We ADDers have our own Mystery Spot- it’s where we usually get stuck between our intention to act and actually taking action. We often have the best intentions and good energy when we set out to complete a task, keep an appointment, or move a project along. Then something happens (or doesn’t). At some point we become aware that we’re doing something else completely or perhaps nothing at all. THAT’S the ADHD Mystery Spot.
Suddenly it hits us. “Hey wait- I’m reading a novel! It’s a great read, but what happened with the thing I planned to do? Airhead! Can’t pay attention for even 30 seconds! Space Cadet!” (FYI I usually use more “colorful” words). The emotional part of the brain is now in charge, so bye bye prefrontal cortex ability and executive functioning. Now we have 2 issues- the thing we didn’t do and how we FEEL about not doing it. THIS state of mind will make it difficult, if not impossible, to return to our task in the immediate future.
Since taking action is one of the most important elements in effective ADHD management, we need to regularly check in with ourselves that we’re doing our “due diligence” to move successfully from intention to action. We regularly practice knowing what to do when this issue pops up.
Here are 3 key skills to master:
- having a simple, clear plan for what you’re intending to do
- thinking/observing with awareness before, during, and after taking action
- coming to awareness that you’re in The Mystery Spot and knowing what works for you to get out of there
- knowing what’s next to do and engaging in action- whether you’re just starting out or returning from the Mystery Spot
These skills are learnable, Each one has its own collection of actions and nuances we add as we go along, custom-building them for ourselves. One of the reasons partnering with an ADHD coach works is that it’s tough to build and learn to customize these skills by yourself (though there comes a time when you can and should fly solo). Learning, practicing and maintaining your ADHD management over the long-term is what it’s all about.