed Later in Adulthood?

The feelings of shame can be particularly strong for people who weren’t diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood.

If you lived with undiagnosed ADHD for many years, then you personalize incidents like losing your keys and blame yourself.  You might start repeating things you heard growing up from the adults in your life. Perhaps you tell yourself things like, ‘I am so lazy’, ‘I’m not trying hard enough’, or  ‘I am stupid’.

This isn’t true, of course, but you don’t have another explanation.

From this place of shame, it’s very hard to look for practical solutions because you think the problem is you. This is one of the reasons why, when adults get diagnosed with ADHD they feel very liberated because  there is a name for their struggles.

In contrast, when you know you have ADHD and you lose your keys, it is annoying, frustrating and might make you late for an appointment.  However, you know the reason why finding your keys is hard for you. It’s not a personal failing, and you can look for  ADHD friendly solutions to your problem.

Regardless of when you were diagnosed, people with ADHD experience more shame in their life than people who don’t have ADHD.

4 Facts About ADHD and Shame 1) Shame Stops You From Reaching Your Potential

When you feel shame about who you are, you can’t live a happy, full life and reach your potential. Your inner critic keeps you living a smaller life than you are capable of.

2) Shame Makes You Feel Lonely

When you feel shame, you can’t allow people to get close to you because you don’t feel you are worthy, which is one of the reasons why many people with ADHD feel lonely.

3) Shame and Anger

When you feel shame, it can make you very defensive, which can look like anger.  Lots of people with ADHD struggle with anger. This can also alienate  people in your life.

4) Shame, ADHD and Comorbidity

Brene  Brown (see her video below) says that shame highly correlates with addiction, violence, depression and eating disorders. These are also things that ADHDers suffer with more than the average person.

Lifting the Lid on Shame

Dr. Brené Brown,  research professor at the University of Houston and  New York Time Bestselling author, has spent over a decade studying shame, vulnerability, courage and worthiness.  During this time, she discovered that no one wants to talk about shame.

However, like everything, when a topic is addressed head on it isn’t as bad as you thought.

When you understand what exactly shame is and how it affects you, you can take steps to reduce it. Watch this video, it’s funny, intelligent and lifts the lid on shame.

Shame vs Guilt

At the 14-minute mark  Brene Brown makes the distinction between shame and guilt.

Shame is ‘I am bad’ and guilt is ‘I did something bad’.

It’s much easier to say ‘I am sorry I did something bad’ than’ I am sorry I am bad’.

Many ADHD adults believe they are ‘bad’ or ‘flawed’, which was hard for me to write because the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Yet, there is often a big discrepancy between ADHDers’ perspective of themselves and reality.

How does shame show up in your life?

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Untapped Brilliance by Jacqueline Sinfield - 1w ago

When you are first diagnosed with ADHD, there are some
people in your life you will share the news with without a second thought. These are the people in your inner circle – perhaps your wife or husband, parents, kids or very close friends.

There are also some people you will probably never tell. These are people who are negative, closed minded, mean spirited, or have said negative things about ADHD in the past.

Then there are people who aren’t in either of these groups. You are close, but they aren’t in your inner circle, or you might not have known them when you were diagnosed.

It feels strange they don’t know this important detail about you. Yet you aren’t sure the best way to tell them.

What is the best way to tell them?

First, remember you don’t have to tell anyone you have ADHD. In fact in some cases, it’s best if you don’t tell. Click here to read an article called ‘Should you tell people you have ADHD?’

Before telling someone you have ADHD, ask yourself, ‘Why do I want this person to know I have ADHD?’

Perhaps it is because you are dating them and it feels important that they know. Or it would help a friendship if your friend knew you had ADHD. Not to excuse your behaviour, but to give a deeper insight into who you are. Or perhaps you are having a hard time making sense of ADHD and they are the type of friend with whom you share important things.

Taking a minute to think, ‘Why do I want them to know?’ is a helpful habit as it reduces the chance of you impulsively telling someone and regretting it later.

Never tell someone because you feel obligated. You aren’t.

Often ADHDers feel nervous before telling someone, and have a big run up: ‘Could you sit down? I have something important to tell you…’ This can make your friend nervous and worried. They think you are breaking up with them or have a life threatening disease.

Or you might do the opposite and blurt out, ‘I have ADHD.’

There is nothing wrong with either of those approaches if you have done that! However, it can make the follow up conversation a little strained as they process the new information.

An alternative approach is to ease into the topic of ADHD.

Start by asking an open ended question.

For example, ‘What do you know about ADHD?’ or

‘How much do you know about ADHD?’

Then listen carefully to their reply.

Asking this type of question will let you know two things: their attitude towards ADHD and their factual knowledge about the condition.

Attitude towards ADHD

Attitude is everything! As your friend is replying to your question, you will quickly get a sense of if they are anti-ADHD or open-minded, compassionate or neutral.

There are still a lot of people who don’t believe ADHD exists, or that people use it as an excuse for being lazy. (I know!) Some people go on an angry rant; for example, ‘The drug companies invented it to sell more products.’

Once you know the person’s attitude towards ADHD, you can decide if you want to continue to tell them you have ADHD. It’s okay to change your mind if their attitude isn’t positive.

Factual Knowledge about ADHD

There are still lots of misconceptions about ADHD. For example, some people think only children have it and that adults don’t. Others know about hyperactive ADHD and not inattentive ADHD.

Some people know a person with ADHD, and think that is how ADHD shows up for everyone.

When you know your friend’s knowledge base, you can fill in the blanks and explain how ADHD affects you. Even if they are really knowledgeable about ADHD, they won’t know how it affects you.

Talking about ADHD like this is less stressful for both of you. They aren’t put on the spot, and it can open up a thoughtful conversation. Plus, it sets the tone for future conversations you two can have about ADHD.

Why does it feel hard to tell people I have ADHD?

Having ADHD is nothing to be ashamed of. However, many people worry about telling someone they have ADHD. If an important-to-you person is rude or dismissive about ADHD, it feels like they are also dismissing or rejecting you because ADHD is such an integral part of who you are.

‘I am dating. When is the best time to tell my date I have ADHD?’

There isn’t a perfect time to tell your date. Some ADHDers share their diagnosis on the first date. Their reasoning is, if the person is anti-ADHD there’s no point having a second date.

Other people prefer to wait and let the relationship progress naturally. That way their date can fall in love with all aspects of them, including their ADHD traits.

How do you tell people you have ADHD?
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Keeping and maintaining friends can be a challenge when you have ADHD. One reason is because of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ factor.  When you are seeing friends every day, perhaps at work or in University classes, it’s easy to stay connected and make a plan to hang out.

However,  if that regular contact changes, you change jobs or graduate, it is very easy to lose touch.  This has nothing to do with the quality of your friendship; instead, it’s due to prospective memory. Dr Ari Tuckman says prospective memory is ‘remembering to remember’.

When someone who doesn’t have ADHD thinks, ‘I wonder how Max is,’ they remember that thought until there is a convenient time to pick up the phone and call Max.

For someone with ADHD though, they might think of  phoning Max but then the thought completely vanishes. It doesn’t stick around long enough for them to take action and pick up the phone.  Having visual remembers really helps prospective memory, which is why seeing someone regularly is helpful.

If you have ADHD, other factors can get in the way too, for example social anxiety, anxiety around making phone calls, feeling like you don’t have anything interesting to say etc.  This means that even if you could phone Max, the second you think of him, you might talk yourself out of making the call.

Of course, it takes 2 people to keep a friendship alive, so the onus isn’t always on you. However, if your friend has been doing the initiating to keep in touch and  pulls back,  the friendship could fizzle out.

Having a friend that you genuinely like and you get along with is special. Even though there are millions of people in the world, everyone is different and you can’t form that type of bond with everyone. Plus it can take years to create a shared history and get to  know each other well. This is why it is worth finding a way to keep in touch.

The answer is Facebook. I know lots of people have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

However, if used  strategically, it is a very helpful way to support your  prospective memory and keep in touch with friends pretty effortlessly.

There are 2 big dangers of Facebook. One  that you get a glimpse into other people’s lives and then feel bad about your own.  Research shows that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more dissatisfied with your life you can become. The second is that FB can  be a huge time suck because of all the links to videos, articles etc.

The ADHD friendly way to use Facebook to keep in touch with your friends. 1) Create

Create a FB account if you don’t already have one.

2) Update

If you do have an account, update it a little.

Put a fresh photo up, make sure your basic information is current like the city you live in and so on.

3) 5 friends

Think of 5 friends you would like to stay in touch with or reconnect with. If you aren’t  FB friends at the moment, make a friend request.

4) Mark them as ‘a close friend’

Go to their profile, and mark that they are a close friend.

This means you get notifications when they post something.

5) 10 minutes a day

Everyday log into FB for 10 minutes. Set a timer if you have a tendency to get caught up reading articles, taking quizzes and watching memes.

While you are there, do 2 things:

A)  If it’s a friend’s birthday, wish them a  Happy Birthday.

You don’t need to write a long meaningful  message if that feels too overwhelming. A quick ‘Happy Birthday’ message on their wall is perfect.

B)  When a friend posts something personal, a photo or status update for example (not an generic quiz), engage a little. Press the like or leave a comment.Like buttons are great  if you are never sure what to say.

Volia! Thats it.

Log out of FB, and come back again in 24 hours.

6)  Post photos

About once a week, post a photo of something that is happening in your life. Post more often if you feel inspired. Just a little slice of your life, like your dog or  a nice scenic view. This helps your friends to feel connected to you.

7) Increase

When you get into the swing of this, you can increase the number of close Facebook friends.

Do you use Facebook to keep in touch with your friends?
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It is always interesting to learn what habits successful people have and how they think. Particularly if they have ADHD.  One of my favorite podcasts, ‘Spartan Up’ interviewed ADHDer, Sir Richard Branson.

Billionaire, Richard Branson has experienced huge business success as the founder of the Virgin group. He is also successful in other areas of life, including a happy marriage of over 30 years, close relationships with his adult children, his humanitarian work, and excellent physical health.

Whatever your definition of success is, the things Richard Branson does and how he thinks, will help you with your ADHD and your life goals.

Here are his 7 secrets that came from the interview.

1. A Morning Routine

A morning routine with healthy habits is the best way to set yourself up for success and make sure that you do the things that are important to you before the day gets busy.

Richard’s consists of:

1. Getting up very early (though he doesn’t mention how early!)
2. Doing exercise he loves
3. Eating a healthy breakfast

2. Exercising Daily

We know exercise is very good for the ADHD brain, and Richard places a high emphasis on exercising. He believes, ‘You have to be fit. If you are fit, you can achieve anything.’

Many ADHDers find it hard to stick to a regular exercise plan. Richard has 2 strategies to help with this.

1. Make it fun

He does exercise that is fun for him.

For example: He plays tennis every morning with someone that is younger and fitter than him and then goes kite surfing.

2. Set a challenge

Every year, he and his children set a challenge, e.g. run a marathon. That gives his exercise routine a focus as well as being a fun experience to share with his children. “You don’t need to get boringly fit, you need balance in life.”

3. No Sugar

Sugar isn’t good for the ADHD brain and there is no sugar in this ADHDer’s life! He is passionate about this: ‘Do everything you can to avoid sugar. Sugar is lethal.’

4. Steps Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Richard is a big believer in getting out of your comfort zone. He believes when you push beyond your limits, you get more out of life.

5. Be Accepting of Yourself

It’s much easier to push yourself outside of your comfort zone when you know you aren’t going to be hard on yourself. The overriding message I got from this interview was how kindly Richard speaks to himself. If something doesn’t go as he planned, he doesn’t beat himself up.

When he was traveling around the world in his hot air balloon, he had to be rescued 5 times from the water by a helicopter. While relaying this story, he was laughing. He said he got huge satisfaction from the adventure and wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t get into the Guinness World Records. Instead, he talked about all the beautiful things he got to see on the journey; such as: flying over Mt. Everest and K2. He doesn’t believe we should be embarrassed by our failures, just learn from them and start again.

Many ADHDers are their own worst critics. Negative messages are constantly running through their heads. They get mad with themselves for arriving late, not working as fast as their peers, not reaching the milestones that they hoped to reach by a certain age. They remember criticism from teachers 20 years ago. If you have negative messages continually running through your head, not only is it exhausting and depressing, it makes you want to play safe.

6. Listen to Your Intuition

Even though it’s important to push yourself out of your comfort zone, it’s also crucial to listen to your intuition. Your intuition is there guide you. Richard tells a story of when he didn’t listen to his intuition. He was going to jump from a 100 story building in Vegas and the press were there waiting for him. He didn’t feel good about performing the jump. However, there was a lot of pressure on him, so he didn’t listen to his intuition. He did the jump and injured himself. ‘Know when to pull the plug’.

7. See the Good in People

Richard always looks for the good in people. ‘There is always something special in everyone.’ As kind and non-judgmental as he is to himself, he is the same with others too. He doesn’t hold a grudge and says that the world is small and you never know when you might run into someone unexpectedly.

If you want to listen to the interview yourself, head here!

We Visit Richard Branson's Island to Learn his Secrets to Success ep.025 - YouTube

Your challenge this week, is to pick one thing from the list of 7 secrets and start to implement it into your life. What are you going to do?

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The term self-care can conjure up images of luxury spa treatments and exotic island retreats. In reality though, self-care is about practical day to day actions that make sure you are well looked after.

Self-Care is care for you by you. 

It is knowing what your needs are, then making sure those needs are met.  Those needs range from eating food regularly, taking a shower,  developing communication skills and doing activities that make you happy.

If you don’t look after yourself, it is easy to become physically depleted, emotionally exhausted, resentful, depressed or angry, which in turn can mean your ADHD symptoms get  worse, relationships suffer and performance at work  suffers.

Adults with ADHD are often good at looking after other people but not so good at treating themselves with the same care and attention.

 2 common reasons for not putting yourself at the top of your priority list are:
  • Feeling undeserving
  • Feeling overwhelmed and that there is no time.

It can be tempting to think you will start looking after yourself when everything else in your life is more organized and well managed.  However, it is  helpful to start practicing self care right now. When you look after yourself first, everything else in your life seems to fall into place – including feeling more organized and in control.

Self-Care Can Feel Very Uncomfortable

Just thinking about self care can feel very uncomfortable. In fact, reading this article  might have made you feel annoyed or that it’s not for you. Sit with the discomfort, and start with very small yet regular self care actions.

Self-care means different things for different people. However, here is a list of the basic self-care categories that you can use as a guide and for inspiration.

7 Basic Self-Care Categories 1) Health
  • Visit doctor(s), dentist for regular check-ups
  • Book an appointment with a psychologist to address emotional upsets
  • Do your favorite type of exercise every day
  • Eat regularly throughout the day
  • Take supplements, including an omega-3.
  • Put yourself to bed before midnight
2) People
  • Spend time with people who respect and appreciate you
  • Hang out with people who you genuinely enjoy being with
  • Create healthy and respectful boundaries…so you don’t feel resentful or deplete yourself
3) Communication
  • Feel comfortable saying no to things
  • Get good at delegating
4) Transport
  • Keep your car maintained so you can travel safely • Follow the speed limit
  • Always have gas in your car so you aren’t worrying if you have enough to get you to your destination
5) Time Management
  • • Have a realistic schedule rather than trying to pack lots in and feel frazzled, late and disappointed in yourself.
6) Finances
  • Pay bills on time
  • File your Taxes every year
7) Happiness
  • Spend time doing things that are fun for you: hobbies, etc.
  • Develop a gratitude habit and pick 3 things each day you are grateful for
8) Personal Grooming
  • Book regular hair dresser appointments
  •  Look neat and tidy Ex. nails, shave
  • Have clean and presentable clothes (zero holes, wrinkles) to wear

Making self-care a priority runs much deeper than picking up the phone to book a hair dresser’s appointment, although that is a good first step.

It also involves an awareness of what makes you tick and knowing that you are an important person who deserve these things.

You might need to:

• Learn new skills like budgeting or time-keeping, which could help you improve your self-care.

• Begin to treat and manage your ADHD.

• Work with a therapist or coach to help improve your self-esteem or improve your assertiveness in order to say no to people.

• Or do a mixture of all 3!

Rather than doing a complete overhaul now,  or waiting for a ‘perfect’ time in the future (which never comes), make upgrades in small increments.

1.Sit down and  brainstorm all the ways you could improve your self care.

2.Look at the list and see what you could do that is easy. Maybe take an omega-3 supplement, or get your haircut every 2 months rather than every 3 months.

3.Then, gradually do more and more of the things on your list until you are practicing extreme self care!

Are you good at practicing self care? leave a message in the comments section below.
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Untapped Brilliance by Jacqueline Sinfield - 1M ago

In his  book, “Driven to Distraction At Work.” Dr. Edward Hallowell talks about “screen sucking”. It’s a term to describe how the screens of our electronic devices suck away our time and creativeness.

Technology is a wonderful thing, Almost everything can be done on the screen these days, from reading the newspaper to grocery shopping and dating. However, as with most things, there is a fine line between being useful and being a problem. The screen pulls our attention from what is happening around us, and takes us into another world. With computers, iPads and smartphones, we are never away from a screen.

It is Possible to Get Addicted to The Feeling of Being Online

The constant use of electronics is often thought of as a joke. However, for some people it can be a serious problem, in the form of an addiction. We are aware it’s possible be addicted to something that is available via the internet. For example, online gambling, porn, or shopping. However, the internet itself, with “regular” websites, can also be addictive. As Dr. Hallowell explains, some people can get addicted to the feeling of being online.

The good news is that most of us who experience screen sucking don’t develop an addiction. However, spending too much time behind your computer or cell phone can still be a problem. It can affect your relationships, sleep and productivity, and so much more.

Going online can be a used for all sorts of things that aren’t totally necessary, but seem helpful. For example, a quick check on your phone helps relieve boredom, perhaps when you are in a meeting or family event. It can also help reduce stress, be a crutch for social anxiety, and it can make you “feel” productive.

If you think you might be falling into bad habits and reaching for your screen a little too often, here are some tips:

1) Identify how much time you are spending on your computer, iPad, and cell phone. If you aren’t sure, track yourself for 3 days. This will be eye opening! No one I know who has done this said, “wow I go online a lot less than I thought.”

2) What you are doing in your screen time? Are you checking email, Facebook, reading the news, checking the stock market? Write all those activities down.

3) Do you need to be behind a screen to do all those things? For example, you do need to answer emails. However, you don’t need to read the news online. You could pick up a paper newspaper.

4) Why are you reaching for your phone or screen? Are you bored, procrastinating etc?

5) With the information from #4, is there an underlying issue to address that would be helpful to your life and business? For example if you have social anxiety (lots of ADDers do), checking your phone (for emails or going online) in social situations is very comforting. It makes you look busy and it takes your mind off all the people. However, by using your phone as a band-aid, it stops you for reaching out for help for the social anxiety. When you address the root cause, you won’t need the phone so much and your business will grow!

6) Reply to in chunks of time, rather than having it open all day. This alone will increase your productivity.

7) Make it a personal policy to always turn your phone off in meetings and social events and even at home with your family.

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When I was little and still trying to work out the concept of time, the days between Christmas and New Year were a bit of a puzzle to me. We had advent calendars that helped us to count down to the 25th. I knew that the 1st was a big deal because it was New Year’s Day. However, the days in between seemed to be floating days. No school, so no weekends to mark the usual passage of time. There was just a lot of time to play with new toys, eat mince pies and Christmas cake and see relatives that I didn’t see very often.

Now those days between Christmas and the New Year have taken on a whole different meaning. They are the perfect break from the normal routine to relax and consider the year that just whizzed by and plan for the brand new one.

When you have ADHD, hitting the pause button to reflect might not happen automatically, which is why this holiday in-between time is helpful to facilitate reflection and planning.

There are some very elaborate ways to plan your year. This one is simple, doesn’t take very long and yet is a super powerful way to design your life.

Step 1

Pick 3 things that you are proud of that you accomplished in 2018. By all means pick lots more than 3 if you can, but if you freeze and your mind goes blank, rather than skip this section, simply pick 3.

Remembering what went well is a great mental place to start your planning. It creates a sense of success, and ‘can do’, which is a perfect mindset as you are entering a brand new year.

Step 2

For each area of your life, ask yourself 2 questions.

“What is working?” and ‘What isn’t working?”

What is Working?

If something is working keep doing it! This is very important. It can be so tempting to make changes; however, if you have found something that is helpful in your life, why change it?

Here is a very simple example from my life where I changed something that was working. Each year, for as long as I can remember, I get a wall calendar with a picture for each month of the year and a space to write next to the date. Part of my end of year ritual is to write all my family’s and friends’ birthdays in a new calendar. The calendar hangs in the kitchen where I see it many times a day. That constant visual reminder means that I never forget to send anyone a birthday card.

One year, I tried a new system. Instead of a wall calendar, I created a birthday binder. The idea was that if people’s birthday were written down in an ever green calendar in the binder I wouldn’t need to update it every year. Plus I could keep their birthday cards in the binder so everything would be in one place. Sounds good in theory; however, it wasn’t in practice. I forgot so many birthdays that year, which didn’t make me feel good!

It is great to try new things, but why not try to save your energy for trying new strategies for the parts of your life that aren’t working first.

What is not working?

This is where you get to use your creative ADHD mind to think of ways to change what is not working in your life. For example, if you hate your commute to work, what could you do to change it? Maybe you could work flex-time to miss the rush hour, ask to work from home a few days a week, listen to audiobooks in the car or read books on the train.

Use the list below as a guide to go through every area of your life. Feel free to delete or add to the list to make it relevant to your life.

Write down your ideas and realizations in a note pad or Word document.

ADHD Self-Care

Meal planning

Exercise

Omega 3, vitamin D

Meditation

Sleep

Relationships

How and when you spend time with the people you love

How and when you keep in touch with friends and family

Work

Travel / commute

Time management

Email

Boss

Co-workers

Following through on important projects

Productivity

Home

Keeping it clean

Keeping it organized and clutter free

Decoration

Money

Earning it

Saving/investing

Budgeting

Debt repayment

You!

Self-confidence

Social skills

Achieving personal goals

Step 3

Now that you have all of these ideas, set a time every week to have a weekly review. This is to help implement and maintain these changes.

What changes are you going to make in 2019? leave a comment below!
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Prioritizing is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to many people living with ADHD so it takes on almost a mythical quality.

Prioritizing simply means ‘deciding which task is more important than others so you can work on it first.’

Prioritizing is a practical skill that helps you work on the tasks that are connected to moving your life forward in the direction you want it to go.

A to-do list is a helpful way to capture all your ‘to-dos.’ But! If you can prioritize your list and complete the items in order of importance, your productivity, sense of accomplishment and confidence is raised to whole new level!

Why do ADHDers find prioritizing difficult?

There are 4 main reasons why prioritizing is difficult when you have ADHD.

  1. Everything at once

When you have ADHD, there is a tendency to want to do everything at once – either because you are very enthusiastic, or because you have a backlog of things to catch up on and you feel impatient to get everything done.

Because prioritizing means choosing one task to focus on and leaving the other tasks unattended for a little while (30 minutes), it can cause feelings of panic, second guessing and guilt. So, rather than prioritize, you try to do everything at once by jumping from one task to the next.

The problem is, this method leaves you feeling scattered and unproductive. Plus, because your attention is diluted, it’s hard to finish anything, which then leaves you feeling demotivated because nothing gets finished.

  1. No time to prioritize

When your life is really busy with constant demands, the best solution seems to be, keep busy and respond to everything as soon as it comes your way. This can keep you moving all day and by the evening you feel tired, but not necessarily accomplished.

Taking time to plan and prioritize feels like a luxury that you will get to one day when things settle down. The trouble is, that day is very elusive.

3. Decision making

Prioritizing involves saying no to some things and yes to others. This decision making is hard when you have ADHD because everything feels equally important. That means the best solution seems to be just get on and do everything (see Number 1).

  1. Being realistic

Prioritizing also involves being realistic. If you can realistically predict how long tasks take, you can figure out how many can be done in a day and prioritize them. But who wants to be realistic? That feels limiting and constraining, especially when there is so much to do.

ADHDers are great at thinking big and when conditions are perfect you can achieve super-human feats in a short space of time. The problem with this is that it can’t be replicated consistently. Yet because you have had those rare but wonderful experiences, you are always hopeful that you can get more done in a day than is generally possible.

What happens when you don’t prioritize?

Because humans can only do one thing at once, if you don’t actively prioritize then you prioritize by default.

Which of these default techniques do you use?

Littlest first

You do the littlest things on your to do list first. This feels good because you are getting things crossed off. The downside is that the smallest tasks often aren’t the most important. Plus, by the time they are completed there might not be time for larger tasks.

Easy

You pick the things that feel easiest. These could also be the little items, but not always.  There can be easy, big and long tasks too. By picking the easiest things first, you are also saving the hardest things for last, which is a clever avoidance strategy.

Out of habit

You go onto autopilot and do things in the order that you usually do them, rather than in order of importance.

Who asks first, loudest or most often

Your time is dictated by who asks you first, has the loudest voice, or asks you the most times. People are quick to realize this is how you operate and so will use it to their advantage. However, what is most important for them won’t necessarily be what is most important for you.

In the neighbourhood

You might find yourself doing tasks and errands because you are close by. ‘Well I am in the neighbourhood, I may as well do X.’ It sounds logical, but isn’t always a good prioritizing method.

I feel like it

You might find you wait until you ‘feel’ like doing the task or are ‘in the mood.’ The danger here is you might never feel like doing your taxes.

Influenced by others

You might mirror what the people around you are doing, both at work and home, particularly if they are doing something fun like going for lunch or watching TV.

You will still get things done using these techniques. However, they might not be the things that lead you to your goals or give you satisfaction at the end of the day.

Knowing is half the battle. Being aware of how you prioritize at the moment is a great first step to making changes.

Remember, any time you spend planning and prioritizing is a time investment. It gets you out of busy doing mode and allows you to be strategic. It gives you time to lift your head and see the big picture.

If you think you can’t prioritize, I am going to disagree respectfully! Because when you are faced with a deadline, I bet you are really good at prioritizing. You know what your most important task is and say no to other things so that you can meet the deadline.

That is prioritizing! Now it’s just a question of strengthening your prioritizing muscle every day rather than waiting for a deadline to help you.

If you would like to learn more about prioritizing then come to my free training on Tuesday December 18th called ‘6 steps to planning 2019 the ADHD friendly way.

You can reserve your spot here.

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