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  • Kim

Defeating ADHD - Some Tips & Tricks

I was writing a blog post about ('Pure Water Temple') and looking for my pictures and videos to add to the post when I came across this picture.

I feel like my brain is wired differently and when I saw this street in Kyoto, Japan, I had to stop and take a picture of it. My thought every time I see the wires in this picture is : If you could see the ideas & thoughts that simultaneously occur in one second in an ADHD mind this would be it!

Thanks to my ADHD, it felt so on brand that coming across this picture would completely throw me off my train of thoughts. In fact, it is such a common occurrence for me that I have learned a few tricks to make sure I snap out of distractions and go back to what I was originally working on. But sometimes, the rush of new thoughts brings me useful ideas and in order to be able to take advantage of them without falling behind on my original task, I’ve create the following plan that helps me stay on track, on time, and reduces my procrastination because I don’t get stuck in a loop of anxiety and negative thoughts about my inability and incapability in finishing the project successfully and on time.

How I Combat My ADHD

Write daily projects on a whiteboard near where you do majority of your work.

Before I go to bed, on the board that I specifically use at my desk, I write down the main projects and larger tasks that need to get done on the following day. In the morning, I make adjustments if needed but writing down things that I know need to get down the next day puts my mind at ease and keeps me from panicking about projects in the middle of the night. Having my daily projects on a board helps me with seeing the big picture and it feels really nice and confidence boosting when I get to erase an item once I complete it.

Break down each project into 5 minute tasks.

For each project or for each of the more complicated tasks that I've written on my board, I create a separate to-do list on a piece of paper. In other words, each project gets its own sheet of paper. That way I can better organize my thoughts for each project and I won't keep distracting myself by jumping back and forth between projects which usually leads to frustration, confusion, panic, and procrastination. Here's why I need separate Todo lists for different projects: The main reason for this is because I have found that if I have multiple project's to-do lists mixed on one sheet of paper I will end up jumping around to different projects which means I need to reorient myself to get back into the mindset required for the project and that is usually the hardest thing for me and a very sensitive time that I need to handle properly or I will lose a lot of time and increase my anxiety. If a project is tough for me, I will definitely find ways to sabotage myself subconsciously- also known as procrastination. For example, you can tell I have an upcoming final just by walking into my newly redecorated room and completely organized house because I will do anything but the main task if I allow myself to get thrown off my planned day. So, it is really important to know your weaknesses so you can plan accordingly. My weak spots might be different than others but recognizing what you need to control will save you a lot of time and energy.

That's why, it is really important that I break down each project into 5 minute tasks that are actually doable in 5 minutes or less. I think, it is better to overestimate the time I need for a task than to underestimate because it's better to finish a project early but it can be quite horrific and problematic to complete a project late, especially if the project will impact other people as well.

Why 5 minutes per task? Because, in my case, if I make it 10 minutes or longer per task, I am more likely to lose time due to distracting thoughts and ideas. An alarm going off after every 5 minutes nudges me back into focus and on to the task at hand. If I become distracted, losing 5 minutes impacts me less than losing 10 minute chunks of time. I used to have my alarm set for every 10 minutes but 5 minutes has been working a lot better for me because I can get distracted very easily and there is usually a lot going on around me. But it's not a one size fit all situation, so you can adjust the amount of time per task to what works for you. But make sure start the timer the second you start your project.

As I complete tasks and get to cross them off of my list or finish the project and get to erase it from my board, I stay more positive & motivated. When I get to cross off tasks of my list it gives me hope that I can actually complete the full project. The less stressed & frustrated I am the more likely it is that I will complete my work on time and successfully.

A book that I found extremely helpful about handling ADHD, especially for adult ADHD:

Items I use daily to help keep me organized:

About the Image:

It is definitely somewhere in Kyoto, Japan. :) Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the street, but I remember it was connected to 府道143号 - which might be roughly translated as Highway 143 and about a 10 minute walk to Yasaka Shrine.

I didn't see many streets that looked like this one in Japan and that's one of the main reasons that it caught my attention.


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