Ease the Emotional Burden of “Possibility Clutter”

The ADHD brain thrives on stimulation. It generates ideas and excitement about the future — and leaves behind lists, shoe boxes, and myriad Pinterest boards that only contribute to our daily clutter. Here, learn how to simplify without deleting your dreams.

A pile of clothes left over from an unfinished project
Pile of clothes in front of a dresser

The ADHD brain has a fantastic take on the world, motivated by the search for optimal stimulation. Generating ideas and seeing the potential of things produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can keep you mentally engaged when you might otherwise be unmotivated.

You might have this special trait, which I call “possibility enthusiasm,” if you’ve ever said something like…

  • “When I retire, five years from now, I might look into Costa Rica. Let’s hold onto those brochures and travel CDs.”
  • “I have a million ideas about what to do with my old t-shirts. Let’s keep them for now.”
  • “My social media accounts do take up a lot of time. But I might miss something important if I drop some. Let’s arrange my schedule around them.”

Enthusiasm for the possibilities of the future is wonderful and stimulating, but it can also be troublesome. It leads to a clutter of unfinished projects, a trail of unrealized intentions, and a squeeze on the schedule. When I encounter it in my clients’ organizing and time management sessions, I recommend the following strategies:

  1. Practice just-in-time knowledge. Information gets as rotten as bananas if gathered too soon. For the freshest information, give up those older brochures and CDs now, and get fresh apps, DVDs, an online class, or podcasts when you are closer to retirement.
  2. Take a project, any project, and stick a start date for it in your calendar. Voila! Now that t-shirt project is part of an actual schedule, which improves your chances of getting it done by a zillion percent
  3. Avoid FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It’s true. You might miss something important if you cull your social media activities. You might not. You don’t know. Weigh the odds of missing out against the certainty that subtracting, rather than adding more, media activities will gain you more time in your life.

[Free Resource: 22 Clutter-Busting Strategies]