Are you like me?
Do you have an overwhelming and out of control to do list?
Even though I have a couple of ways to keep my list manageable, now and then it gets the best of me.
I think a lot of us with ADHD tend to walk around with too much going on in our heads. Our brains are just so busy bouncing from one thing to 312 others that we can’t think straight.
Here are a couple of ways that I try to keep things under control:
- Keep a dump list. A dump list is basically a list of everything you need to do or remember. Mine have gotten as big as 2 pages. Not good. The idea here is by writing things down, you get them out of your head – where they will get lost – and down on a piece of paper so that you can retrieve them. I suggest using either a spiral notebook or a page in your planner rather than a random piece of paper that you will likely use. And no 4,000 sticky notes. Won’t work.
- If it helps you to divide your dump list into categories, do it. For instance, I have to dos for my home and family, myself, my blog, writing in general, and probably more. It helps me see things clearly and prioritize.
- Chose 3 or 4 things to do each day. I know you think that 3 or 4 isn’t nearly enough, but those of us with ADHD always overestimate how much we can get done and then feel guilty when we fail. When I was caring for my dad, I considered it a success if I got 3 things done. That was my mantra: 3 things. And because I was under such stress at the time, when I got to 3, I stopped. You might consider that too.
- Prioritize your to do list. I know that’s hard for those of us with ADHD, but it’s important. Consider what would happen if you didn’t do it and act accordingly. Also realize that some things feel urgent but aren’t really that important or time sensitive.
- Learn to delegate. Do you really have to do it all? Learn to ask for help.
- Lower your standards. I’m not asking you to live in filth or quit taking showers; what I am asking is for you to drop your perfectionist attitude. Those of us with ADHD are perfectionists at heart – believe it or not – and we often procrastinate doing something because we won’t be able to do it perfectly. Learn to embrace a little imperfection.
- Above all, stick with it. You won’t get it right the first time or the fourth, but eventually you will. Keep at it. And when you gradually stop using your system and things start to feel out of control, remember – you’ve done it before and you can do it again. Just begin.
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