Identifying potential obstacles ahead of time, and putting things into place to prevent them, will increase the likelihood that ADHDers will complete tasks on time.
by Beth Main
I’m an optimist. My boyfriend said to me the other day, “Your problem is that you expect the best, and when reality doesn’t meet your expectations, you’re disappointed.” I figured he was making a commentary on our varying styles since he tends to be more of a pessimist. (“No, I’m a realist!” he’ll probably correct me when he reads this.) But what he was actually saying was, I was only seeing a positive outcome for the situation we were discussing. I was not considering any of the risks. Therefore, it was likely that I would be blindsided by something unexpected, and disappointed in the end.
Being able to account for potential obstacles is an important ADHD success strategy. If something gets in your way, what will you do? Considering it ahead of time will make it much easier to deal with if it actually happens. For example, say you have a big project due for work or a term paper due for school in three days. You break the project down into manageable pieces and schedule them out, planning to do a third of the work each day. Excellent strategy for avoiding procrastination! You’re all set, assuming all goes according to plan.
But what if it doesn’t? Let’s identify some things that could possibly go wrong with that project: Maybe the person you’re relying on to complete part of it doesn’t deliver. Maybe you forgot about an event you scheduled six months ago. Maybe you won’t be able to resist the temptation to watch the Steelers game on Monday night. Maybe your best friend will call and interrupt you.
Now that you’ve identified the risks, how will you mitigate them? Follow up with the person helping with the project and ask if she’ll have her part done on time. Double check your calendar to make sure you really have the time available. Set up the DVR to record the big game. Spread the word that you’re not available to chat this week, and plan to turn off your phone while you work.
Identifying potential obstacles ahead of time, effectively managing time, and putting things into place to prevent them, will increase the likelihood that your good intentions come to fruition.