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When I was little, asking questions often got me into trouble. I had questions about everything. Apparently this was annoying to teachers, parents, and random strangers. I still want to know everything about everything, but I’m learning to make that work for me in a practical sense.

Ironically, asking questions has also become an integral part of my ADHD treatment. Here are 10 key questions that, if you get into the habit of asking them at the right time, might just transform your life with ADHD.

1 ) Do I really need this?

Whether you’re grocery shopping, wandering through the mall, or eyeing a coveted luxury item; if you’re an impulsive spender this question can save you a lot of money and grief over the long run.

2 ) Is this what I’m supposed to be doing right now?

This question is the secret to overcoming procrastination; staying on track; time management; and re-focusing. For a primer on this question, check out ADD Crusher’s excellent video and learn the ever-important and memorable phrase, “BS that is not what I’m doing now.”

3 ) Who do I want to be right now?

This one engages you on an emotional, psychological, and even spiritual level. Helpful in times of conflict or confusion, ask yourself “Who do I want to be right now?” If you’re prone to impulsively blurting things you regret later, this question will help you re-think on-the-fly about how you want to respond in any challenging situation. This one will call upon you to be your best self instead of being driven by the ADHD nasty-monster.

4 ) What will happen in the future if I do this right now?

I admit this one is a toughie for me. It involves engaging the working memory that we ADHDers don’t have. If you can learn to ask this, you can engage the ability to visualize the future while applying the past, a skill we ADHDers are notoriously lacking (through no fault of our own).

For example, if I don’t pay my bills on time, experience tells me I’ll rack up late penalties, or worse.

5 ) Is this really important to me right now?

This one helps me get out the door in the morning. Chronic lateness was a hallmark of my undiagnosed ADHD. Asking this question keeps me from checking emails when I don’t have time, and lets me refocus on what’s important: my hard-won new-found punctuality.

6 ) Is that person really trying to hurt me?

Crucial to us hypersensitive types, this one will save you from untold emotional misery. It’ll also put you on track to reclaiming your self-esteem and self-worth by keeping you from jumping to conclusions. If you’re late-undiagnosed, you can have the mindset that the world is out to get you, with defensiveness as a knee-jerk reaction in the face of simple misunderstandings or actual conflict.

This question will give you the opportunity to explore what’s really going on rather than assume the worst.

7 ) What would someone without ADHD do / say right now?

A cure for social awkwardness. I found it helps to be bilingual in both languages: ADHD and non-ADHD (or, what I like to call “NSL” – Normal-as-a-Second-Language). While I’ve embraced my ADHD quirkiness, I’ve learned in some situations it’s better to adapt, chameleon-like to the environment. This question also helps curb my verbal impulsivity and to avoid saying or doing socially awkward or inappropriate things.

8 ) Is it worth arguing about this right now?

Have you ever applied your hyperfocus to an epic battle of ‘I’m right and you’re wrong?’ I’m sorry to say I have, and it ain’t pretty. It’s a battle you can’t win and this question will give you the time you need to calm down and think about how important the issue is, regroup, and (if advisable) take it up again at a later date and in a more measured way.

This one will save friends, jobs, and marriages.

9 ) Is there something better I can put my energy into?

This one sounds like, “Is this really important to me right now?” but there’s a subtle yet important difference. Question number 5 helps to prioritize, while this question saves you from hyperfocusing on something trivial that, given any thought, you may not choose to spend any time or energy on at all. Life’s too short to let ADHD distraction and hyperfocus keep you from putting your energy into things that really matter to you.

BONUS QUESTION

10 ) If you think about it, I bet there are questions you ask yourself that help in managing your ADHD.

What are they?

Make them conscious and you’ll triple their transformational power.

 

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