One of the first things that is important when diving into time management is being realistic with what your current life is like and how many resources are available to you (time, energy, money, help, etc.). Notice how I said current?
When I first started my ADHD journey, and also my business, I was living with my parents. This means that I had zero pressure to have a steady income, my groceries were purchased for me, my healthy dinners were cooked with love, everything to do with maintaining a home was taken care of for me and I was free to dive into whatever my heart desired that I felt would bring me success. I was very lucky and I am so grateful!
Fast forward 5 years and my life looks very different. The demands on my executive function have increased significantly - I now buy my own groceries and make my own meals, have my own home, am engaged to be married and have a puppy. When I was living with my parents, I would put all the tasks that were on my mind down on my planner for the day (including some that I would now call a project) and I would actually accomplish them all. Talk about setting the bar high!!
See why I might need to take a step back and change the way I look at time management? Now it is mentally impossible for me to do that. The tasks/projects that I have aren't as straight forward as they once were - they are quite a bit more involved!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a to do list for my boyfriend and I legit believed I was going to be able to do all the things on the list in one day.
My boyfriend and I talked about the list last night over dinner and it is now comical that I believed we were going to do it all. "Plan Ireland" is a ginormous project that has many, many steps. I literally thought we could plan the whole thing AND do the other tasks on that Sunday.
It's also important to note that these tasks and projects also involve money and decisions that are quite impactful. Let's not leave out my puppy, Riley, who happens to be scratching at my door while I'm hoping for a bit of focused time to write this blog post. Which brings up another point: the amount of things that can distract me have also increased significantly.
So - I've now identified some of the impactful (and very exciting) changes in my life...What to do? 5 year ago Alyssa would have thought of THE solution and ran a million miles a minute using said solution. I have now learnt the lesson that there is no one size fits all approach to this so I'm going to write out some of my thoughts:
Separating my life into "business" and "personal" is not realistic. I work from home and my business and personal life weave in and out of each other. I would like to explore what I need to have more focus time:
Eliminate as many distractions as I can.
My dog - I give her plenty of love. I deserve to give myself that same love in the form of distraction-free, focused time!
Speak to the feeling that lives in the pit of my stomach that is telling me I'm forgetting something or missing out.
Brain dumping my tasks into my planner is not helpful. I think I could use some sort of a filtering process.
My energy levels are not where I would like it to be. For the past year + I have felt extremely sluggish. This changes the amount of tasks I can do in a day. I'm currently removing gluten + dairy from my diet again and focusing on daily movement. I felt amazing the last time I followed this diet and am experimenting to see how I feel on it now.
I don't know what to do with myself when my executive function gas tank is empty. I tend to turn to Netflix and get extremely frustrated with myself. Rather than watching the show, my brain is repeating all the things I'm not doing and would prefer to be doing. This is something I would like to move away from.
I am highly susceptible to external pressure. My loved ones can have ideas or wants (all good things) for my life and I tend to hop into their view and try to make it happen. When there are a lot of moving parts and I haven't made my own decision of what is next or what I want, I can easily hop into my loved ones view of what should be done or where I should be. --> I don't have a direct solution for this but I do know how to catch it. My body always tells me. I feel this frantic buzz, my brain kind of shuts down and decides it won't process any more information. Very simply, this is overwhelm. I also start to feel dizzy and no longer compute the information the other person is saying. This is a very big tell... It's about catching it and speaking up. Easy, right? ;)
RSD and emotional dysregulation. When I am looking outside of myself for answers and validation I unconsciously put myself in a losing situation. When I shift back into myself and empower myself by making my own decisions (which I will acknowledge is harder for us with ADHD), my RSD loses its ammunition. This is a biggie for me.
While these aren't exactly solutions, the first step is to understand what is going on and what I would like to move towards. The actions tend to fall into place.
Here are my actions:
Come up with a filtering system so I don't overwhelm myself with all.the.things. and my high expectations.
Have an external reminder for my focused time that reminds me to remove distractions (phone, ignore my dog) and remind myself that I deserve to give myself the love I give to my dog in the form of distraction-free, focused time! (When I focus on giving myself the love I give to my dog, the fear that I am forgetting something dissolves).
Continue to experiment with a gluten free and dairy free diet. Also continue to bring movement into my day (POPSUGAR youtube videos and YOCHI youtube videos). This is also another form of giving myself love).
The filtering system will hopefully help my RSD and emotional dysregulation because I'm making decisions on how I would like to be and what I would like to do. I am also reading/listening to the book "How emotions are made" by Lisa Feldman Barrett to bring a new perspective! I know that this is not a one-size-fits-all solution but checking in and being aware is a huge step in the right direction!
What do you think about all this? How do you give yourself the love you deserve?
I appreciate you taking the time to read my experience!
Sending you positive vibes,