When trying to create change there are common mistakes that people make.
So, of course, as an adult with ADHD, you probably are making some of these same mistakes while you are trying to manage your ADHD. If you are making these missteps now, don’t worry. Because, as you become aware of them, you can learn how to sidestep them.
And then the journey of learning to manage your ADHD will be far less frustrating, easier, and, yes, even enjoyable.
#1 Thinking Your Challenges Are Like Everyone Else’s
You may start your journey of managing your ADHD, as many do, by focusing on your challenges, telling yourself…
- “I need to plan better.”
- “I want to work faster.”
- “I have to be better organized.”
- “I need systems, structure and processes…!”
But have you taken the time to learn how your brain works? That is, how are your ADHD symptoms affecting your ability to accomplish what you want? Without first understanding this it is hard to create effective workarounds.
For example, a common challenge for Adults with ADHD is a poor memory. Once you acknowledge this, you can stop saying, “I’ll remember that.” Instead, you can commit to figuring out how to remember what you want.
# 2 Thinking It Will Be Easy
You may also start out reading some books, scouring the internet, listening to some podcasts… And, as you are devouring the information, you think, “Huh, that looks easy. I’ll try that.”
So you give some of the strategies a try. Some work. And, when others don’t work, you get frustrated and maybe even give up, saying “It looked so easy! Why can everyone else do this and I can’t?”
You may be confusing two very different concepts, easy and simple.
Many out of the box strategies often seem fairly straight forward, simple. At least their explanation makes them seem so…. But the process of carrying them out is often not easy.
A good example of this is David Allen’s Getting Things Done. In his introduction he says:
“…everything I propose is easy to do. It involves no new skills at all. You already know how to focus, how write things down, how to decide on outcomes and actions, and how to review options and make choices.”
As an adult with ADHD, you know that doing the above is not necessarily easy, though it sounds simple.
But here is the good news! As with many other examples, even if you may struggle with these skills now, you can learn them as long as you are patient and compassionate with yourself along the way.
#3 Wanting To Do “It” Like Everyone Else
Part of the reason you think it (whatever”it” is) will be easy is that you look around and see other people operating with what seems to be considerable ease. Of course, if it is so easy for others, you would want to do it like them. Makes sense!
But, if you have not learned how to operate in a way that honors how you work best, including in a way that works with your ADHD, you may fall short. So, wanting to do it like everyone else can leave you feeling ashamed and frustrated.
What if you decided you don’t need to do it like everyone else?!
What if instead you figured out what works best for you? To see how this might work in your professional life, check out “Creating A Work Environment That Works With Your ADHD” Part I, Part II and Part III.
I think you will find that the journey is easier for you when you learn how to do it your way.
#4 Expecting Change To Happen Quickly
And when you are ready to manage your ADHD you may want all the changes you envision to happen soon, like yesterday! Maybe you want it to look like this: Choose – Implement – All Better.
Who wouldn’t want this?!
Of course, you know the process of learning new ways of operating are not as linear as you might like because it takes time to unlearn old habits and learn new habits that serve you better.
Yet, you may still have this “Quickie Mart” picture in your head. If this is the vision you are carrying around, you will likely become easily discouraged when the changes you want do not happen overnight. The key is to make sure your vision of how you plan to create change in your life, including managing your ADHD, matches what you know about how change happens.
You know it takes time. So, once you are committed to taking action to manage your ADHD, allow yourself the time and space to
- take on only as much as you have the capacity
- deal with inevitable setback as they come up
- determine what is working and build your toolbox of best practices
The journey will definitely feel better when your expectations match what is, right?
#5 Trying To Do It Perfectly
And what about perfectionism? Do you have a picture of what it will be like when you are managing your ADHD perfectly?
Maybe you imagine…
- getting your work done a couple of days before the deadlines
- arriving to places on time – every time
- following through on every commitment you make – no dropped balls anymore
- never speaking out of turn
Yet, I bet you would not expect others to be able to do all of this.
If you are striving to be perfect, you are setting yourself up by having unrealistic expectations. Because, of course, perfect does not exist and the costs of striving for it is just too great.
For most of us good enough is the best we can do. So, envision what good enough might look like for you. And then acknowledge and appreciate the success in striving and making incremental changes.
After all, many people do not try or quit because they can’t do it perfectly. You don’t want that to be you.
#6 Thinking You Can Do It Alone
And we all need help. It is too hard to go through life trying to do everything by ourselves. And that help can come from many sources, including friends, family, colleagues and professionals.
It could be you are resisting asking for what you need because you think you should be able to do it on your own. Yet, you may be more than willing to help others in need. Hmmm… Interesting, don’t you think?
Think about where you need help, ranging from the mundane details of life to the more important, like…
- finishing your report
- managing your ADHD
- cleaning the garage
- doing your finances /taxes
- building your business
Rather than struggle alone or give up when the going gets tough, reach out and ask for help. Because in this regard you are like everyone else – you need help, too.
If you are not sure what kind of help you need, your first step is to ask for help figuring this out. Please take advantage of my Complimentary Consultations to help you determine what kind of support is best for you.
Question For You
Where will you shift your way of thinking so you can make the process of managing your ADHD easier?