Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ADHD, Discernment and Prioritizing

Over the years, I have learned to use a series of "coping tools" in lieu of letting myself get "drugged into oblivion."

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against "better living through pharmaceuticals," but I prefer to limit such things to blood pressure meds and the like.

When I sit inside my personal experience with ADHD (and also draw on experiences and anecdotes others have shared), it has always struck me that there is always so much on our plates; so many things clamoring for our attention.

This morning I reflected on "all the things" I need to get done this week, and it occurred to me that one of the defining characteristics of ADHD-- at least for me and for a lot of people-- seems to be a difficulty practicing discernment. It's not really a case of me having "more things" I need to get done, but a case of me having great difficulty prioritizing those things appropriately. That is, all the things that come up feel "equally important," and then I get stuck while contemplating where to begin.

I get the distinct impression that the majority of the world has just as many things they need to get done as I do, but they have a much better ability to look at something, declare it "not important," and then move on with what matters most. I find it quite difficult to "rank" things. And sometimes I rank them "poorly," assigning excess importance to "busy work" that will make it easier for me to deal with the most important things. Which, in turn, leaves those "most important things" UN-done, often causing me all manners of headaches.

Even as I make my way through the day, using my system of "task notes," I find it a struggle to decide which things are most important... and I often end up in a pattern of "cleaning my desk so I can do my work" when I really should just launch directly into "doing my work."

It's all a learning process... but sometimes it feels like I am moving desperately slowly.

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