From where I sit as an ADHD Coach, mom and wife of ADHD loved ones, there needs to be more ADHD help for Adults.
“I’m working so hard to get through the day, but I don’t seem to get anything done. Furthermore, no one seems to appreciate how busy I am.”
“I get a lot of reminders from my boss about deadlines and unfinished projects. When I get home, my wife starts in about stuff that I’ve promised to do and haven’t even started (like paying the bills this month, BEFORE they turn off the cable, again).”
“There just doesn’t seem to be enough time.”
The idea of being busy, and the evidence of getting timely results are often at odds when ADHD is in the mix. It can be a frustrating mystery to all involved as to why so much time can fly by with so little to show for it.
Here are some clues:
- Clue #1. With ADHD, preparing to start the task is part of the actual execution. There’s the talking about doing the task, the thinking time…thinking about starting the task, then the gathering of materials (sharpened pencils, paper, bills, checkbook, stamps, phone numbers, etc.), the coffee, water, snacks, the right lighting, chair, music, checking email, facebook, and… you get the idea. Whew! Exhaustion, boredom or distraction sets in before the actual task is begun.
- Clue #2. Having moved through the first phase of the task, it’s time to actually initiate. Whoa, not so fast. There are plenty of reasons why pulling the trigger on the actual writing of the memo, proposal, presentation, research paper, bill payment, returning calls/emails, laundry, vacuuming, etc. fails to occur. Perfectionism (finding the right words to write), fear of the unknown (something scary might be in those billing envelopes), procrastination (it’s not that important that I can’t postpone it, or this is so important that I better wait until I can do it right and without interruptions), overwhelm (there’s so much to do, I don’t know where to start), and/or exhaustion, boredom or distraction. Hmmm. There’s a pattern here.
- Clue #3. The chickens come home to roost, aka motivation. At some point in the process, there’s an outside motivator that kicks things into action. Notice I said outside motivator. With ADHD the internal motivation driver can be inconsistent or non-existent except in unique circumstances. Someone/something has provoked action, usually in the form of a threat (spouse yelling, guests coming, job deadline, utilities turned off). The task gets done, but not without a lot of churning, stress and energy.