One of the challenges of attention deficit disorder (ADD) is taking the first real step. There are the many false starts such as organizing a desk, sharpening all of the pencils (because one is never enough), going to the bathroom, adjusting the lighting, and checking email again. But in actuality, the task at hand has not begun. Rather, ADD has resulted in beginning to prepare to start and before they know it, time disappears and nothing is accomplished.
Sadly enough, the rituals are often unnecessarily repeated the very next time a task needs to start. Or worse, new rituals are added to the list even further delaying the start. In the long run, such delays can negatively affect work performance, a grade, a messy garage or other projects that are in limbo.
The pile up of tasks becomes overwhelming which adds to increased discouragement, anxiety and can even spark bursts of anger. There is hope. These tips will help a person with ADD actually start and complete a new task.
Identify the anxiety. One of the reasons there is a delay in starting is because of fear manifesting in anxiety. Each new task carries a set of expectations for thoroughness, completeness, and timeliness. Postpone the start means putting off the anxiety and fear of unmet expectations. Instead, write down the expectations and choose just a few to try to meet instead of all. The more reasonable goal will diminsh some of the stress. To eliminate the rest of the anxiety, do some deep breathing exercises and invision how it will feel to have the task completed.
Live by the clock. Set time limits for the project. If the total time will take approximately five hours to complete, add one hour for mistakes and then divide the time into three segments. Plan on a couple of breaks to with very specific return times. This process allows a person to govern their own behavior rather than being monitored by someone else like a boss, spouse, parent, or teacher. In the end, everyone is in charge of their own behavior. Use the clock as an unbiased opinion to evaluate progress or lack of thereof. Plan on taking ten minutes at the beginning of a task to engage in ritualistic behavior.
Stop narrating progress. A co-worker, friend, spouse or sibling does not want to hear about the ten minute rituals and step to step progress. Looking for praise and not receiving it will further discourage a person from returning to work. Instead, the person should self-reward. Some examples include knocking off a bit early for completing more than expected, taking a walk outside to gain a better perspective, or doing another ritualistic behavior.
It is very hard to change the way a person has been doing things for so long and adjust to new ways of thinking. But in the end, a finished project without the increased anxiety, excessive rituals, unmanaged time and constant narration will bring satisfaction for a job well done without all of the stress.