For a very long time, I’ve identified myself as a dreamer and a big-picture thinker – and still do to this day! It was a comfort to know that I can rely on this “label” as my excuse whenever someone pointed out missed deadlines, projects, or life goals. However, many of these struggles were not unlike the difficulties I had helped my adult clients with ADHD. Identifying a child with ADHD can be somewhat straightforward, but ADHD in later years is somewhat more subtle (did you know that more than 10% children are diagnosed with ADHD, vs. 4% of adults?). Of course, this may be due to the coping strategies that we learn to adopt as we grow older. However, there are many of us continuing to struggle with organizing our thoughts and our lives as adults!
Keeping in mind that you need a professional to help diagnose you with ADHD, see if you identify yourself with any of the following executive functioning struggles:
- You have a difficult time starting big projects, or seeing them through.
- You have lots of big ideas that never come to fruition.
- You tend to avoid the “how” questions when discussing your ideas.
- You may have gotten pulled over more often than not for speeding.
- You can start listening to conversations, but get pulled to other things happening in the room as the conversation continues (i.e., you zone out).
- You experience intense emotions and have a hard time controlling them – or your reactions to them.
- You have a hard time shutting down when you get home from work.
- You’re often late to many functions or dates.
- You start a task but move on to others before finishing the original task.
- You have difficulty focusing on things when you’re in a loud, noisy, or crowded room.
I used to call my husband a realist who clipped my wings, but in reality, he kept me grounded and focused on the details that I needed to give my attention to (shhh – don’t tell him!). Having him pull me back to planned expectations as I pursued my goals helped me move forward instead of being swayed in whichever direction life pulled me. There are many things that I did, however, that helped me take control of my big-picture mentality as well.
Things you can do to help:
- WRITE, EVERYTHING, DOWN. I mean it- everything. Even the biggest of ideas that come to my head leave as quickly as the smallest details do. So many things get lost because I tell myself that I’ll remember them if it’s important (which rarely happens). I’ve gotten into the habit of writing things down which has helped steer and propel me exponentially.
- Carve out and commit to using 20 minutes of your day to work on the list that you’ve written down. If there are days that require tasks that you need more than 20 minutes for, then use those 20 minutes to break down the task into smaller components that you can achieve on separate days. Remember to think through barriers that may come up and plan ahead!
- Practice mindfulness. It helps to create space between your feelings/thoughts and your reactions (so you’re not acting impulsively). It also helps to cultivate curiosity so that you don’t wander off as much (so you’re not zoning out when your partner is telling you important aspects about their day). Finally, mindfulness helps you to relax and unplug from work and other stresses (which has been shown to be correlated with increased life and relationship satisfaction!).
Reach out to me if you’d like more support or guidance.