“I’ll Do It Later,” and Other Kinds of ADHD Magical Thinking

If your ADHD isn't fully managed, you may be guilty of "magical thinking" — a common problem for ADHD adults.

An adult male with ADHD, guilty of magical thinking about time management

Do you have ADHD, and have you ever made one of these statements?

“I’ll do it later.”

“I’ll just finish this page/article/e-mail/task first.”

“This won’t take much time.”

“I’ll remember to do it. Don’t worry.”

These are lies that adults with ADHD tell themselves. We don’t lie deliberately. We don’t think that they’re lies. We really do believe that we will “do it later.”

But we rarely do. This leads to frustration, stress, and negative feelings for us, our spouses, family, colleagues, and friends. The problem is that all the good intentions in the world are useless by themselves. ADHDers think that if we intend to do something, it will get done, magically, and we don’t have to plan to make it happen.

The statements above are basic examples of delusional optimism or magical thinking. Everyone has delusional optimism sometimes, but ADHD adults seem to have it more than others.

Next time you catch yourself telling one of these lies, stop, take a step back, and get grounded. Become more present and ask yourself, “When, exactly, will ‘later’ be?” “How will I plan to do this?” “How will I remember to do this?” “What will happen if I forget to do this?”

We ADHDers are forgetful, so it is hard for us to learn from past mistakes. We need to ask these questions, so that even when we’re indulging in magical thinking, we can quickly step into reality.

—Adapted from addcoach4u.com

TAGS: Adult ADD: Late Diagnosis, Deadlines and Procrastination, To Do Lists

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