When the often native impatience of ADHD is steering you, it’s easy to put things off – things that you should have done five minutes ago.
It has taken me years, to learn to over-ride that impulse. And by over-ride, I mean mostly ignore the impulse to procrastinate on life’s little details, about 85% of the time. With medication, lol. And it’s an ongoing process. That’s why I don’t feel weird blogging about it even though I’ve probably talked about some of these things before. This is a daily reality kind of issue.
Part of increasing my tolerance for completing the little things (a huge part of it) was styling my life around increasing my chances for success. Over time I have noticed that there are things that I will not do, if I don’t have the tool immediately available. I could bore you with a list of my deficiencies, but instead, how about a list of some of the solutions:
1) I keep a sponge for cleaning next to every sink in the house. As a result, I actually probably seem a little OCD about sink-cleaning because I’ll often quickly wipe down the sink every time I use it. If the kids are around and it’s a little gooey-er I might wipe down the whole counter area. I’d rather just use the “see sponge; wipe counter” approach nearly every time I go into the bathroom, than have to even remember to remember to bring a sponge upstairs to the bathroom to immerse myself in a cleaning project. Honestly also it cuts down on the “oh shit, people are stopping by, what does the bathroom look like” panic. The sponge also comes in handy when I have a fleeting impulse to clean the bathtub (and believe me when I say those impulses are fleeting. If I have to go downstairs to get a sponge to do that, the tub will never get cleaned. EVER.)
2) I have my own little bag of toiletries in my bathroom on the counter. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, I’m sure lots of people do. But when you live with children, they have a special gift for losing shit that you need and when you have ADHD and so does at least one of the children, you do not need the children in your stuff, MOVING THINGS. That’s why I have my own little bag, with great things hidden inside, that the children know they must not use. Most especially the tweezers and the nail clippers. They have their own set. Today, when I walked into the bathroom and happened to notice that my eyebrows were a little overgrown, I KNEW WHERE TO FIND TWEEZERS. This probably makes me sound like I normally give a crap about things like well-groomed eyebrows. I really don’t. At all…which increases the chances of my never bothering to deal with the eyebrows, for example. Unless I know exactly where to find the glorious tweezers.
3) My traveling office, aka the bag I put all my work stuff in. It’s a carefully thought out system. I would almost call it an organism. It’s as easy as this: When I use my system, and put things back where they are supposed to go, my work life is very smooth. If I slack off a little, hysteria manifests. Tears are shed. The iPhone has its own pocket, the calendar has its own pocket. I have a pocket of about 30 pens and highlighters (I need that many in order to make sure I always have at least one). When it gets down to about half of that I start to panic and will run around the house grabbing pens and stuffing them in my pen pocket. And if I happen to not be able to find one anywhere in the house, I KNOW there’s some in my bag. And if I’m at the bank and there are free pens? You bet your ass I keep them. I also have a credit card reader, bank deposit supplies, one notebook to write all of my notes for all of my meetings, a few other business-related odds and ends. A book for bookkeeping notes (for some reason I won’t track this information electronically…I don’t know why and I’ve stopped questioning it).
4) I have two dogs and five leashes. Only one of the dogs actually requires a leash, normally. So that’s five leashes for one very small dog. It’s like the pen thing: I have five leashes in order to always make sure that I have one when I need it. That way, yes, I do need to return the leashes to the hooks by the door, but I can do it on an “as I discover them” schedule, instead of it being an urgent matter every time I take the dogs out. At any point during the day there is always one leash, though usually there are two. If I want to really spend some mental energy on it I can work up to five, but who has that much extra brain energy, seriously? If you’re reading this blog I’m going to guess that you don’t.
5) My traveling office bag also includes a giant pocket for makeup. I actually like makeup but I have a hard time leaving the house in the morning on time, so taking time to put makeup on before I leave would really ruin my day. I take the makeup with me because I’m most likely to want to be wearing it if I have a business meeting. I can duck into a bathroom or put it on in my car if I have to, without ruining my morning.
6) I’ve blogged about my Freshbooks obsession. I’m telling you, it’s genius. I send clients invoices in the middle of the night, from my bed, on my iPhone.
7) Automatic cat food dispenser. It’s set to feed them set amounts of food, three times a day. At least I only have to remember to replace the batteries about twice a year. Cats themselves are good reminders, I mean they’ll throw you down the stairs if you miss a feeding, but this way it doesn’t have to come to that. And I’ll never forget to feed the dogs, they stare at everything I eat, with their penetrating, pathetic eyeballs. This leaves me with a little more brainspace to remember to feed the lizard, and really, she’s pretty good at reminding me herself. She does a freaky little dance where she looks like she’s hunting you (because she probably is) and waves her tail in the air and you know: It’s on. Bring the worms.
There are other little things, but I actually don’t have the patience at the moment to write about them all, lol. My point is that you can learn to stack the deck of your life, in order to make it easier to not blow it, more of the time.
Stack that deck!