So many adults with ADD find themselves chronically overwhelmed with every day life. This means that they generally wake up feeling like they are running behind on all the things they need to do, spend the whole day on high speed in order to get all those things done, and yet still go to bed most nights feeling like they never got anywhere. Or, they spend the whole day in a fog, constantly aware of all the things on that to-do list, but never mustering up the motivation to tackle the tasks. This leaves them feeling unorganized, unproductive, unhappy, lazy, guilty, and…the list goes on.
I used to be one of those people. Constantly overwhelmed and always disorganized. Through dedication, hard work, and lots of time and practice, I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I know how to manage my ADD. (The key word here is “manage.”) Through both my personal and professional work, I’ve isolated what I believe are 8 Essential Skills for Managing ADD. Today I’d like to share them with you:
1. Slow Down
ADDers seem to always be operating on over-drive…mentally, physically, or both. In my opinion, slowing down when you feel speedy, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. is the first and most necessary skill for managing ADD.
2. Practice Excellent Self-Care
ADDers are prone to putting themselves last. Why is this? How will you ever “get it together” if you don’t dedicate time and energy to yourself?
3. Know Your Own ADD
ADD affects us all in different ways. You can’t effectively manage ADD without being aware of the specific ways in which it affects you, and the specific ways in which your challenges are triggered.
4. Actively Use Your Learning and Processing Modalities
Identifying the natural modalities in which you are able to sustain focus and process information and feelings will make your personal and professional lives much easier.
5. Focus on Your Strengths
Everyone has strengths, skills, talents, and passions. Increasing the time you spend on these good things will increase both your self-esteem and your happiness.
6. Think Positively
Patterns of negative thinking can be reversed. Negative thinking will hold you back. Positive thinking will propel you forward.
7. Plan the Time to Plan…Everything
Planning doesn’t always come easily to ADDers. Developing tools and systems for planning will streamline organization and time management, but you have to take it one step further and plan the time to use them.
8. Take Risks
This doesn’t refer to speed racing or skydiving! It refers to stepping outside your comfort zone and doing things that may be uncomfortable, like asking for that raise, taking up that new hobby, or pursuing that life-long passion. If you don’t take the risk, you won’t get the reward.