At some point most of us have had to deal with a computer that is running too slowly. So, typically, we clean the hard drive in order for the computer to run faster and smother; the idea is to create extra free space. First, we analyze our hard drive, and then decide what items to keep and what items to delete. When you have AD/HD and your brain is full of information, like tasks and ideas, you may feel overwhelmed when faced with making these decisions when it comes to your life. When you do make these choices, though, you will be amazed at the extra free space.
We all are faced with too many options. Thinking about today, I could: meet with clients, clean the kitchen floor, do the laundry, go to the summer camp info session, call some friends, call my sister, call the airlines to get a ticket for my daughter for the summer, renew my license, read, write a thank you note, respond to people on facebook, write my newsletter, engage in some networking, make social plans. Ok, you get the idea. Oh, oh, I could just feel the overwhelming feeling coming.
The bottom line is there is no way we can do everything we want to do, at least not today. For some, making a list like this contributes to the feeling of being overwhelmed. So we end up cursing our slow computer, our ability to manage our entire task list, but are not sure what to do. Then we end up doing whatever is urgent or catches our attention; this is a common operating procedure for many with AD/HD.
The first step is to stop and breath. Then create a visible list.
As you are creating your list, rather than immediately going to that place of being overwhelmed, remind yourself that the tasks do not need to be done today or, even tomorrow. The idea is to use the list to:
- empty your head of all of the clutter.
- analyze your “hard drive.”
- be more intentional and make choices.
The next step is to remind yourself of what is important to you. (For me, family, friends, career/job, nice living environment and fun are a few of my values.) Once you clarify what is important to you, then you are in a better position to make choices to do what does matter to you.
You can decide what to do and what to delete. You may look at your list and say: It is all important or it would not be on the list, Marla! Hang with me on this one. When you say no to doing something, you have more free space to do what you really want to do. What do you want to take off your list? Go ahead, just do it! Feels, good, right?
Next you can schedule those tasks that matter to you. With list in hand, try the following:
If the tasks are time sensitive and have a deadline, put the dues dates in your calendar. Break the tasks into smaller chunks, and give those due dates, as well. I know creating a strategy may be tough, so ask for help when you need it.
Even if the tasks are not time sensitive, put those in your calendar, too. Otherwise, as many of us know, the garage will stay a mess. There is always tomorrow.
How will you feel with all of that extra free space in your head, your garage and in your life?
You do not have to feel overwhelmed. Just remember to ask for help when you get stuck.
By the way, I am not doing laundry today. We still have socks and underwear. (Humor is important to me, too.)