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As adults with ADHD many of us think fast and have too many thoughts at once.
So, it is no wonder that making decisions can feel overwhelming.
Consequently, when we feel overwhelmed, we may delay making decisions. Some decisions may even remain on the back burner indefinitely because we do not have a strategy.
Other times we are forced to make a decision at the last minute, compromising our ability to arrive at an optimal solution. True, the stimuli we get from having to complete tasks at the last minute may help us to get things done. This leads some of us to believe that we operate best this way. After all, we completed the paper, report, yard work, etc.
But do we necessarily make the best decisions for ourselves when we do it at the last minute? Maybe. Maybe not. I think most of us would rather not have so many fire drills in our lives.
All the decisions you have make may be important to you. And it may to feel like they all have to be done today or yesterday.
- What life insurance should I buy?
- What topic should I pick for my paper?
- Where do I want to go on vacation this year?
- Do I want to go to therapy?
- What are the kids going to do this summer?
- Do I want to look for a new job?
- Should I put a new roof on the house?
Like constructing different types of buildings, we need different types of strategies to make different decisions. The foundation of any strategy is planning and reviewing on a consistent basis.
Step 1 Contain It
Get it out of your head!
One way to do this is to include making decisions as tasks in a tool, like a Master To Do List. After all, it is something that you have to make time and space to do.
Step 2 Break It Down
If you are putting off making a decision, it is likely that you need more information and /or help. If this is the case, it may be a multi-step process, rather than a simple “yes” or “no.”
If that is the case, break it down into discrete steps. Here is an example of possible steps you may use in thinking about getting a new job.
- list the pros and cons of leaving current job
- order the pros and cons in order of priority / most important values
- enlist someone to help you brainstorm and discuss aloud
- list questions and concerns that are preventing you from making a decision
- identify the resources you can access in order to address your questions and concerns
- use your instinct – the answer is not always black and white
- hire a professional coach or career counselor, if you remain stuck in your decision making process
Step 3 Make It Time Sensitive
If there is a hard deadline for making a decision, put it in your calendar. Alternatively, create your own deadlines to give the process a sense of urgency.
Schedule time to complete the tasks needed to make a decision, such as those listed above in Step 2.
Step 4 Review and Plan
It is difficult to figure out anything when you feel like life is a roller coaster ride. It is easy for adults with ADHD to forget their intentions, goals and values, unless you set aside time to review and plan.
Depending on the decision, you may want to set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to review where you are in the decision making process and plan the next step.
For a decision, like whether to search for a new job, weekly review and planning is probably best. Thinking about it on a daily basis may be too much.
ADDed Perspectives Bottom Line:
By taking the time to plan and review, it is likely that you will not be as overwhelmed because you will have a strategy to help you arrive at a decision.