Five Supercharged Strategies for ADDers to Tackle the Boring Stuff
The ADD/ADHD brain works well with Interesting and hates Boring. Yet we all have those mundane tasks that need to be done on a regular basis, just to keep things ticking smoothly along, and without which, sooner or later, chaos will undoubtedly rear its dishevelled head.
Try these 5 tips:
- ADD SOME NOVELTY. Make a boring task more interesting by using novelty, which is highly attractive for people in general, and especially for those of us with ADD/ADHD. Find out some new facts about the thing you are avoiding doing because you find it boring.
For instance, some people have used their love of Nature and the environment to research more natural ways to complete household tasks.
Let’s say you need to clean your kitchen. Take a few minutes to research unusual substances you could use, like vinegar for your counter tops, bicarbonate of soda in your washing machine, or lemon juice to clean and refresh your microwave oven, instead of harsh chemicals that can harm you and the environment. Challenge yourself to see what interesting new facts you can come up with about the tasks you love to hate.
- PAIR A BORING ACTIVITY WITH SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING. This works well for fairly physical tasks like preparation, cleaning, clearing up or tidying away; all of which are activities many ADDers find difficulty with summoning up enough interest in to do them at all.
Try putting on some music or listening to a podcast to keep your brain interested and stimulated while you clean your brushes, put papers away, tidy up the files on your computer or in your office, or while you gather your materials together for your next project.
- MAKE IT A RITUAL. People have been making up rituals since forever, and guess why they are so popular? Because they work. You get right into it, in some way that appeals to you; become so enthusiastic about doing it that you miss it if it’s not there. Use as many senses to do this as you can think of, smells, tastes, touch, sight, sounds, movement – all of these are stalwarts of ritual. Light a scented candle, say a meaningful and inspirational phrase to yourself, have a special song or piece of music as a part of it, stand up and turn around 3 times, give yourself a hug of appreciation, feel the energy of the universe surround you – whatever it takes for you to get in the zone.
Then use your personal ritual as the springboard you need to begin the THING, yes, that thing you were not doing until recently. Try it – you may just amaze yourself!
- MAKE IT FUN There are so many ways to have fun – so why do we not think of them as ways to help get boring stuff done?
- Do it with a friend
- Do it to music
- Think of it as doing something for someone you care about
- Make it into a game
- RACE YOURSELF This is great for those types of chores where no sooner have you completed them than they just build up again and are never at an end. Like “painting the Forth Bridge”, a phrase that has passed into common parlance; washing up, laundry, dusting, hoovering, tidying, cleaning, replying to emails or deleting them, are all interminable tasks that many ADDers would therefore rather not contemplate, let alone do. One solution is to make it more exciting by having a race with yourself (or a buddy/pal if possible).
Those of us with ADHD do really well at focusing in the short term, particularly if we can see when the ending will be, i.e. soon!
Most people find that 5 -10 minutes feels like an acceptable amount of time for them to try doing most things; any longer and those negative connotations spurred on by an active imagination could just scupper any attempt. So, don’t give them a chance – even if you put a timer on for 2 minutes and see how much you can achieve in that time, it’s 2 minutes more than nothing, after all!
Anna Schlapp B.A., AACC, ACC, is a certified coach with the ADD Coach Academy and the International Coach Federation. Specialising in ADHD and Creativity, Anna helps talented people like you find ways of being more creatively productive and productively creative.
Get in touch to schedule your complimentary coaching session with Coach Anna.