By: Barbara McRae, MCC, 20 Something ADHD Expert, Campus Calm™
Mostly, we really do want to follow through on our commitments to ourselves and on our promises to others. Why? We feel so much better when we do! Therefore, we optimistically tell ourselves that we’ll:
- Keep up with reviewing our class notes following each lecture to commit the key points to memory
- Get plenty of sleep (7-9 hours) each night to shore up on our brain power
- Exercise daily to relieve the anxious feelings that otherwise build up only to throw us off balance
- Start working on our term paper well before it’s due, ensuring its completion
And then it happens… We get distracted. We delude ourselves by believing that “it won’t take long” to first: text your friends… watch a video or two… tweet some updates… have a snack, and so on.
Then, three hours later, you’re wondering what happened to the time…? Allowing delay tactics to rule can turn your tasks into big obstacles since they completely divert you from your original plan! The disappointment that usually sets in afterwards can further impede your progress.
To stop this debilitating cycle, choose to see through the illusions you’ve created. Don’t let the whims of your mind dictate your actions. Specifically,
- Imagine your unruly mind as a wild stallion that you’re capable of taming.
- Deliberately reign in your mind. Say “stop” and redirect your mind as often as necessary
- Challenge yourself to focus on the most important task first. To better determine your priorities, ask “impact” questions, such as “What’s likely to happen now, if I don’t do this task first?”
- List valid positive reasons that support why you really do want to complete a specific task. When you are clear about why doing this task will benefit you, it’s much easier to get started (and to keep going)!
One of my clients consistently procrastinated deleting her emails. She was completely overwhelmed by her overflowing inbox. Finally, feeling too paralyzed to even delete one of these old emails, she sought my help. Here’s the list we constructed to help her get unstuck:
- I like feeling organized
- I’ll save time in the long run
- An uncluttered inbox gives me an energy rush
- I can feel confident that I haven’t missed something important
Now fortified and eager to move forward, she deleted hundreds of emails within a few days! What a spectacular achievement and a major boost to her self-worth.
Don’t let what calls to you in the moment keep you from doing what’s really important.
20-Somethings ADHD Expert
© Barbara McRae, Master Certified Coach
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