It is important for those of us with ADHD to deal with overwhelming tasks one step at a time.
by Beth Main
“Take it one step at a time” is sound advice for anyone when things get overwhelming. It’s especially helpful for those of us with ADHD.
If the whole project is too much to deal with, just identify the first step and focus on that.?? I take this advice literally as a transitioning strategy. When I’m lying on the couch watching TV or reading a book, and it’s time to go to bed, it’s almost impossible to get up. Turning off the TV and making the arduous climb up all 14 stairs seems like way more than I can handle. So I procrastinate. ??
I know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep and I really want to be able to focus tomorrow. I won’t be able to do that without enough sleep. So I do what any responsible person would do: focus on my left foot.
All I have to do is put that one foot flat on the ground, next to the couch. It takes every ounce of energy, but I can do that much. Then I wait about 30 seconds to get used to this somewhat uncomfortable position. Then I focus on my right foot. I put it flat on the ground, next to my left foot. Do you realize how hard it is to lay on the couch with both of your feet flat on the floor? It’s very hard. It’s much easier to just sit up.
Once you’re sitting, with just a little more effort, you can be standing. Does this sound crazy? Slightly ridiculous? Maybe. But it works for me every time. ??Late night TV watching not your demon? How about the internet? I have one for that too: Just click the “X”.?? Like the TV, it takes Herculean effort to resist the internet’s late-night charm. If I think about stopping my research and making that arduous climb up all 14 stairs, it’s just too much. So I focus on the little “X” in the upper right corner of my browser window. I just have to click it, and like magic, the internet is gone. And I can get some sleep.??
Transitioning is hard for people with ADHD, especially when we’re hyperfocused and tired. This strategy just might make it a little easier.