In my last post, I talked about how boredom can be bad news for ADHDers – specifically, because it has the ability to magnify our ADHD symptoms.
So much for the problem. But is there a solution? What can people with ADHD do to cope with boredom in healthy ways?
I’ve touched on some coping strategies in previous posts that are relevant. See, for example, my post about strategies for staying motivated with ADHD.
What I want to do today is get a little more high-level. While there are numerous particular coping strategies that can be useful for fighting boredom, these strategies tend to fall into two broad categories.
That’s because boredom-provoking situations that ADHDers are faced with generally fall into two categories:
- Boring situations that can be eliminated from your life
- Boring situations that cannot be eliminated from your life
Let’s start with boring situations that can be eliminated from your life. In theory, these are the easiest to cope with because, well, you can just eliminate them from your life. Problem solved, right?
The hard part, though, is in recognizing that they can be eliminated from your life in the first place.
What’s challenging here is that some boring situations can be eliminated from your life only with major life changes over the long-term.
For example, say you have a job that’s not very ADHD-friendly. In your job, you frequently encounter situations that sap your motivation and bring out the worst in your ADHD symptoms.
On one hand, you won’t be able to eliminate that job from your life overnight – or you probably shouldn’t, anyway! But you might be able to put yourself on a path to finding a new job that lines up better with how your brain works.
So dealing with boring situations that can potentially be eliminated from your life is basically a three-step process:
- Identify boring situations you encounter often in your life that exacerbate your ADHD symptoms
- Take a hard look at how those situations could be avoided or replaced in some way
- Come up with a plan to eliminate those situations from your life
Of course, some boring situations simply can’t be done away with altogether. Commonly, these include the tedious but necessary tasks that frequently arise in everyday life.
Here, since you can’t get rid of the tasks altogether, the trick is to find a way to make them more interesting – that is, to add some additional element of stimulation to these understimulating chores.
My favorite way to do that is through music. Music can make almost any mundane task more enjoyable, whether it’s cleaning or doing taxes. Listening to podcasts is another thing that keeps my brain happily occupied during otherwise mind-numbing tasks.
Doing boring tasks together with other people can help too. That’s true for tasks that allow simultaneous conversation, but it can be true even if you’re both sitting there working on your computers in a coffeeshop.
The overall takeaway here is that boring tasks differ in terms of whether they can be eliminated from your life, and how easy it is to do. Based on that difference, specific tasks will require unique solutions, but those solutions will generally fall into the category of either finding a way to eliminate the tasks or finding a way to make them more interesting. If you have more tips for how to deal with either avoidable or unavoidable boring tasks, please share them below!
Image: Flickr/Hans-B. Sickler