- Get off social media, or set a timer for fifteen minutes, and when the timer goes off, so does Twitter, Ello, Facebook, et. al. There are apps that will kill my sessions if I lack will power to stop.
- Write down what I can reasonably accomplish today, allotting time to each task before beginning work.
- Focus on my most important task, determining how long I need to be at it, and break it up, again, setting a timer so that I stop, stretch, look outside (focusing my eyes on something further away to exercise them too), get a drink of water, and maybe a snack before continuing.
- While I’m taking a break, pick up things lying around that need to go back to their place – I’m making ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ a mantra. Seeing the clutter gone helps my mind focus better.
- Practice 5 minutes of mindful relaxation before getting back into work or starting a new task.
- Remind myself what my goals are. “I’m clearing this area so I have more room to work, thus reducing my stress level too”. “I’m writing several pages today, not the whole book.” “I’m making my living space a place I enjoy being, and feel good about inviting others into”., etc.
- Reward myself intermittently. Psychological studies have shown that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful type of conditioning, eliciting better responses than continuous positive reinforcement. The reward needs to be consistent with my overall goals, so if I’m rewarding myself for writing several pages with a piece of cake, I’m ignoring my goal of healthier eating or weight loss. But if cake makes me happy – a bite is better than a whole slice for my overall goals.
Having A.D.D. and anxiety makes it hard to get down to work, and as I’ve learned to do with exercise – I ignore my thoughts about it and just begin. Exercise is easier because I have a routine, so I know where to start. My clutter and procrastination happens because I’m overwhelmed with so much that needs doing that I can’t start. Once I started narrowing in on ‘one thing’, I tend to get in a zone and try to do everything, which is also counter-productive because it makes it less likely that I’ll do that again knowing that I’ll have a hard time stopping, so I have to set a timer as soon as I do or finish that one thing, knowing I’ll only continue for a half-hour, or whatever I can do at the time, but usually never more than an hour, unless it’s a dedicated task I’ve allotted a few hours to.
Dealing with brain disorders is daunting! It’s not a personal failure, but I tell myself that anyway. Shame is part of the package for me, but I can lessen it by remembering that I’m limited. Not to give myself a pass, but to remind myself that my accomplishments are harder earned, and any progress is great progress.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current