avatarStefan Glazer

Summarize

7 ADHD Mistakes We All Make and Don’t Like Admitting

And how to change our direction when we make them.

We can’t always blame it on the moon when we are off and doing things wrong. Photo by Stefan Glazer

7 is a powerful number in a lot of different cultures and belief systems. It could be associated with the sacred, divinity, completeness, luck, or even as a “happy number” in math.

I’ll save you a Google search on what a “happy number” is.

In number theory, a happy number is a number that eventually reaches 1 when replaced by the sum of the square of each digit. For example, starting with 7 gives the sequence 7, 49, 97, 130, 10, 1, so 7 is a happy number. — Wolfram

I know what you’re thinking. “Why the hell is he going on about the number 7? It’s just a number he chose for the title of his article!”, and you would be right, in a sense.

However, it is important as a segue into one of the mistakes I’m guilty of.

1. Over-Complicating Tasks

Yes, I could have opened this up with something simple, “We all make mistakes with ADHD, and some of them we don’t want to admit”, would have been greatly acceptable.

What happens is, that my brain goes onto a tangent and attaches itself to an idea, and wants to expand upon it. So, instead of simplifying my opening, I let it go wild with the number 7.

I’ll research the meaning of the number 7.

I’ll look at other articles about the number 7.

I may even write down the number 7 on my to-do list as if it were a thing to do.

What I am not doing, is writing the article. I got so lost in the weeds that the 3 paragraphs you just went through in the introduction, took me nearly an hour and a half to write.

I overcomplicate taking photos of the moon. I will take tons of photos, stack them in Photoshop, and try a million different ways to make it perfect. I will spend a lot of time creating an image. Only to go back and take a singular image I shot and find it to be clearer and more perfect. — Photo by Stefan Glazer

That sort of confusion and frustration can lead to burnout and eventually quitting. However, I was doing it to make a point.

The best way to combat this is to break it down and start simple. Simple tasks, simple systems, simple ideas, and simple concepts. If it takes me more than a few minutes to express what I’m trying to say, then I’m over-complicating it.

Keep it simple.

2. Not Having a Plan

We’ve all been there. We live life by the seat of our pants. Our spontaneity is cherished.

We strive in the impromptu.

Until we get overwhelmed, overstimulated, and burnt out trying to keep up with the juggling of everything at the same time.

That is when not having a plan falls back and hinders us.

Just because you have an outline of a plan written out and some basic guidelines, doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous.

Having a plan for me is a safety net for my, “on-the-fly” life.

It doesn’t have to be over-complicated. (What did I just tell you, keep it simple!).

When a friend asked me to photograph their cupcakes. I kept it simple, made an easy-to-follow plan, and executed it. Now I want cupcakes. Photo by Stefan Glazer

What I tend to do, is have a small Google Doc of what I want to accomplish, and 3 to 5 key points that I need to get done to get there.

That’s it. I break my plans down into simple ideas and go at them in my own unique ways!

So when I start off and get lost in a world of tangents or details, I can bring myself back to the path of the task with my plan.

3. Time is NOT on Your Side

That Rolling Stone song, “Time is on my side” says it is, but that’s a lie! I wrote an article about time blindness that helps you navigate the pitfalls and how to use different timers to keep you on task.

Why?

Because we underestimate time constantly. It’s part of me. I will say something will take 20 minutes, but 3 hours later, I’m still working on it.

If you think the task is going to take an hour, give yourself more time. Over-estimating time is way better than underestimating time.

If you go to get your car repaired and they say it will take 3 hours, but it takes 4, you will be upset. If you go for the same repair and they say it will take 3 hours and it takes 1, you will be elated.

Over-estimating time can be beneficial and tracking your time in your tasks is crucial.

4. Failure to Prioritize

Task prioritization is key to getting your overall objective done.

So why the hell am I so bad at it?

Because we don’t realize there are priority differences between, “getting a pen” and “writing a novel”. Both have equal priority levels to me.

So, how do we prioritize tasks?

To. Do. Lists.

I don’t care how cliche it seems or how much it’s been drilled into our neurodivergent minds, but, to-do lists work amazing if you know how to use them.

If I have a project I am working on, I will write out all the steps I can think of for that project. I will forget some, I will put them “out of order”, and I will try to add in things that aren’t a part of the project that I think they are.

However, what happens is, I will be able to look at this list and pick the easiest one and do it. I love working “easy to hard”.

It’s kind of a trickle effect, if I knock off a few easy-to-do items, the harder ones will flow out easier.

Some like the challenge of starting with a hard task first, but, I’m not that guy at all.

5. Being Perfect Kills Creativity

Perfectionism is great in theory until you realize it’s an impossible standard that we can’t live up to. I fell victim to this in several different projects I would do. Some projects were for clients and some were for personal reasons.

The bottom line was, I tried to make everything perfect. I would even wait for the perfect conditions to start something, the perfect tools to use, the perfect photos to shoot, and the perfect timing for everything.

This shot was a test shot I did for a campaign. This was the shot the client ended up using. Why? Because it was natural and without hesitation. All the other shots were overcomplicated and striving for perfection. — Photo by Stefan Glazer

You know what happened when I strove for perfection in everything?

I completed nothing.

I would end up putting off things until the perfect time. That perfect time would never come.

So, recognize that perfection is not attainable and focus on two things.

  1. Just begin.
  2. Do your best.

Don’t get lost in perfection.

6. Ignoring Your Tools

I’ve spent a lot of time and money crafting and creating tools that work for me. I learned how to use journals, timers, calendars, reminders, apps, and lists to keep myself organized and on track in my projects.

So, why do we ignore them sometimes? Because we think we don’t need them for every project we do.

While that might be true that we don’t need every single one for every project we do, we do need to remember to use them. This will cut down on a lot of disorganization, frustration, and burnout.

7. Not Asking for Help

This is the last one. It’s a big one. It’s the one I still struggle with to this day.

I’m always hesitant to ask for help. I don’t want to be an inconvenience to people. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I don’t want to feel shame.

All that is nonsense by the way.

Asking for help is so important to overcoming things that may be out of your control alone, but together you can get through them. It can lead to learning a new way to navigate a task or situation.

The support of a friend helping you can literally help you break through anything in front of you.

If you are unsure, it’s ok to ask for help.

Asking for help isn’t going to get you scolded, it will help you flow freely — Photo by Stefan Glazer

If you enjoy my writing, ideas, and insights into ADHD and neurodiversity, mindfulness, meditation, spirituality, photography, and more. Feel free to follow me here! If you enjoy some of my fine art photography, you can order prints here. If you want to check out my book, “Tools for Navigating Neurodivergence”, it’s available on Amazon Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover. Be sure to listen to the podcast, “Navigating Neurodivergence”, where I speak to other neurodivergent people about the pathways they found to get through and strive with neurodivergence.

And remember, you’re not alone!

If you enjoyed this article, consider trying out the AI service I recommend. It provides the same performance and functions to ChatGPT Plus(GPT-4) but more cost-effective, at just $6/month (Special offer for $1/month). Click here to try ZAI.chat.

Adhd
Neurodiversity
Neurodivergent
Mistakes To Avoid
Mental Health
Recommended from ReadMedium