Like Herding Cats

Doesn’t that just describe much of our lives perfectly?

Herding cats.

 

Lately that’s how my life has felt.

Chaotic and out of control.

Like I have too many things to do and don’t know where to begin.

Overwhelmed?

Oh yeah.

So how do you get out of this mode?

How do you create order and calm and still get things done?

It’s not quick and it’s not easy, but it can be done.

Here’s how:

Start with a dump list.

Write down everything that needs to be done or is on your mind.

Here’s mine:

My Dump List

My Dump List

Now we have to learn to prioritize, because those of us with ADHD aren’t really good at setting priorities.

Start by looking at everything that has a deadline or date attached to it.

My daughter is getting married on the 27th of this month in San Diego, so a lot of the things on my list are about the wedding and therefore have a high priority – not to mention a high stress level.

Flag those things on your dump list and add the due date if you think it will help. Since I know the due date on mine, I elected not to add it, with the exception of laundry which has a due date of 8/9/16. I should note that it is now 8/12/16 and the laundry has yet to be done. One of the perks of having ADHD. 😉

Now take a look at your calendar. You’re going to need to find the time to get those things done.

It might help you to estimate how long they will take and if you need a certain place to do them, or maybe you need something like a computer or a printer; maybe you need to gather some supplies beforehand.

Don’t overlook time like when you’re watching TV or playing on the computer. Some of the things on your list could be done while you’re watching your favorite shows or even during commercials.

And maybe you could reward yourself with some computer time after you’ve knocked out a few things on your list.

Once you’ve figured out your time frame, you need to schedule those things into your days, just like appointments.

I know you may think that scheduling things like doing the laundry is a bit ridiculous, but we need all the structure we can get. You might even want to go so far as to add an alarm on your phone to remind you of tasks you need to get done.

Try to space things out as much as you can so you don’t burn out, but let’s be real here: don’t view spacing things out as “oh, I’ll do this in a week or two”. You know that doesn’t work. Oh, and don’t forget about the other people living in your house. Learn to delegate to lighten your load. Miss Princess Bride will definitely be getting her hands dirty with some of the wedding preparations.

I say this because I can totally see myself approaching the week before the wedding with almost none of those things done and then making myself crazy trying to get them done all at once.

And has anyone noticed that the wedding is a little more than 2 weeks away and I have yet to book our flights or our hotel?

Getting some of the things done on your dump list should begin to help you feel a little more calm and in control.

But let’s be honest: there will always be things to be added to your dump list. It’s like laundry – it’s never ending.

Notice that I have yoga on my dump list?

That’s there for a few reasons. As I’ve gotten older, my body doesn’t work like it used to when I was younger.

For instance, I found out that the pain in ankles or knees is actually related to my lower back, which has always needed special care. Yoga helps me strengthen my back, eliminates some of that pain, and keeps me from being so stiff after I’ve sat in a chair for too long.

Yoga is also good for my mental health. It calms me down and relaxes me and I really need that.

What do you need to help you calm down and relax, other than a glass of wine? Could you add that to your dump list too?

Finally, as we work on our dump list and getting things done, we also need to be aware of our general surroundings. Our lives would be easier and less overwhelming if we had a clean and organized home.

And yes, I realize that that is the Holy Grail we are all seeking – how to get and keep a clean and organized home.

Sounds like a whole other herd of cats, right?

We need to take things a little at a time, and to do so in a way that doesn’t make us stressed or crazy. That’s for another post.

Right now – and for months, actually – there is a pile of wedding related stuff that generally lives on my living room coffee table. Sometimes it moves to the kitchen island but it’s never put away. I’m not necessarily happy with that, but I can live with it for now. It has it’s own due date.

I have created a little cheat sheet for you to help make sense of your dump list and how it works. You can get it here.

MyDumpListCheatSheet

 

 

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About Brenda Nicholson

I am an ADHD Expert, Coach, and Consultant. I want you to learn how to celebrate your life with ADHD too.

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