May 1, 2018 at 6:03 am #83311
The most frustrating aspect of my ADHD symptoms is the hours, days that go by and I’m planted on my couch. At work, I accomplish tasks like a machine, at home, I am a slug. House disorganized, cluttered. On Friday I always have good intentions to clean and organize over the weekend only to enter Sunday night barely having done anything I intended. It’s torture living this way. I don’t know the solution. Yes, I take medication. I’m almost relieved the weekend is over and I can get back in the office where I accomplish tasks. I wish I could stay focused at home.
May 1, 2018 at 7:29 am #83317
I too waste time sitting on my couch. I find my ADHD harder to control when I am stressed or tired. Some days are a real battle.
May 1, 2018 at 9:25 am #83336
Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially when you’re working harder than most others at work. You are likely able to “perform” at work but not at home due to the level of accountability at each place. At work, you have people holding you accountable for doing the work (the tasks) and you have a big consequence if you don’t perform — no job and no income. At home, you may not have anyone to hold you accountable for getting stuff done, especially if you live alone.
So, the question becomes, how can you add some extrinsic accountability to tasks that take place outside of work? Maybe a friend can be a body double. Maybe you work with an ADHD coach. There are many options.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
May 4, 2018 at 11:32 am #83563
I feel your pain totally!! I am semi retired now–starting a new part time job soon. When I was working full time for years I was so capable. But at home, no motivation or energy or focus. I will be moving in 6-8 weeks, so must get going. Fortunately, where I live there is an excellent Clutterer’s Anonymous group and I have a couple of “body doubles” through that group, who are willing to help me–to just sit there and say “pitch it”. Clutterer’s Anonymous has excellent literature which is uplifting and inspiring! I also have a body double friend who doesn’t judge me and when I have extra money, an excellent body double / organizer who also doesn’t judge me. It can be tricky inviting someone in to help–to find the right person who doesn’t judge.
I have also found help in emails from “A Slob Comes Clean”.
Don’t be hard on yourself and don’t give up. Find ways to motivate yourself–small steps, using a timer.
Also, because it is depressing being at home with clutter, unfinished tasks, etc, I have found that this is motivation for me to find fun things to do that I enjoy with others–reasons to get out of my apartment. At least I am loving life more than if I spend too much time at home alone.
Kimmma ADD survivor
May 7, 2018 at 3:51 pm #83737
I would also add, this is part of your life — our brains poop out more readily, recover more slowly, and require stronger stimuli to get going again. So make your squander time a time for something you might otherwise consider unnecessary, even frivolous. Like, surfing ADHD web sites and spontaneously start replying to posts where you think you can help. 🤪🤓😉😇
May 8, 2018 at 5:02 pm #83816
Sounds like me, too. Especially since I have now developed a severe autoimmune condition, the mental energy just isn’t enough to push my body into enough action. Stress and exhaustion do make everything worse.
Question: Has anyone else in your family tree had clutter tendencies? I am very organized at work, too, but after going thru my Dad’s estate, I see where he struggled mightily are places where I slack off when exhausted. And my mother has mostly clean countertops, but inside the cupboards is another story. I’m not even going to mention the closets. I don’t have that gene. My cupboards are lovely but few, so I have the piles.
May 14, 2018 at 3:41 pm #84197
I completely know how you feel! I work from home a few days per week and have found that it is all about momentum. I have to get the initial momentum to get going first. So I would purposely schedule a phone call or a meeting out of the house first thing in the morning otherwise I would sleep in or just take my sweet time reading the news instead of working. This kind of serves the same function as a body double. You have a reason to get up and going-someone else is counting on you. Good luck!
May 14, 2018 at 3:54 pm #84200
Perhaps it is because at work we have structure and routine and home is more flex….I like the escape from both in my home life…but a point of order is nice as well! I make lists and I enjoy the perk of crossing off the list as completed and also rewriting the new lists. I make progress. Also I time jobs,, five mins to empty the dishwasher and to fold a basket of clothing. I can do them while I am waiting for something else.. (waiting for water to heat for tea!LOL) Not perfect or all encompassing but in the right direction. I figured this out when I was planning big dinner parties..and when i have a list and assign days and times to do certain things…I am calmer and things get done. Anytime you can write a list and anchor it on paper and not have it floating around in your head.. Calmness prevails!!
May 14, 2018 at 4:03 pm #84201
I know for me, I need lots of structure. So I have a daily routine I follow each day. I do this when I wake up, I do this while I am at work, and I do this when I get home. I normally give myself an hour or so to decompress from work. Then I go about taking care of home stuff. Like dinner and a chore or two. The only thing I just relax and give my brain a rest. I tend to be out of spoons by the time I am done with my day.
May 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm #84202
The best advice I can give is to be compassionate with yourself.
You need to be able to listen to yourself more clearly if you want to improve how much “work” you get done at home. I’m still not good at this, but what helps me is to take a moment, acknowledge what I’m doing evaluate how it makes me feel, and then continue.
Sometimes, I notice the stories I’m telling myself.
“If I stop watching tv/doing puzzles/reading/video games, I can’t stop myself from thinking about stressful thing X.”
“I am a failure if I don’t do the dishes.”
“It’s not helpful to just do some of my chores.”
And so on…
The key insight is that these are (most of the time) just stories. They aren’t true or false in any real sense. They’re just things your brain is thinking. AND THATS OK! Most people think thoughts like this! Maybe us ADHD people do it faster? Who cares? The key is noticing when your brain has latched onto one of these stories and digs in and starts driving your emotions to get some adaptation you’ve built into motion.
For me, these patterns tend to drop me into anxiety mode to use the (unpredictable) focusing fuel of andrenaline. Or they send me to something I can hyper focus on to drive any difficult emotion stuff back under.
Neither one is particularly sustainable, so I’ve been working hard on just trying to be honest and kind to myself. This is nearly impossible sometimes! It’s been getting a little easier, though. This _is_ something you can train.
This is the true route to happiness. What good is accountability if you’re going to rip yourself apart when you stray from the path. And this failure WILL happen! If you were able to change how you do things overnight you would have done it the moment you first thought “should”. Make your life better by giving yourself permission to fail.
May 14, 2018 at 5:05 pm #84210
Great feedback. I really appreciate you.
May 14, 2018 at 5:12 pm #84215
Thank you everyone. I also veg on couch with YouTube. Its easy to do fun things but not clean bathroom etc. My counselor says break into small steps. Like make green salad in am for dinner. I also am overwhelmed with a messy room. I ask myself what do i want? To clean floor? I put temporary blinders and have only clean floor. Yes i need structure have hard time
I am also clinically depressed and feel alone because family doesnt understand.
May 14, 2018 at 5:53 pm #84224
Wow, most of the comments seem very familiar…
I can waste hours a day on youtube, netflix, etc.
I also work mainly from home now and have had to work on providing some structure to be able to get things done. Some success with pomodoro type app “Productivity Challenge” it mainly reminds me that time is passing so at least I can break out of it after 30-60 minutes instead of more…
It seems to help to commit to just work on something for 25 minutes or even less.
@Kathy47 Depression is not good…and needs to be taken care of before ADD, at least in my own personal experience…it is one thing to not be able to do boring things vs not being able to anything…
Depression, Anxiety, ADD were the order that I was able to get diagnosed, attempt meds and finally get something working. Along the way CBT was somewhat helpful, mainly to be self-aware of my own moods/symptoms, also to follow advice on asking for med changes.
Still working on the ADD!
May 14, 2018 at 5:57 pm #84227
You hit the nail on the head with the time wasters! I struggle with this too. Something that worked for me in the past is a text-body double.
We’d text each other what our plan was for the next period of time: 30 minutes, an hour or more. We would set our timers and start our respective projects.
When the timer went off, we’d text again to report in. Maybe we got it done or got a good start and want to continue. Something may have come up and can’t keep going. If you can continue, set the next goal and timer again. Take breaks, eat meals but set a timer for that too. You decide what you want to do – with no judging.
I even did this one-sided with a friend but it’s more fun and helpful with someone who understands just how hard this is for us and what exactly we are trying to accomplish (getting off the couch!) and then gives us some much-needed positive feedback.
Flylady has had some good ideas. One is to put your shoes on when you first get up. It tells your body it’s not going back to bed.
Hope this helps. I would welcome a new partner if anyone is interested. I’m a substitute teacher with the summer off and I know I will need help then! May God bless your efforts!
May 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm #84228
I just hired an amazing teenager to help work beside me.
she also calls me to get up for 15 minutes and do something.
Much cheaper than professional organizers and you’re helping a kid earn money.
May 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm #84234
I saw the forum title and immediately thought, every day!! I retired 2 years ago and for the life of me, I cannot find a rhythm to accomplish the things I need to. I have 2 rooms of ‘stuff that needs to be organized, trashed and put away. Everyday I wake up with a plan….every night, nothing’s done, I feel like a loser. My daughter rolls her eyes when I say I’m going to do this or that. My wholefamily thinks I am hoarding,but I just can’t get past a certain point. If they help me, they want to trash everything. If I throw anything of theirs away, they get upset. If It’s mine. It’s trash. When I was at work, I was organized by color. I had memos in date order. I had a system. My mind was organized as well. Explain a text double…I have no sense of time elapsed…if I start to spend 30 mins doing something, I get going and then realize that It’s 2hrs. later and I’m exhausted, I forgot to eat, or feed my disabled husband dinner. One day I missed picking up my Grandson from prep because I was accomplishing something and lost track of time. As I said I feel crazy..did I mention I’m discovering this at age 68?
May 14, 2018 at 8:15 pm #84236
I too have this same problem. I’m self-employed as a Real Estate Broker in Oregon. You are your own Boss. The bad thing for being ADHD is that I’m responsible for my schedule. I start the day with good intentions but my mind gets so wrapped up in all the things I need to do that I get side tracked in something else to avoid the painful. I feel guilty for wasting the day. I’m starting to listen to classical music and turn the TV off in hopes that it will help.
May 15, 2018 at 1:51 am #84250
I’m the same…at work l’m a work machine. Why? Not so many distractions. So, to give me a chance at organizing my place, remove the distractive forces: I turn off the TV and face it toward the wall. The couch I do the same thing and cover it with a sheet. Then I get to work.
I want to stop and watch TV and sit on my sofa so bad, but I’m distracted by the organizing of my house. And as I see progress I don’t want stop until I’m finished.
As a reward I watch TV, with popcorn on my sofa.
May 15, 2018 at 6:25 am #84257
If you are working effectively all week and getting reasonable pay, can you not hire someone to help on the occasional weekend? Having another person to work alongside is quite galvanising. And once you have broken the back of the mess it is quite easy to maintain for some time.
If you cannot cope alone, you cannot. It is not a moral failing, just a glitch in the brain, a glitch we all have if we’re here.
It’s getting started that is so hard – where to begin? Confusion reigns. I go from room to room, starting in twenty places at once, and only creating more chaos.
I spend hour after hour not washing the dishes because everything else is more interesting. Remember, we have interest-based brains, and housework is not fascinating, it is repetitive and tedious.
But we thrash ourselves for not washing the dishes, then we get confused (because it is so easy to do the dishes) and depressed (we’re such a secret slob, if they only knew!), that we take the couch route, which is a hiding-place.
I suggest you move your couch outside into the sunshine and list all the things that you did manage to do. You got up, you ate something, you brushed your teeth, you took out the garbage, you learned something new on Youtube, you dreamed about designing a house, you answered the phone. When you list absolutely everything, you will find you did quite a lot. But what you did may not fit societal norms of the good housekeeper.
OKay, now get up and wash one dish!
May 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm #84318
This is so much the way I am on the weekends, and in the evenings, although I will get up early to go swim on Sat. a.m. I don’t accomplish much after that, though. And, unlike the rest of you, I am no longer as productive at work as I once was; this is bad when one works in a law office where billable hours (or lack thereof) can determine one’s pay raise. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to accomplish getting my laundry done and dishes washed.
I’m 62 and I’ve only recently talked to my family practitioner about the possibility of my having ADD, showed him my results of taking the self-test that I found on this site, and he ended up prescribing Vyvanse for me to take–one capsule a day. It does help with my mood and energizes me, but I’m not sure it has helped equally as much with my ability to stay on task (I’m typing this message right now while I should be working!). I’ve attributed it to being burned out with my job, but I’m not sure that’s all it is. I’ve been a procrastinator as far back as I can recall, and suffered through bouts of depression more recently. Trying to make decisions can be paralyzing at times.
My house and basement are so cluttered and so full of stuff that it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to begin in weeding out … so I don’t. I can’t even seem to break the task down into smaller, manageable chunks. This lack of motivation to do much of anything productive has only gotten worse the older I’ve gotten.
I took heart in reading that I am not the only one who has experienced these difficulties.
May 15, 2018 at 6:49 pm #84323
Since you say you are accomplished at work but not at home, I’ll offer this… many people have the inability to deliver on internal expectations, or plans. I have been reading Gretchen Rubin’s books. Her most recent is specifically about “the Four Tendencies”. She has created a model based on how you respond to external and internal expectations. You are an Obliger if you can do everything anyone else asks you to do but cannot for your life, keep a commitment to yourself. According to her, this has nothing to do with whether you have ADD or not. This is a personality trait. Check her out. I have found it VERY helpful. At least if you understand why you have trouble delivering on your own plans and expectations, then you can help make yourself more accountable to yourself. I have ADD but I do not think my issues in this area of my life (keeping commitments to myself vs others) are related to ADD – they are because I am an “Obliger”. Now the “can’t get your thoughts organized to get off the couch”… that happens to me when I don’t take my medication. I will spin trying to decide what it is I should do first cuz there’s just so many things…. Bur maybe using some of the Four Tendencies strategies would be helpful. Good luck!
May 17, 2018 at 11:33 am #84465
OMG I thought I was the only one who looked forward to Monday and I thought it meant I was a bad mother. It makes so much more sense now reading all these replies. I had a specific area at work. I was a medical transcriptionist. I did not have many distractions. I listened and typed and was VERY GOOD at my job. I did it for 32 years, 15 of those at home. I had no problem getting my work done. I was paid by the line and the more I focused, the faster I typed, the more money I earned. That was incentive!
I retired 7/16 at age 58 due to fibromyalgia after having a frozen shoulder. I was lucky to have been able to transcribe from ages 21-53. I worked 4 more years as director of an assisted living facility. My ability to shift priorities was an asset in that job, but after 4 years I was mentally and physically done.
I thought my house would be clean and organized within 6 months. Ha!
Oh you mean I actually have to DO it, not just think about it?
I use both Flylady and A Slob Comes Clean strategies and am hopeful. I clean my kitchen every night. I swish and swipe my bathrooms nearly every day. I do laundry as soon as I have a load (it’s just me and my DH of almost 40 years). I quilt and sew and that brings it’s own challenges to messiness. But I am trying and coping and do the best I can.
I also have Gretchen Rubin’s books, Better than Before and The Four Tendencies and yes I am an obliger. Do you work to meet other’s expectations to the point of exhaustion? Um yes that’s me. I need to read The Four Tendencies, but even Better than Before was very helpful. I will dig my iPad out and start it today. It’s been on there since it came out!
Here is to accomplishing things today!
May 18, 2018 at 10:16 am #84517
Wow. Thank you all so much for helping me know I am not alone.
I’m a 50 year old medical doctor who realized that I have ADD after my son was diagnosed with it. EVERYTHING you say in this thread applies to me, and has been a problem all of my life.
I found the advice of being compassionate with myself, doing what I can, writing to do lists, and taking pride in the things I do most helpful. Also, start small, but just start.
Am procrastinating leaving for work right now, but am so glad I found you all!
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