How to Tackle that Huge Project -- Now!

Large, multi-step projects are overwhelming to people with ADHD. Here's how to tackle them successfully.

ADD-Friendly Living, Part 2

Get to work.

Analyze what needs to be done to complete each task, make necessary decisions, and so on. As you move each part forward to completion, be aware that your overall action plan may change. That's fine. You need to be flexible in order to take advantage of new ideas and information that crop up.

Moving the treadmill. Since you can't move the treadmill until you find a place it will fit, you need to look through your house for a suitable location.

As it turns out, there's space in the laundry room closet, but only enough for one of those new, fold-up treadmills (your old model is too bulky). Keeping a treadmill in the laundry room sounds like a great idea: You think, 'I could exercise and keep an eye on the laundry at the same time - no more forgetting to put those just-washed loads in the dryer."

You decide to get rid of the old treadmill and buy one that will fit in the laundry room closet when not in use. So you call around, do a little research, and order a new treadmill. And guess what? The deliverymen can come in five days! They'll bring the new treadmill and take away the old one. As a bonus, you'll receive a hefty trade-in allowance on the old treadmill.

Calling for installation of the new jack. Since the technician will be there anyway, you decide to have a cable jack installed in the den, as well.

Cleaning out the desk. Find a relatively free day in your planner and set aside part of that day or the evening to complete this project. Toss old papers, pens, and pencils. Decide what supplies (including storage bins) you will need to stock your new office.

Ordering the bins. Check out your favorite Web sites, and order bins for delivery in three to five days. Don't obsess. Set a limit on how long you will look for them -- and use a timer to stick to it. You can always add more bins after you've worked with this new arrangement for a while.

Good news: The bins you want are on sale. And you didn't get overwhelmed, the way you do when you walk into a gigantic store. As you go about ordering the bins, you realize that you need a power strip -- so you order that and other supplies online at the same time.

Moving the desk into your bedroom. Pick a day and time when someone strong (a spouse, a neighbor) is available to help you. Ta-da! In less than a week, the entire project is complete.


Your desk is set up, your computer is hooked up to the Internet, and you have a new treadmill in the laundry room. Now you can get to work in your new office -- and get going again on that exercise program!

This article appears in the June/July issue of ADDitude.
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To share project planning tips, visit the ADHD Adults support group on ADDConnect.

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TAGS: To Do Lists, Organization Tips for ADD Adults

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