OK, I have to ‘fess up, like many of you, I am seriously ADD. At times, my mind has the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel Puppy – (Squirrel!). A lot of it is my own fault. I am always doing at least 2 or 4 (or 9!) things at once, and my mind is never quiet. I’m always planning my next blog post, my Scout activity, stuff from work, my next fight with my teenager (sigh), and a ton of other stuff. So it’s no wonder I struggle to keep on top of my chores around the house.
Managing Your ADD Sensibly in Daily Life
I think what gets us into trouble, is that most jobs have multiple steps. You don’t just get to dump the clothes into the washer and be done with it. You have to wash them, dry them, fold them. Then you put them away. But if you skip any step in that cycle, you will end up with a wet, smelly, wrinkled mess. Ask me how I know this???
Same thing with dishes. You can’t just put dump them in the dishwasher, you have to put soap in, start it. Then unload it when it’s done and then start a new cycle. And even worse, some of these steps have a significant delay. That’s probably where I get into trouble. Because while the washer or dishwasher is going, I’m off to do the next three things on my list. Add your ADD to multi-tasking and you can get some unpredictable results. So, I don’t always make it back for the grand finale!
I think it would help me if I thought of my tasks more in terms of the completed cycle instead of just one part of it. Then instead of thinking – I’ll just sweep the floor here. I need to think in terms of the whole move the chairs, sweep, mop and move the chairs back cycle. Then I need to make the commitment to complete the whole cycle. Otherwise, I’ll either drift away at some point in the process. Or take shortcuts and not take the time to do the chore properly.
I think it helps to make a plan, set a timer, and most importantly – stay on task until the whole cycle is complete. Be aware of your ADD tendencies – if you are like me, don’t believe yourself when you say, “oh I’ll just sit down an answer a couple of Emails and I’ll put the chairs back later”. Otherwise, it will be dinner time and the chairs will still be piled in the middle of the floor – but the Emails will have gotten answered. I know myself and if I don’t stick with the chore, it’s not going to get finished.
I know that we all have a lot going on and some of us (like me!) have these ADD tendencies. But, like I tell my kids (also ADD) that excuse doesn’t mean you get a free pass from doing what needs to be done, it just means that you have to work harder at it and that you may have to employ some extra strategies to make it work for you.
A lot of us like checklists. I know I do and I get a ton more done when I take the time to use them. You’d think I’d use them all the time, but I’m just not that evolved yet. Maybe I think using a checklist is “cheating” or something. Or it’s like a weakness to have to use one, but really, since I do actually get more done that way, it probably is more of a strength. I resolve I’m going to work harder at using my checklist strategy right now.
But the question is what do you put on your to-do list? Do you just put “Do laundry” and hope for the best? Is that the best strategy? Wouldn’t it be better to put each step of the cycle as a separate but related task? That way you’ll be reminded to complete ALL the steps (and besides, then you get three or four check marks instead of just one!) And we all know that more check marks are better than less!
Give it a try and then leave me some comments and tell me how it worked for you.