People with ADHD know a lot about how life works for them.
Or maybe that should be that they know how life doesn’t work for them.
The thing is that no matter how successful or unsuccessful we are, we all pick up some tricks along the way. And I’d like to share two of my best with you.
These tricks were part of my tool kit long before I was diagnosed. In fact, they were tools I used before I had any idea what ADHD was. They were initiated in my life by my mother, and have been refined by me.
And they work …
Well, they work for me. And I’m offering them to you to try out. If they don’t work right out of the box, I’m sorry. But since they’re free, and since they are non-returnable, I’m going to suggest that you feel free to modify them in any way you see fit to make them work in your world.
First, the problems, when we have trouble sticking to a job, it’s either because it is to dull and monotonous, or it is too mind numbingly intense and detailed. Those two things are the scourge of our lives. Forced to watch a gate for a day to make sure nothing passes through it, or forced to spend a day calculating seven year old income tax forms, which would you choose?
So here’s my fixes …
1. Make it Complicated
Take the thing that you’re having trouble doing and add steps to it.
For example, long ago I had a job in a printing plant. My job was to watch printed and folded paper come up on a machine called a stacker and when there was a handful of those folded “signatures” as we called them, take that handful and put it neatly on a skid with the other handfuls I had piled there already.
I was ready to quit, until I started to see what I could do between handfuls. I got to the point where I could read a novel in a shift by marking my place in the book with a pencil, setting it down, piling down all the handfuls that had backed up and then picking up my book again.I found I could eat my lunch, make my grocery list, plan my week and still get those signatures onto the skid neatly.
2. Make it fun
Okay, this isn’t much help as far as income tax is concerned, but whenever I notice that the thing I’m doing is pushing me away with its intensity of detail, I try to engage with it and learn the details with the end plan of making a game out of it.
And it’s best if the plan is to get so good at the task that I can modify it, play with it, entertain myself with it. I’d even devise ways of keeping score depending on the job.
In fact, if I can get so good at it that it amuses me, well, at that point, I’ve usually forgotten that I was having a problem and the job has become the thing I do when I should be doing other things.
Now if your task is really problematic, maybe it’s time to make it complicated and fun at the same time?