Overcoming Overwhelm

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If you have ADHD then you know what being overwhelmed feels like. So much to do and no clear place to begin.

Lately I’ve been experiencing overwhelm myself. I have a lot of projects that I want to work on and a lot of ideas in my head but I’m just not sure where to start.

Christine Kane writes a wonderful blog that I’ve been reading for years. Christine’s audience tends to be creative types who have trouble with day to day tasks.

Sound familiar?

Here is what Christine has to say:

Creative types are often challenged by the practical day-to-day stuff of life. To-do’s, organization, finances, getting things done. NONE of this comes easy to them! Overwhelm becomes a way of life.

One of the posts at Christine’s Blog is called “Overcoming Overwhelm: 5 Practical Secrets to Peaceful Productivity”.

Here is a summary of Christine’s 5 tips. I do encourage you, though, to read the whole article for more detail.

Make a weekly plan. I agree with Christine; Sundays are the perfect day for this. Take a look at what you have coming up for the week in terms of activities or appointments. List 3 things that you absolutely need to get done this week. Schedule things like exercise and time for yourself.

Break down your to do list. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Treat your to do list the same. Organizing the house or clearing the clutter is not a to do; it’s a whole bunch of to do’s in a big project. Break it down to smaller bites. Organize the linen closet or clear out the pantry for instance.

Make reasonable goals. Set your goals realistically. Feeling a sense of accomplishment is wonderfully motivating. It’s important that you focus on just a few things for the week. You don’t need to see your entire to do list, volumes 1 & 2. Also remember that things like housework are never ending. Set an end for each day and work towards that.

Set a timer. Christine’s idea is to set a timer for a specific task and work only on that. Her theory is that the timer keeps you from wandering away to do other things. I would also add that a timer can be a good motivator and is also excellent for finding out how long things really take. I hate mopping the kitchen floor but when I found out it only took 15 minutes (even though it felt like 90), it was easier for me to just do it.

Stop all or nothing thinking. Those of us with ADHD tend to be perfectionists. Yes, it’s true, despite how imperfect your life may seem. Often we procrastinate over doing something because we are waiting for that perfect moment. Guess what? It doesn’t exist. Practice aiming for good enough instead.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of Lacyestelle.com and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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