The Problem with Planning Ahead

I didn't procrastinate! I managed my time. This time, I didn't put things off — but trying to outsmart my ADHD brain hasn't kept me from getting slammed.
Executive Dysfunction | posted by Katy Rollins | Thursday July 18th - 2:15pm
Filed Under: ADHD Time Management, Deadlines and Procrastination
Floating Clocks, ADHD and procrastination

I forgot to tell my husband ahead of time. Have I mentioned we both have ADHD?

— Katy Rollins

There’s a funny thing I’ve learned in the past few years. See, about...wow, about four years ago now, I called a community mental health center and said, “I’m pretty sure I have ADHD and an anxiety disorder. Who do I talk to?"

Once a trio of specialists interviewed me and put me through a battery of questions, I received my diagnosis. At that point, I began therapy with a really terrific therapist who didn’t appear to find me odd at all. (I don’t mean to be presumptuous, but I’m betting that most adults with ADHD are familiar with that “They’re going to think I’m weird, aren’t they?” feeling.) We set some therapeutic goals that had to do with learning to manage my ADHD in my daily life — because, you know, if I had been managing it effectively in the first place I wouldn’t have called them to begin with. One of the things I decided I wanted to work on was trying not to do things at the last minute. Now it takes a little time to dissect one’s quirks, and I have a lot of different reasons for putting things off:

1. If you start, there’s a chance you may fail. This probably has nothing to do with ADHD and more to do with anxiety. But it’s probably all related anyway, so why be picky?

2. If you start, you may finish — and then what? This may not make sense to everyone, but I don’t like down time or waiting time, so for me, this is terrifying.

3. If you start, you may have to struggle through times where your brain doesn’t want to cooperate.

4. Honestly while I’m pretty obsessive and like to overthink certain kinds of details, I also love to fly by the seat of my pants. It’s exciting, and I work pretty well under pressure. In fact, sometimes I have difficulty being productive without pressure.

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons that a perfectly intelligent adult with ADHD might want to avoid taking immediate action, or planning ahead for a life event or obligation.

So this whole clothing line launch thing...yeah. Well, I planned this way in advance. I guess I’m glad that I did, but I have to say, feel like I’ve netted the same result as if I’d procrastinated.

1. (Sorry, I am way into enumerated lists today.) I planned this thing six months ago. Probably should have done it further out but for me, this is a good lead time. I just knew I needed a public deadline to motivate myself to finish.

2. I forgot to tell my husband ahead of time that I would need unobstructed work time for the week leading up to the event. In the time that I’ve known him I haven’t been immersed in my sewing business, so he had no way of knowing this need might exist.

3. He is a professional musician and because he didn’t know that I might need that lead time during the week of an event...he scheduled himself to be in the recording studio this past weekend. Which put me in charge of the kids.

4. Have I mentioned that we both have ADHD?

5. Headdesk.

6. So we learned some important lessons going forward about communication.

7. However, in this week leading up to the event...holy crap, I don’t even know how I’m going to get everything done.

8. Can someone remind me why I bothered to plan ahead?

Wake me up when it’s next week. In the meantime, I can’t help but wonder: Where would I be right now if I had not planned ahead?!

 

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