Puttering, Frittering Away a Lifetime
Although not specifically written for an ADD / ADHD audience, Gary North – http://lewrockwell.com/north/north1170.html – has an interesting article about puttering and frittering away a lifetime of opportunities. Time and project / task management, of course, can be mortal enemies for the person with Attention Deficit. Putting in place a time and task system can be extremely difficult and may require quite a bit of tweaking to make it work. While this is a reality for people with ADHD / ADD, it’s worth considering the consequences of not putting systems in place to get things done – not only the things that need to be done such as paying bills, getting to appointments on time, etc., but also the things you want to do – move to a new city, find a new job, write a book, complete a project, etc. Planning and prioritization are important.
These are skills, again, that are very difficult when you live with Attention Deficit. People with ADHD / ADD are often overwhelmed by all of the external and internal stimuli. The filters that neurotypicals possess to sort out distractions and stay on task don’t work for the person with ADD / ADHD. Everything seems important. Tasks and projects get started, but often aren’t completed. There is a lot of moralizing about people who don’t complete the projects they set out to. People are labeled as lazy, incompetent, daydreamers, etc. Those things aren’t true, of course, but society tends to label people – even if it is unfair to do so. My advice to you if you suffer from ADHD / ADD is to get help. If you suspect you have Attention Deficit, but have never received a diagnosis, find a competent counselor, physician or other experience diagnosing ADD / ADHD. You might have to contact C.H.A.D.D., ADDA, a local support group, the professional association for clinical psychologists, etc., in order to find who has experience diagnosing Attention Deficit.
After years of falling short of expectations and dealing with the judgments of others, counseling can be very helpful. While counseling helps, coaching is also essential. It is, of course, a relief to receive the ADHD / ADD diagnosis and understand that it wasn’t a moral shortcoming that made it so difficult for you to do the things you wanted to do, but that is merely the beginning of a longer journey. A coach can be your guide in putting systems in place to manage time, tasks, your health, help you improve your social skills and personal relationships, and much more. A coach can help you more clearly define your goals, working to create a menu of areas you seek to improve in your life. A coach isn’t there to tell you what to do, or necessarily, what to do. Instead, a good coach will dig deep to find what it is you want and be there to help you achieve the things you want to. If you’re like me, you may be stubborn and want to do things on your own, just to prove you can. But, if things aren’t working out as you had hoped, and you’re progressing too slowly, or feeling stuck, then consider finding a coach. There are many excellent ADHD coaches. Just be sure to check out that your coach has received adequate training. There is no formal restrictions of who can call themselves an ADHD coach, so do some research.
It’s helpful to talk to at lease three different coaches over the course of several days before choosing one. Coaches generally, will allow you to schedule a 15 to 30-minute session to discuss the areas affecting you and can offer you some ideas and suggestions that may help. Not only is it important that your coach have adequate training, but you should also feel comfortable talking to them and have a good rapport with them. You’re going to spend a good deal of time talking to your coach, so it is important that you like and trust them.
With ADHD, it can be too easy to putter and fritter away time and opportunity. Finding out that you have ADHD and that you have a treatable condition can be a huge relief after years of being harshly judged by yourself and others. But, diagnosis is just the beginning of your journey. Working with a coach is another important piece of your journey. A coach can work with you to identify the areas of your life you hope to improve, and then keep you on track as you seek ways that work for you to plan, prioritize and organize.