Last Wednesday’s post looked at Cognitive Dissonance, last Friday’s post looked at some ways in which we ADHDers might encounter Cognitive Dissonance. Today I’d like to cover the possibility that we might use our knowledge of Cognitive Dissonance to our advantage. Not just to deal with both the ADHD issues and the dissonance, but really use it.
It occurs to me that, in some ways, we already use Cognitive Dissonance to our advantage. We often let things run down to their deadlines to force ourselves to concentrate. I know it works, mostly, I’m just not sure it’s the best spell in our bag of tricks though.
The thing about Cognitive Dissonance that makes it a problem is that dissonance is an unwelcome and unhappy state for us to be in. But what if we actually created dissonance in advance of deadlines.
On laundry day I put my basket of dirty laundry in the middle of the floor by the basement stairway.
To some extent, I already do this. On laundry day I put my basket of dirty laundry in the middle of the floor by the basement stairway. I don’t walk around it too many times before I take it down to the laundry room and start the wash. I’ve been known to put bills on my pillow to remind me to pay them. I can’t go to bed without seeing them. It may be close to the deadline, but I’m usually on my way to bed before midnight. Across the hall is the computer I use for banking access. I may end up giving Facebook a quick one hour cursory glance after the bill is paid, but the bill gets paid.
I also sometimes hang a sheet of paper on my office door the size of the door itself, to leave myself notes on. Where did I get paper that size? I used to work at a printing plant in one of my many past lives. If you can get access to a butt-end roll of newsprint I strongly urge you to look into it. If not, a presentation sized easel display pad works well.
I’ve been known to jot down imperative warnings of upcoming meetings or deadlines, as well as inspirational notes on possible blog post on my office door.
Once that’s done, the only way I can avoid being in a state of dissonance is to avoid going near my office. I’m not saying I can’t do that, but it takes an effort. And if I’m going to put in an effort on something, it might as well be on the tasks that I need to get done anyway, right?
There are other ways of taking advantage of knowing about Cognitive Dissonance, some subtler than these and some more obvious. The trick is to be aware of the potential, and not to let it stop you from making progress. Use it when you can, and show it who’s boss when you have to.
Good luck, I’m cheering for you. In fact, cheering for you is what I’m doing to avoid looking at my office door.
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Last reviewed: 8 Sep 2013