I am a champion time-waster. If there were not routines in place at work and at home nothing would get done. Pinterest is my best friend and my worst enemy.
From what I can tell I am not alone. We ADHD’ers have a tendency to be a little “time blind.” We underestimate how long it will take to complete activities. We also have trouble getting started and initiating tasks, so we tend to procrastinate. Blame it on our Poor Executive Functioning.
The reasons vary, but everyone wastes time, with or without ADHD.
6 Little-known time wasters
Poor Planning and Prioritizing
Have you ever had a to-do list at work or at home that had 20+ items on it? I know I have. And I also know that I never finish everything on the list and then I end up feeling angry with myself.
When we have too many things on our list we are basically wading around in the muck without a plan. This becomes even more dicey if we are unable to prioritize effectively. We get distracted by other smaller tasks that do nothing to support the important task that we need to get done today.
Alan Brown from ADD Crusher calls this “But-First Syndrome.”
For example, I need to fold and put away laundry. But first I should really empty the dishwasher. Oh and I was supposed to make that phone call…all of a sudden 3 hours have gone by and the laundry is still in the basket getting wrinkled.
Solution: Monotask. I wrote a post about an easy solution for issues with short term memory. When it comes to adults with ADHD, multitasking gets us nowhere. Focus on one activity at a time and eliminate distractions. Alan Brown suggests labeling your tasks: This is what I am doing now, and This is NOT what I am doing now. http://addcrusher.com/3-deadly-time-wasters-and-fixes-adhd-adults/
We have all heard this before, but it remains true. Social media websites are entertaining and the blue light from the computers is very appealing to the human brain. We love the colors and sounds.
But it is a huge time suck. If I spent a day tracking my time on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest I am quite sure I would be appalled. I have a website so I understand the importance of my online presence, but because of my ADHD issues I have to discipline myself so as to avoid social media overload. It is a real thing.
Solution: Allow yourself to check your social media profiles a few times a day and be done with it. Set a time limit for each check-in. Use a timer if necessary. Also, turn off notifications so you are not tempted to look at your phone every 10 minutes.
Every adult I know with ADHD worries endlessly about everything and everybody in their lives. We lie awake at night, our brains on fire, thinking about housework or office work that needs to be done. Given a few quiet moments, we ruminate about our personal failings and repeat our negative thought patterns.
This constant anxiety and worry seems to be the result of a lifetime of rejection and criticism. Growing up ADHD really does change your self-perception.
Solution: Discuss anxiety and excessive worry with your treating physician. If necessary seek the help of a behavioral therapist. Take your medications as directed.
Remember my post on perfectionism? Well, part of the ADHD mindset seems to be overcompensating for what we think we lack. Trying to be perfect is exhausting and leads to a vicious cycle of setting the bar higher and higher.
Solution: Accept and forgive yourself. As I said in that post, perfection is not possible but self-acceptance is. You do not have to be everything to everyone.
When dropping off your children at school you do not have to be perfectly coiffed and dressed in designer duds. A little yogurt in the hair never hurt anyone. There is beauty in imperfection.
Lack of Personal Boundaries
Around the holiday I wrote a post about setting some boundaries in my own house. Boundaries seem to be an issue for me. And for others adults with ADHD.
Feelings of inadequacy are compounded by emotional management issues and day-to-day stress, leading us to become people pleasers. Are you a “yes” person? I know I am. Every single day I struggle to say no when I need to.
Solution: Take baby steps. For example, I recently said no to a community service request. This was a hard decision for me because I have done this particular activity for 10 years. With much regret I said no. It was hard but I was so proud of myself for doing it.
Your Hair is on fire (Reactive Living)
I have been thinking lately that I spend so much time putting out fires I barely have time to work proactively on anything. I want to sit down and write out all the content that is in my brain. In fact, I have time blocked off to do this in my planner.
Instead, I sit down and realize that I never emptied the dishwasher or check my son’s backpack. Immediately I jump up and start doing those things. Thirty minutes later I am tired and cranky and not in the right mindset to work.
I am going through my day reacting to what life throws at me. What I need to be doing is proactively planning my day through routines.
Solution: Create routines that work for you. (and me.) After school I need to check my son’s backpack as soon as we get home. The dishwasher should be emptied before dinner so that it is done by the time I am ready to sit down.
We all waste time. Think of it as part if the human condition. The best way to fix the problem is to focus on the little-known time wasters that creep up on you and ruin your day.
What are the major time wasters in your life?
Hit reply and let me know!