Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Planning, Organization and Procrastination

Hello again!

I love to plan, organize and write lists, but I am also a big procrastinator! I am spending these first two weeks of January working through a big to-do list of a bunch of tasks that I just never got around to last year. I have been writing up my crochet plans & goals and I also have plans for a healthier me by the end of 2024. I will be done with this planning stage by the end of the week and will then start working towards achieving the goals I have set for myself.

Many people with ADHD have "executive dysfunction" and so have problems with

  • organization
  • time management
  • chronic forgetfulness
  • procrastination
(What is "executive dysfunction?" ... read this article for more information.)

Keeping lists reminds me of the things I need to focus on and not forget. I am lucky that writing lists and using daily planners and/or yearly calendars has been my main coping method for over 40 years so that only procrastination remains one of my issues. Now that I am home full-time, it is even easier to procrastinate and not use my time wisely. So, to make sure that I keep up with everything, I use MULTIPLE methods which include
  • my Google calendar on my phone - for notifications
  • a daily planner - for detailed to-do lists
  • a wall calendar - for appointments, etc.
  • my email inbox - for reminders when I'm not near my planner
I see my wall calendar as soon as I walk into the kitchen each morning. This is good for me so that I can quickly note anything that is happening that day. I also write down appointments & meetings for Jim, in red ink, so that they stand out for both of us. 

My inexpensive daily planner, with large areas for each day, allows me to note what I need to do that day (house cleaning, phone calls to make, errands to run, things to buy, etc). I finally found the perfect daily planner this year! It has monthly tabs so that I can quickly jot down future items. I love the Priorities section so that I can narrow down my focuses for the week.

I put LOTS of notification reminders in my Google calendar so that I don't forget important things. I mostly use it for financial updates, so it notifies me when Jim gets paid or when big bills, like the mortgage, are being auto-debited. It is also handy when I use it to remind me of coupons or subscriptions that are expiring. I will set reminders several weeks in advance of those dates.

Finally, if I'm away from home, I'll send myself email reminders to transfer to my calendar and/or planner when I get home. I also keep important emails in my inbox until I've dealt with that issue. Sometimes, the procrastination hits hard and emails remain visible for months LOL!

Now to deal with the topic of procrastination. I have never understood why I do this, but I have always attributed it to a flaw in my personality and have felt a ton of guilt about not attending to something right away. Understand that NOONE else was worrying about the fact that it seemed to take forever for me to "do something!" But my head was full of very negative thoughts about myself for not getting stuff done in a timely manner. 

I have realized that I usually procrastinate when I feel overwhelmed (like I have too many tasks that need attending to) or when a task seems boring/trivial. I've always been "ok" with house cleaning. It's definitely not my favorite thing, and many people are way more fastidious than I am. Now, I've never had a "dirty" home, but I do have sort of a "it's good enough" attitude about it. It's just that when it comes to house cleaning, there is always something else that seems more fun to do with my time. However, once we had kids, keeping a clean house was more important, for safety and hygienic reasons. So, I decided to assign certain tasks for each day of the week. Doing it this way means I usually only spend an hour or so daily keeping up the house and this makes me VERY happy! 

If you know of anyone with ADHD that struggles with any of the issues mentioned above, please be kind and work with them to find a method or two that will help them with these concerns. I promise you that they know WHAT they are (not) doing, but probably do not understand the WHYs of the situation. I hope I can help others by sharing what I have learned about myself!

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