Overthinking and Underperforming

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    • #167131

      I analyze and try to prepare for simple tasks. So much so I spend more time in this phase than the task would have taken without “planning”. This sounds so unrelated to ADD yet it does exacerbate and compound my symptoms. Case in point….

      Coupled with this is my unrelenting ability to misplace every essential tool and or material related to a task. I get distracted easily and often times I jump to something else I see that I KNOW I can easily and quickly accomplish. Most always, I have something in my hands related to what I was working on just two seconds ago. I inevitably place that item down to address the “shiny object”. Then back to what I was working on…where is what I was holding to address the original problem?? It can mean backtracking and two or three locations to search as multiple distractions can easily be in play. Any thought processes or mental drills/methods to keep me om point?

    • #167312

      Oh, how I wish I had an answer to this dilemma! To be honest, I found your question while searching for an answer myself. If it offers you any comfort, I experience the exact same thing, so I will continue foraging around many various blogs and sights trying to find a solution that could be tailored to my personal experiences and deficits. As a young adult, I felt like by my age (27) I would have discovered better tools and/or grown out of it a bit.

      So here is the best thing I’ve got: I sing a kind of jingle to myself softly narrating tasks that I’m doing to keep myself more focused. Currently, the most success I’ve had preventing sidetracking thoughts is to softly sing these little songs to myself about the action/task I am doing at that moment. This ADHD hack is something I mostly do at home where I tend to get more carried away inside my own head, alongside our extra bouncy brains.

      The most solidified example, and regular habit that I have of a reminder tune, is when I’m getting ready to leave the house/work or anywhere to travel to a new establishment/place. I utilize it most in the mornings when leaving my apartment for work, as I always tend to be an especially frazzled and of course, often running late.

      The song follows a familiar childhood tune, so it has easily become apart of the routine without me having to try too hard to remember to sing it. Here is “Head and Shoulders” for Adults (especially ADHD)…

      Classic Kids Version: “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes”

      ADHD Adult Version: “Wallet, Glasses, Keys and Phone, Keys and Phone”

      The trick is for it to be intentional, acting to direct your cognitive focus onto the current action. The convenient thing about this tune is that, without having to put words to it, it can be adapted to just a familiar hum. The song or hummed tune can then act as a makeshift blocker to possible cognitive impulses. As you mentioned, we are attracted so easily to these darned “shiny things”. This hack allows the brain to be consciously occupied by both the production and meaning of the auditory signal. Without this hack to engage more of our acute focus on the task at hand, our attention may indeed have been feebly cast aside by these tempting moments of interference, which we know so well.

      I learned this trick from someone a while back now. It has worked amazingly for me in times of disarray. I hope your’e able to use it as is, or utilize the concept in some way at least, to work around and help with your own wonderfully bouncy brain!

      Post a response here if you dig up any other solutions or tricks, I’m dying to find some new ones!
      Cheers! + Happy Bouncing 🙂

    • #167451

      Your overthinking can be thought of as analysis paralysis and you are hyperfocusing (the “H” in ADHD.) Classic ADHD. Of all the symptoms, signs, and characteristics of ADHD, I think this is the worst when it goes bad This is one of the main reasons so many people take the meds…it’s to get focused and decisive. I recently unmasked this characteristic in myself and I continue to battle with it every single day. Even today.

      I have planned out entire businesses before, writing detailed Business Plans, opening business checking accounts, attending seminars, buying expensive equipment, and researching vendors to buy products from but failing to work on sales…getting clients. That to me, is boring. A central problem with this lack of follow through is that the task one is supposed to work on is not as interesting as the shiny bling and that makes the bling more satisfying to accomplish. When you begin to get that dopamine rush, it entices you further to pursue the shiny bling rather than what you are suppose to work on. It can be awful and it will never cease unless you take steps to overcome it. Many people with ADHD can quickly suffer from addiction because of that recurring Dopamine rush. Hyperfocusing can be a good thing or a bad thing. The challenge is to acknowledge when it is a bad thing.

      Before going to bed, I make my to do list for tomorrow then I prioritize it (#1, #2, etc.) Then next to the task, I write down how much time I will spend on the task. Be realistic and imagine your boss putting pressure on you to finish within the next 30 minutes (or whatever.) The next day, I only look at the first task and start a timer. I always keep in mind that after about 20-25 minutes, unless I am working on a major project that I want to hyperfocus on, I stand up and get UNFOCUSED. This is important because if I fall down a rabbit hole, I won’t know it, the alarm will snap me out of it, AS LONG AS I STAND UP AND WALK AWAY FOR at least 1 minute. That is key. This is why the To Do list or task list is so important. It provides structure and discipline to complete and that structure is a key element in getting you out of the starting gate. You’ll begin to recognize when the shiny bling bling has become a distraction look the other way, and move forward. But to make this work, you need that structure and then be disciplined by working within the structure or scope of the project. Everything else becomes white noise. But be disciplined.

      This is and will continue to be a challenge for you unless you either find a med that helps you to focus or you recognize this characteristic and decide to actively take steps that will keep you focused, without distraction. For many of us, ADHD is all about distraction (over planning in your case) and the ability to reduce it and maintain being focused and engaged. I recommend reading, “Driven to Distraction” and “Driven From Distraction” for more insight on distraction.

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