Imagine that it''s 4:59 pm, just a minute before your deadline. You swore you''d never put yourself in this position again, and yet you have. This isn''t your greatest work, and you''ll be lucky just to turn anything in. What would you do differently if you could turn back the clock?
Living with ADHD can be a habitual experience, but it doesn''t have to.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, is a persistent disorder that begins in childhood and is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Symptoms of ADHD often co-occur with, and are sometimes mistaken for, other health problems, such as anxiety or substance abuse.
Several people with ADHD are diagnosed with a rare condition, causing them to lose self-esteem or disobey. However, ADHD is a treatable condition, as well as behavioral strategies, as well as medication when necessary.
I''ve developed a range of strategies to assist anyone who has trouble dealing with their ADHD diagnosis as a psychologist and an assistant clinical professor.
Organizational systems and prioritizing
Ideally, a simple organizational structure is focused on one component, such as a notebook or an app, assuming the phone is not too distracting. Developing a daily schedule, a regularly updated to-do list, and a calendar to remind yourself of appointments, can provide a foundation for increased focus and a sense of control.
It''s crucial to divide tasks into manageable parts before priorizing them. Eisenhower''s matrix is a well-known technique that includes tasks like: urgent and important, like a work project that''s due tomorrow; urgent and unimportant, like a request that someone else can fulfill; nonurgent but important, like long-term projects. Nonurgent and unimportant, meaning something that does not need to be done.
Many with ADHD are encouraged to first complete urgent and unimportant tasks such as responding to requests of others, because someone else''s urgency appears more important than their own needs. Finally, doing something for another person can lead to quick positive feedback and provide a welcome break from what may be a stressful task. The Eisenhower matrix prioritizes what''s most important instead of what''s most immediately gratifying.
Eisenhower''s decision matrix. (Chavapong Prateep Na Thalang/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
Managing the environment and avoiding distractions
Oftentimes, it''s critical to create a productivity-friendly environment. That means eliminating distractions and creating barriers to temptation. Use social media web blockers while working, and then place your phone and computer in airplane mode.
Environmental cues, like alarms and visual reminders, are used to monitor time and ensure you''re keeping an eye on your particular goal.
Waiting to focus on a task until just before the deadline causes last-minute stress, but it also has a domino effect on other essential life necessities, such as eating and sleeping. This may be addressed with the "distractibility delay," a technique of staying on a task that''s particularly beneficial for you to avoid.
The first step is to define a timeframe for which you can keep focus on. For example, focus on work for 25 minutes before taking a five-minute break before repeating the cycle.
Set a timer and have your notebook nearby when you begin doing the challenging task. Instead of trying to fix them down, remind yourself that you may do them later and return to the work at hand. If so, you may do them during your break or add them to your to-do list.
It''s important to keep yourself accountable and to get encouragement. Your support network might include friends and family, a therapist, group therapy, or an online forum to share goals and feedback.
Body doubling is a viable therapy strategy. It involves working with someone you know who is also working, both physically and mentally. This also allows for mutual accountability to stay on task.
The need for sleep
People with ADHD have often trouble surviving at a particular time and then having trouble falling asleep. A vast amount of evidence indicates that irregular sleep may lead to a long cycle of attention problems.
Keeping a regular bedtime schedule and waking at the same time every day is part of a good sleep hygiene strategy. So, you may avoid tobacco, caffeine, large meals, and alcohol within a couple of hours of sleep. Always remember not to nap within eight hours of your regular bedtime.
Develop strategies to calmly relax before bed. It is normal to take time to fall asleep, but don''t walk out of bed and do a relaxing activity until you''re awake again. It''s not helpful to watch the clock.
Beginn with those that are most helpful to you. Although people with ADHD often chase novelty and disobey at a routine, developing a routine is worthwhile. Instead of striving to finish at the last minute, you have plenty of time to spare and are grateful for what you''ve done.
Rob Rosenthal, an assistant clinical professor in psychiatry at the University of Colorado at anschutz medical facility.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.