One of the best ways to both work with your ADHD and be productive is not do certain tasks that, yes, definitely need to get done.
And I’m not suggesting you drop or defer them, which certainly are options.
I’m only suggesting you do not do them.
You are probably wondering, “How is that possibly a good idea, Marla?!”
Hang with me for a bit and let’s find out…
Your ADHD and Should Statements
Sure, everyone makes mistakes.
But, if you are like many other adults with ADHD, you may feel like you often miss the mark.
And, as a result of a life time of perceived mistakes, you might feel a sense of shame. So, in an effort to prove yourself and counter this feeling, you may take on too much.
For example, you think you should:
- take on projects at work without question even though your plate is already over flowing.
- volunteer when asked before you even figure out if you have time to fulfill the requirements.
- undertake a home project even though you are not sure you really know how to do it.
Then, when you become overwhelmed because you have too much on your plate, you may resist doing the task and even completely shut down.
Subsequently, you likely feel guilty, frustrated and even more ashamed because you are not following through on your commitments.
You may even get angry, frustrated and resentful at the person who asked you to do the task, leading you to act in ways that are out of integrity with how you want to be.
And this is all because you are adhering to rules about how you need to behave even though these rules are not serving you.
The alternative is to closely examine your shoulds, and decide where you are willing to break your rules about what tasks you need to do yourself.
I’m the Only One Who Can Do This!
You can start by asking yourself, “Is this a task only I can do?” But, just a heads up, you may find it is not easy to come up with a definitive answer.
Because you have thoughts swirling about in your head, like the ones below.
1.“If I give it to ________, he/she won’t do it the way I want.”
Part of your reluctance to delegate in cases like this is you might not want to take the time necessary to explain what you want so they can meet your expectations. It might help to consider how the upfront investment of time will save you time in the long run.
Even after a thorough explanation the person might not do it exactly the way you want. Ask yourself, “Can I let go of my expectations a bit and accept the finished product as good enough?”
2. “It is just easier to do it myself.”
This is definitely a common refrain I hear from clients.
In part this is true because, as an Adult with ADHD, you may be prone to think about the here and now, the short run. And, in the short run, it really might be easier to do a particular task yourself.
So, when you find yourself thinking, “It is just easier to do it myself,” try thinking of the consequences in the long run. Might it be easier down the road, in the long run, if the task was off your plate?
3. “I’ll just have to do it over, if I ask ______ to do it.”
Of course, you definitely need to give the task to the “right” person, as well as take the time to make sure they know what you expect.
And, while follow-up may not be your strong suit, you may also need to have check-ins at agreed upon intervals to make sure they are on track.
Again, if the person does not do it exactly the way you want, you will need to decide whether it is good enough. Good enough is sometimes perfect, right?
4. “It is too late to give to anyone else.”
I also hear this a lot in my initial meetings with clients.
You may also find you are doing projects on your own because you do not plan well enough to hand off parts of your projects to someone else.
You can fix this.
While not an easy solution, for sure, the key is to get support so you can learn how to plan better in order to have other people help you with your tasks at home or work. You probably knew that…
What Do I Take Off My Plate?
Even if someone else could conceivably do a task for you, you may still wonder, “How do I decide which tasks to offload?”
Here are some possible answers:
1.As an adult with ADHD you know it is much easier to follow through on tasks that interest you. So, of course, the more of these you can have on your plate the better. And whenever possible have someone else do tasks that do not interest you.
2. Since emotional regulation can also be a challenge for adults with ADHD, another time when you might consider passing along a task to someone else is when you find it particularly frustrating.
3. Sometimes you may want to do a task because it interest you, even though someone else could perhaps do it more efficiently or effectively. You may also want to consider handing off these tasks, if you have too many other tasks on your plate only you can do.
4. Of course, if you just don’t have time for as task, even though you could do it just fine, you may want to find someone else to do it.
When else do you take tasks off your plate?
Who Else Can Do This?
How do you find someone else to do task you don’t want to do, but need to get done. That is the $64, 000 question! And not always an easy one to answer.
It depends on the context.
1.If it is a work related task and there are people available to support you, you may be able to delegate some of your work.
2. Other times, whether a home or work task, you may decide it is best to hire someone to do it.
3. Then at times you may need to negotiate. That is, you can ask someone, like your spouse or work partner, to do a task you don’t want to do. And you can take on another task in return. Alternatively, the outcome of your negotiations may be you do the task together.
4. Another option is to barter your services in return for help with something you can’t or do not want to do.
Questions for You
What is something you really want to get off your plate?
How are you going to do this?