In my last post I suggested that, if you want to excel in areas in your life, the first step is to choose those areas and then dedicate the necessary time and energy. That is probably obvious to you, right?
But, because choosing — making a decision — is also one of the challenges for Adults with ADHD, you may not have put your stake in the ground, yet. And you may need help to do so with confidence.
Once you do choose, one of the next steps is to eliminate non-essential tasks as much as possible to make sure you have the time and space to stay committed to your path. Otherwise, you will likely have to keep pulling up stakes, and you probably already know what this is like.
Over the next couple of posts I will walk you through different ways you can clear your way to doing what is important to you.
So, let’s start on that journey.
I can hear it now.
“Great, thanks, Marla… But what do I do with all of my current commitments and the gazillion requests that come my way on a regular basis? Those are essential, too. How do I deal with all of that noise?”
Stay with me.
Since the suggestions below and in following posts are for the long haul, give yourself permission to start small now.
“Where is it possible for me to adopt this idea in some format so I can eliminate some of the extraneous noise in my life.”
It needs to work for you.
What Does It Mean To Set Boundaries?
One of the best ways for Adults with ADHD to eliminate the non-essential is to set boundaries.
If you don’t set and honor boundaries for yourself, not only will you feel as though people are taking advantage of you at times, but you will likely also need to revisit some of the same questions again and again.
That takes a lot of the time and energy you could use elsewhere — doing what is essential for you.
But, when you set a boundary, you are making the decision that:
- “People may not…”
- “I have the right to ask for…”
- “So I can focus on what I decide is essential it is ok for me to…”
One way to set boundaries is to let people know about your rules in advance.
No doubt, revisiting the same problem again and again is exasperating. So, it feels great when you make a decision that allows you to stop having to grapple with the same question over and over.
Over the years I have adopted rules in my business that honor both my needs and my clients’.
So, as you read about my experience below, I hope you will think about where you might adopt rules in your personal and professional life so you don’t have to just roll the dice…
One of the reasons I started my coaching practice was so I could have the flexibility and time to create an environment that would allow me to focus on what was essential to me — my family, our well-being and my profession.
In order to do this I decided from the beginning to:
– only have regularly scheduled clients’ appointments Monday – Thursday, 7:00 am – 3:30 pm.
– use Fridays to work on my business, as well as tend to home administrative tasks.
– not conduct any business, including email, after about 3:00 pm on Friday until Sunday morning.
In the beginning setting these boundaries was a little scary. I wondered, “Would I lose prospective clients because I did not have evening hours — was not flexible?” In the early days of my business I often wondered if I was making the right decision.
But I stuck with it. And, though in the beginning I often questioned my decision, I’ve only lost one prospect in 8 years because our schedules didn’t sync up.
This schedule allows me to focus on my clients and practice during the day, and then turn my attention to personal and family matters after 3:30. Well, most of the time. Stuff happens, and it is never that perfect, of course. But most of the time it works….
It works, in part, because I’ve also accepted the trade-offs that come along with my schedule.
One of the trade-offs is that I start super early with my first client at 7 am, and spend an hour writing before my first meeting. And some days I don’t have much free time during the day.
Not a schedule for night owls, for sure!
But I’m willing to have the problems — trade-offs — that come with my decision to have this schedule.
Of course, I don’t expect you to adopt the same rules!
Where Will You Set A Rule?
Setting rules in advance will help you:
- avoid having to say “no” later.
- manage others’ expectations.
- know you have buy in from others in advance.
- avoid revisiting the same question again and again.
Decide where you want to set a rule by answering the following questions:
1.Where are you often uncertain whether you want to say “yes” or “no.” And this uncertainty is a drain on your energy.
In my case I let prospects know about my schedule, and trust that they can make a decision that works for them. Clients also do not expect to hear from me from Friday afternoon until Sunday.
Where could you set a rule so you can definitively say “yes” or “no.”
2. Where are you not managing expectations? Maybe you made a decision, rule, but did not let others know. And this lack of communication is leading to confusion and disappointment.
One of my rules is that I return all client emails within 24 hours. But not on Saturday. I let them know about the exception to the 24 hour rule. Rather than being disappointed in my lack of timeliness, they usually respond with, “That is a great idea!”
Where could you make and let others know of your rule to better manage expectations?
3. Where do you find you are revisiting the same problem again and again? And it feels like you are constantly in the spin cycle.
In my example, when a prospect says that evening times would work better for them, I get it. And I am totally empathetic. Sometimes I even think, “Well should I…?” It is not easy sticking to rules / boundaries.
But, in the end, I also trust that they will make the right decision for themselves. That is, they can choose to have the problem — tradeoff — of meeting with me at what for them is a less than ideal time. Or not.
Where could you establish a rule so you can solve a problem once and for all?
What did you decide?
Go ahead, take a leap. Make a rule to help you focus on what is important to you.
Get in touch, and we can talk about coaching options that may be right for you.