Are you in charge of your life, or is Attention Deficit Disorder running it?
Do you make plans, or come up with projects that never get completed? Or if they do, it’s either late or not your best effort? Are there things in your life you’d like to do that you just never get around to?
It’s easy to blame Attention Deficit Disorder when that happens, and actually it’s a pretty valid excuse.
You don’t have to make excuses, though. You can change things around with some effort and perseverance.
Setting goals and following through on them isn’t something that people with ADHD are good at doing. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though.
If you start with a clear idea of what you’re aiming for, and then break it down into small, easily accomplished steps, then you’re halfway there. The next key is to implement the steps on a regular basis.
Needless to say, your first goals ought to be somewhat small.
For those of us with ADHD, the first problem occurs when we attempt to break our goal down into smaller steps – first do this, then do that. That’s sort of a linear activity and our brains aren’t wired that way.
You might find it easier to start with a mind map and add steps as you think of them. In a mind map, there’s no linear order, so it’s much easier for our brains to work with it.
You might also want to work with someone for the first time or two to get you used to this new process. It could be a coach, but it could just as easily be a friend or loved one.
Remember not to get discouraged if you forget a step – that will happen at first. Also remember to make the steps small and doable in a day – not all day – just a couple of hours at most.
If you work at it, you can begin to follow through and really accomplish the things you want. That puts you in charge, not your ADHD.
I just learned about mindmaps recently, and love them. At first I was thinking, what am I going to do with all these words jumbled on a page in no particular order??? Then I realized, unbelievably, that my brain loved seeing everything on one page, in no order, and being able to pick and choose what it needed at that specific point in time. Ordered chaos, I guess. Whatever it is, my brain loves it.
Diane – I know, it’s the coolest thing. It completely takes the pressure off in terms of ordering things and lets your mind do what it does best! I don’t usually add pictures to mine, but I like using color. Even just pen and paper still works better than any other method.
I am very interested in this. I feel like I will hyper-focus if I start. What things should I do first? I have so many thoughts rollling around in my head–housekeeping, menu-making, work and lesson planning—where do I start mindmapping without spending an entire day doing it and not getting anything actually done?
Cindy – set some boundaries first. All of the ideas you mentioned are really big ones. Scale them down – instead of housekeeping, how about cleaning the kitchen? Menu planning – this week’s menu. Work – this week’s schedule. Lesson planning – scale back by subject and time frame. Maybe this week’s math lessons.
Then set a time limit to work on whichever you choose. An hour ought to be plenty. Set a timer to remind you to stop.
Get your supplies together and find a place to store them. I keep all of my colored markers and pens in a plastic box. I use them for mind mapping as well as journaling. I keep them in my home office along with my journal and a spiral notebook. Everything is always at hand and ready to use.
You might like to use big sheets of paper for your mind maps, or just regular sized sheets of paper. You could keep them all in a spiral notebook – or maybe designate a notebook for each subject – housekeeping, etc. Some times I post mine on my bulletin board.
You really should give this a try. You seem very interested, and it can really give your mind the kind of environment it needs to make connections and work the way it’s designed to. Let me know how it goes.