Depression and ADHD are comorbid indicators. They often go together. Adding the apathy of not wanting to get started on anything, along with the inherent procrastination that comes with ADHD, and sprinkling on a top of distraction just waiting to happen and it is no wonder that many adults with ADHD find it difficult to get things done.
There are many methods of time management out there for people ADHD. They range from great ideas like Eating That Frog to dumb ones, like blaming everything on perfectionism. The reality, however, is that you are unique, you always were. You were unique before you realized you had ADD, you were unique when you started treating your ADD, and you’re unique now, when you are living with ADHD. It’s not wonder then that other people’s solutions don’t work for you. You need your own unique solutions to living with adult ADHD.
Just because you need to build up your own unique ADHD tips and tricks to get through a life that requires you to things and to do them on a schedule doesn’t mean that other ideas won’t work for you. You just have to find your arrows and load them up in your quiver, metaphorically speaking.
One method that with my ADHD that I am tinkering around with is the idea of doing one thing. Similar to the concept detailed in Eat That Frog, the idea is to commit to doing one thing from a list of dozens or even hundreds of things. Unlike the eating that frog, where you jump in with the worst, or most dreaded task of the day, I’ve had some success working with my brain instead of trying to force it to do something it doesn’t want.
As I arrive at my desk each morning, or even upon returning from a trip to the coffee pot, or from lunch, I often find that my brain looks around and has one thing that it wants to do. Many times, that one thing is something productive. Rather than trying to save that motivation and harness it later, I jump in with both feet.
My brain feels like finally cleaning up my desk? Let’s clean my desk.
My brain feels like writing that technical writing proposal? Let’s write the proposal.
My brain feels like rescheduling the dentist, ordering my meds, or filling out this month’s writing calendar? Let’s do those things.
My brain feels like writing an article on doing one thing? Hey! Inception!
How To Do One
If I were trying to turn this one idea into a book, as so many time management, and organization self help books are wont to do, I would add a swear word and start writing the 150 pages of backstory, history about myself, and obtaining the epiphany that goes into turning an idea the length of a pamphlet into a 300 page book that you can stick on the shelf at Barnes and Noble (irritation Segway!) A name like Do One Damn Thing! or maybe One F*cuking Thing!
You’ve seen the books. You know what I’m talking about.
Instead, let’s just keep it real among fellow adults with ADHD, or those of you without ADHD who have reached the intelligent conclusion that if it works for people with ADD, imagine how well it would work for someone without ADD.
The secret to how to do one thing is to let yourself. Give yourself permission to do what your brain wants to do. Often, you will find that the one thing is not what you should be doing, or what would the the most productive thing you should be doing. That is okay. You can come back to that thing later. Heck, if if works for you, promise yourself that that will be the very next thing you do.
The point of doing one is to harness your motivation if only for a moment. Finding motivation with ADHD can be really, really, hard. Give yourself permission this one time each day (or a few times, however, you want to use this) to enjoy the motivation. You will find that much like procrastinating forward, doing one thing results in more things being crossed off your ADHD to do list than fighting against it. After all, a list with 30 things on it gets shorter whether you cross off #1 or #28.
Well, I broke my own rule.
My brain wanted to clean up my workspace and I was going to let it, but then I thought about what I was doing and got distracted (nach) by the thought of writing up an article about using your motivation to do that one thing and here we are. Writing about ADHD when you have ADHD is a nonstop adventure in inception.
Try doing just one thing and let me know how it goes for you.
BTW, I ended up cutting and pasting a bunch of what I originally wrote here into a new article where I have noticed that I can write for clients about the same topics I write about for my own websites much faster. The differing factor that I’m noticing is that I write their stuff in Word and then just send it off to them. Maybe, just maybe, there is something about writing inside of WordPress that stifles my brain or otherwise slows it down.
It might also be that without thinking, even in the back of my head, about linking, SEO, keywords, length, or finding stock photography that my brain just cranks out text further. So, I’m trying something that I am very, very nervous about. I created an “In Progress” folder where I can do the Just One Thing when it is writing something.
My fear, which I’m sure that many of my adult ADHD tribe can relate to is that many “in progress” things end up becoming “never finished” things when our ADHD brains move on. But, I crave more success than I have been having and doing more/getting better requires trying new things, so here we go.
As always, wish me luck. I do the same for you.