How to Overcome ADHD Obstacles: Part 1
Let’s face it. If you want to overcome the most typical ADHD obstacles, you have to get to know them first. By familiarizing yourself with how the brain works, you can better adapt your strategy. Are these particular obstacles exclusive to people with ADHD? No. Everyone can experience similar difficulties.
However, if you have ADHD, these issues cause continual discomfort and frustration. Some of these obstacles may not apply to you, even if you have ADHD. This is because symptoms can exhibit themselves differently depending on the individual. Take your time to read the following ADHD roadblocks and see if you can catch – and help – yourself next time you get stuck.
Getting Lost in Ideas, Plans and What to do Next
People with ADHD have a tendency to overwork their brains. This manifests in a need to know ALL the answers and ‘grasp’ an entire process in advance. You may have an intense desire to find a clear structure, plan or solution before you begin anything. This leads to procrastination because ‘as long as you don’t have the full picture, you don’t get started.’
“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”
What to Do?
Dig in and Enjoy the Ride!
Being conscious of the fact that you ‘overthink’ will help you catch yourself when it happens. Once you’ve read and implemented some of the other tips (like “How to accomplish long-term goals” and “How to tackle the daily grind”) you can be confident that you’ll be going in prepared. The only way to push yourself forward is to simply get started. Regardless if you still have questions, begin the process anyway. There’s no way to prepare for all eventualities.
Don’t try to predict how everything will unfold. Solutions will show up when the time is right. Trust that the best answers typically surface when you’re knee-deep in the process – often at the moment you need them most. Remind yourself of the end goal. Know that you will succeed, one step at a time, as long as you let go and move forward. Make the journey easier by finding ways to enjoy the process.
2. Seeing ALL Perspectives Simultaneously
A natural ability to see the big picture can be a real asset. It allows you to recognize patterns and find efficient solutions to problems. Unfortunately, it can also impair your ability to prioritize, preventing you from focusing on one task at a time. When addressing a task or goal, all the pieces of the puzzle may come at you simultaneously. At times it may feel like you’re being flooded by a non-stop wave of to do’s.
What to Do?
Know Your Priorities
The first way to minimize this problem is to clarify your primary objectives. Doing this will already help you reduce the number of distractions and de-clutter your mind.
When you know what’s most important to you, you can – temporarily if need be – discard all other distractions. Clarifying your objectives helps you make decisions quicker. But this alone is not always enough to stop the barrage of information entering your mind.
Breathe & Let Go
If you feel overwhelmed by the task at hand, stop. Take a deep breath. Let go and sink into your body. Focus on your senses – touch something nearby, smell the spring air or listen to the wind rustling the trees outside.
If you can, go for a walk or a bike ride. Do something that allows your mind to let go and wander. This gets you out of your head and helps you tune into the present moment. It allows your subconscious mind to sort things out and find solutions without the interference of your conscious mind.
Do this until a sense of peace comes over you. Trust the process.
Redirect Your Focus
Redirect your brain by focusing on a single task. Pick one specific thing to do next. Consciously choose to let go of all the other choices, possibilities, options and to do’s (write them down if need be) and place your attention on this one particular task. Just let everything else fall by the wayside. Don’t worry… the more you practice this strategy, the easier it becomes.
3. Getting Lost in the Details
The opposite of obsessing over the big picture is also dangerous. You could get so buried in the details that you completely lose sight of what you’re actually trying to accomplish. You may find yourself pouring over minute details while more important tasks are left undone. At the end of the day you realize that, despite having been busy all day long, you didn’t accomplish any of the things you had planned. When this happens you may experience a feeling of pressure deep in your gut. It’s like a nervous tension ‘pushing’ you to correct something that’s not quite in place.
What to Do?
When you experience this sensation, as with the previous issue, stop and take a deep breath. Take a step back and refocus on what you’re actually trying to do. Ask yourself some questions.
Can you see that you are losing yourself in the details?
Are you being too perfectionistic?
Is there a way to do this task more quickly and easily?
How would you simplify this task if you had to finish it right now?
Are there aspects of the task you could eliminate even if the result would be less than perfect?
Could you set your standard to ‘good enough’ rather than perfect and would that make your life easier?
In short, what can you do to stop overworking the details and focus on the bigger task at hand?
4. Under or Overestimating the Workload
People with ADHD are prone to black and white thinking. When approaching a task, this polarized thought process can lead to either an overly optimistic or extremely negative view of a situation.
You may feel as though a task will be finished quickly and without much effort. At the first obstacle, however, you quickly conclude that you will NEVER be able to get it done.
Don’t be discouraged.
What to Do?
Be aware and accept that your brain likes to think in extremes. Once you’re conscious of this fact, you can simply observe unrealistic or discouraging thoughts and forge ahead regardless. As you know, things are rarely black or white. Reality typically resides somewhere in the gray area between these two extremes.
Some things will be easier, others more difficult than you initially expected. Again, keep faith and focus on the end goal while allowing yourself to appreciate each step in the process. Which brings us to the next topic…
5. Forgetting to Enjoy the Process
If you have ADHD you’re probably good at picturing perfect outcomes. Unfortunately, this ability also comes with a major drawback. It can easily prevent you from enjoying the journey. Heck, it may even prevent you from getting started altogether.
If you spend all of your energy obsessing over the glory you’ll experience at the finish line, you’ll never be able to enjoy the beautiful moments along the way.
What to Do?
I will be the first to confess that visualizing the end goal is critical to success. However, if you can’t stop thinking about the finish line, you won’t place your full effort in the present moment.
Visualize your goals beforehand, however big or small they may be. But once you’ve done this, let them go. Then focus on each step of the process with all your energy.
You can do it!