In my last post, I talked about living life in the ADD Lane – scheduling too much into your day and then frantically trying to get it all done, usually at the last minute. Here are some tips to get you out of the ADD Lane more often:
- Realize that you have a tendency to overbook yourself. You know what they say: knowing that you have a problem is the first step in solving it.
- Remember that you have this tendency every time you make a commitment or write a to-do list. Try writing a note to yourself in your planner or calendar to remind you – something like “Just Say NO”.
- Use a planner or calendar system that lets you block out chunks of time for your appointments or tasks. Most people with Attention Deficit Disorder are visually oriented, so this method can be very effective in letting you see what your day looks like.
- Presumably you are estimating how long each task or appointment will take. A good rule of thumb, at least until you get used to this system, is to take that time and double it. So for instance, if you think it will take you 30 minutes to write a report, allow yourself an hour. You’ll be surprised at how often you need that extra time.
- Another version of this trick is to take your to-do list (including appointments) and cut it in half. Do half today and the other half tomorrow – kind of like what I did with this post and the one before it.
- Start keeping track of how long common tasks take, so that you’ll be more accurate when scheduling them. Time yourself when driving to places you often go, too, and take traffic into account if that’s an issue where you live.
- If you really feel that everything on your daily schedule must be done, and you’ve got a lot to do, get some help. Learn to delegate and let go a little bit. Spouses, kids, neighbor’s kids, and hired help are all options.
- Think outside the box. Start by re-arranging your day so that your time is spent more productively. For instance, if you’ve got a lot of errands to do, map them out so you’re not going out of your way. Try to schedule phone calls, appointments, and errands during non-peak hours. Finally, think about what you’re doing: is there an easier, more effective way to get it done? Can you make a phone call instead of a visit? Can you call, fax, or email ahead, and have whatever you need ready for you to pick up? It never hurts to ask.
- Learn to value your time, and yourself. Is this really how you want to spend your days and your life? Take a hard look at what you schedule into your days. Look back through your planner or calendar. Is this time well spent? If not, ditch the guilt and learn to say no. You’re entitled.
One final note: most of the tips here apply more to adults with Attention Deficit Disorder than children or adolescents with ADD. This site is for ADD moms, too, so that’s OK. Once we get closer to the start of school, I will re-visit this topic with tips for ADD kids.