Today's tip is about why we need to slooow down when we're in a hurry- though at first it may sound counter-intuitive. Here's an example...
You’re getting ready to head out the door for a scheduled activity. You have just enough time to be on time, pretty sure you’re ready to jet, do the final flight check on pockets or purse to confirm you have the essentials (keys, wallet, shades, phone ) … “Wait! Where are the bill payments that HAVE TO BE mailed today?. AAAHHH- I just had them. I put them in a special place to make sure I wouldn’t forget them. Where WAS that place again?”
The search continues- you dash around, looking in all the most likely places. You’ve factored in the amount of time to get where you’re going- and maybe a few minutes’ cushion. No luck- you dash around again and look. You do this 4 or 5 times, ramping up to full ADHD mode. You find the envelopes- YESSS- and in a place where you swear you just looked, what, 5 times? But you set your keys down while dashing about. Time for Search Mode 2.0.
At this point, you literally try to tear your hair out, go to the bedroom for a mirror-check since you just rearranged your “do”, and there are the keys on the dresser. Now you’re officially late. Not a good time for pedal to the metal driving.
Sometimes when we folks with ADHD are in a hurry, we can easily slip into overwhelm and, end up doing things that actually slow us down at just the wrong time. The solution is to slow down, breathe, and refocus, and we’ll usually get where we’re going more quickly and with waaay less stress.
So what happens that blocks our progress when we're in a hurry? Being Irish, I can’t help wondering if the Leprechauns are messing with us for their own amusement. Though that may be true, what also happens is we have flipped into overwhelm- our ADHD has shown up- and our executive functioning is now temporarily shot. We can literally look right at something and not see it. The faster we try to fix things, the worse it gets.
The best way to deal with this kind of thing on the spot, and to decrease the odds it’ll happen in the future is to practice and master a unique skillset:
- slow down, just when your brain is pushing you to speed up.
Continuing to act at a frantic pace when we need to think clearly is like fighting fire with gasoline. Of course that logic doesn’t usually occur to us in panic mode. That's why we need to learn the skill set well enough that we don't have to rely as much on remembering it
When you become aware you’re in a big hurry and getting nowhere, stop, pay attention to your breathing, and re-focus. Even taking just a moment or two for this can help get us back on track.
What to do to help prevent getting hijacked while in hurry mode?
- Practice, practice, practice paying attention and checking with yourself about your thoughts and actions (see below). It can be learned like any other skill.
- Heading off to work, a meeting, an appointment, etc.? Set aside what you need in advance and put in a prominent place. Like between you and the door out.
- Factor in more time than you estimate you’ll need. If you think of this as “extra” time, reconsider. Your original estimate may be off. The skill of time estimation is generally not an area of strength for us, but we can learn to excel at it with practice.
- Don’t just factor in more time to be right on time. Schedule so you’re early. How good will it feel to get where you’re headed and have some time to transition comfortably to the next thing?
An effective ADHD coaching partnership is the best way to learn skills in a way that is tailored to your brain wiring and sustainable. That’s because you and the coach build them together suited to you, and you’ll also have the working knowledge to tweak them- to fit your circumstances over time.