Tricking yourself out of (ADHD) All-or-nothing Planning
I’ve been sick. I’ll tell you more later about that. But for now, it means a lot of things have not been happening, because other more urgent and medically important things have happened. There are papers piled in odd places while I was taking care of my body. There are emails I didn’t answer because I could not. And so on. That’s ok. Bodies, and lives, have to be in good enough health to pick that stuff back up. That said, I am tempted to use this silly period. after. each. word. thing. that has cropped up in the blogosphere to articulate how much of a dead stop things can feel like they have come to.
Time and again I have worked with coaching clients around
-starting as an obstacle
-re-starting spurring “failure! you failed! you can’t! see! it didn’t happen before!” self-talk.
Just as I was getting going on some projects for business, I got a bad loooong cold. And then some weird virus at the end of it. During the weird virus part I kept thinking, “see! you aren’t doing what you planned on! It DID NOT WORK. YOU MADE NO PROGRESS,” because I was just getting restarted. I was just putting these pieces back together in my days. But having interruptions is not a failure to progress. It is an interruption. There is an art to designing systems and planning with interruptions in mind, and sometimes those systems and plans need tweaking- like when your current normal level of interruptions and intrustions increases. It doesn’t mean you failed to make progress. (Take that, negative self-talk!)
I have also learned, but have to remember and re-remember, that even if I think “hey, I will put aside a coupole days this month just ot organize my office stuff,” doesn’t mean that this will be the best way forward right now. Success is seeing that another way forward might match better- and not stopping dead in your tracks because you couldn’t get past getting started based on the plans you had. And what I won’t be stopped by today is the fact that I now have choices, the kind that can be deadly with any executive function challenges (ADHD, ASD, um… overwhelmed life).
-prioritize my fitness that is so compromised
-make sure I get to a bit of my office/home/whatever chores today so it stays under control
-make it an “organizing day” when I ignore everything else and get to organizing the office
-get errands out of the way that need to get done and keep hanging over me
-clean out the fridge so I can know what groceries I have so I can have food available for lunch
-95 other categories that feel like they could take precedence over everything else
With all of these particular options my little thinkythink brain can say “but if you do X then you won’t do Y!” And talk in circles. At light speed. Which is why I started this blog, because it happens to me, I’ve learned about it, I have helped others with it who have this happen, and I know we all have to keep reminding ourselves that we do this, it happens, and really, I just need to get a boulder in motion that is either stopped, or threatening to stop, and keep it that way, gently. Never mind which category of thing is right. Watch the flood of possible decisions just do its thing. Be wrong and just do. Don’t push yourself to “just do it” and end up in a mental battle about whether or not that is what you are doing. Notice, move ahead anyways. It might be an organizing day, or an organizing 10 minutes. It might be organizing day when those 10 minutes turn into a gloriously useful hyperfocus. That might be the day I ignore the walks I need to recover from post-surgical deconditioning. Or, a walk might spur some better work, and the organizing might get moved along to another day. It is all good. It will all get done, in time, with less of my grip on the schedule and more of my remembering, awareness, and intention.